Dr. Phil Zeltzman’s Blog
Sam is a 12-year-old Jack Russell, who had been vomiting and was lethargic for a few days. X-rays and an ultrasound revealed that he had swallowed a foreign body. There was a suspicion that he chewed pieces of carpet.
Carpet is really made of a very long string, so the risk was that Sam had eaten what is called a “linear” foreign body. Linear foreign bodies can be deadly if they cut into the intestine.
Sam was taken to surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. Two foreign bodies could be felt: one in the stomach and one in the small intestine. You can watch the removal of the string from the stomach and the intestine below. The video does contain graphic footage of a surgical procedure, so you may want to skip it if you’re sensitive to that type of footage!
Although we expect puppies (and kittens) to eat things they shouldn’t, older pets should know better. Most of the time, when an adult swallows a foreign body I suspect there is an underlying medical condition. I always take biopsies of the stomach and the intestine during surgery to check. Sure enough, Sam’s biopsies revealed a common condition called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This disease can and should be treated to make him feel better and to hopefully prevent him from swallowing another foreign body.
Happily, Sam recovered nicely after surgery! Make sure to doggy proof your house to reduce the risk your pet will eat something dangerous. And if your dog or cat is vomiting, don’t wait! Take him to the vet to get it checked out.
Nellie is a two-year-old Russian toy dog. She jumped from her owner’s arms and broke both bones in her forearm, the radius and ulna.
Surgery was scheduled at Blairstown Animal Hospital. The main bone, the radius, was repaired with stainless steel and 6 screws. In addition, a bone graft was placed around the fracture site to speed up healing.
In my practice, this is a common fracture and a common surgery, but Nellie’s bone was about the size of a match! The repair was reinforced with a splint. Because there is no splint small enough for her size, we had to make one with a wooden tongue depressor.
Nellie recovered well. She was strictly confined for 8 weeks and needed weekly splint changes. Follow up X-rays were taken after 8 weeks to make sure the bone was healing.
Happily, the bone healed nicely. Her activity was slowly increased over 4 more weeks.
Small and toy breed dogs can break a bone after what seems to be minimal trauma, such as jumping or falling. It is important not to rely on a splint only, as this will often not allow the bone to heal. These dogs truly need surgery to ensure a happy ending.
And please be careful when holding these tiny dogs! Don’t give them a chance to jump from your arms or tall places.
When veterinarians say it’s important to spay your pets, we really mean it! Skinny Minnie is a nine-year-old female cat. She was taken to the local emergency clinic because she wasn’t feeling well and had a bloody discharge from her vulva. An ultrasound showed a pyometra – a uterus full of pus.
She was started on IV fluids, pain medication and antibiotics. Emergency surgery was scheduled at South Mountain Veterinarian Hospital the next day.
Surgery for a pyometra is essentially a modified spay. It’s a bit riskier since there are much larger blood vessels than usual.
Thankfully, surgery went well and she made a full recovery.
Skinny Minnie’s owner is now aware that cats (and dogs) should be spayed before they are 6 months of age to avoid pyometra, as well as unplanned pregnancies and mammary tumors. Spaying a pet can save her life!
A 10 year-old Jack Russell, Max, wasn’t feeling well.
He’d eaten a red rubber toy, and while he vomited a small piece of it up, X-rays and continued vomiting suggested there was more foreign material in the stomach and the small intestine.
Sure enough, we found 2 more foreign bodies in the belly. One piece was in the stomach, which we opened up. The other one was literally stuck at the end of small intestine, right before the appendix.
But that wasn’t it. Because of his age, I suspected that Max had an underlying condition that compelled him to eat things he shouldn’t. We expect puppies to get into things they shouldn’t, which is why puppy-proofing a house is so important! On the other hand, seniors like Max and dogs who are past puppy-hood should know better.
We took biopsies of the stomach and the intestine at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. Sure enough, a week later the biopsies revealed Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a condition similar to IBS in people.
Toys are not always as safe as manufacturers claim! Young dogs eat stuff because they are young and… not always so smart (good thing they’re cute).
However, older pets should know better. They often eat foreign bodies because of IBD, which should be treated.
PeeWee is a 7 year old male Pug who couldn’t urinate. He was examined at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital and an X-ray revealed bladder stones. Some of the stones were able to go down the urethra, which is the tube between the bladder and the outside world. They got stuck and PeeWee couldn’t go to the bathroom.
The red arrow on the X-ray shows some bladder stones. Along the urethra, the green arrow is pointing to some strong stones that look like a string of pearls.
PeeWee needed two surgeries to fix him up! The first was a cystotomy. This is a bladder surgery that allowed the removal of stones. The stones that were blocking the urethra was pushed back into the bladder, and removed from there.
The second surgery was a urethrostomy.
We suspected that PeeWee had calcium stones, which can sometimes come back. The goal of the urethrostomy is to prevent (or at least greatly decrease) the risk of becoming blocked again. PeeWee had to be neutered in order to perform the urethrostomy.
A larger opening was created in the urethra, making it easier for small stones that might form in the future to escape with urine.
The stones were sent to a lab for analysis, which later confirmed the suspicion of calcium stones.
PeeWee rested for 3 weeks before he was released from his restricted activity. He is now back to normal. Life is much more pleasant when you can urinate!
Bladder stones do not discriminate. They can affect any dog or cat, of any breed, of any age. If your pet ever shows signs that they’re having trouble urinating, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible!