Jack Russell’s surgery is just a symptom of a larger problem

MaxA 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.

Max 2

The foreign bodies we removed from Max.

One little Pug needs double surgery to fix bladder

PeeWeePeeWee 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 xrayPeeWee 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.

PeeWee stonesThe 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!


Australian Shepherd’s scuffle with car sends him to surgery

Gunner faceThis cutie is Gunner, a one-year-old male Australian Shepherd. Unfortunately, he was run-over in his driveway by his owner and his femur, or thigh bone, was broken.

Fortunately, it was fixable! I performed surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. All it took was a stainless steel plate and 9 screws.

Gunner is recovering well, and everyone is grateful that there’s a happy ending. Amazingly, Gunner’s situation is not an uncommon occurrence in cats and dogs – and even children! Always be aware of your surroundings in your driveway, especially if your pet has access to the driveway and likes to greet you. Then they should be locked up inside the house until it’s safe!

Gunner preop

Gunner’s x-ray before surgery.

Gunner post

A post-op x-ray showing the plate and screws used to repair the femur.

Playful Pointer sisters overcome separation anxiety

Chica, a 2 year old female German Shorthair Pointer, had a broken forearm (radius and ulna) that required a plate Chica 5(1)and screws to fix. I operated at Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center. You can see the broken arm and the repair x-rays below.

Chica had just a tiny bit of separation of anxiety during her recovery, which may have resulted in a bathroom becoming a little messier than normal.

Well over a year after surgery, her owner sent me a wonderful video of Chica playing with her sister.

Can you tell which one is Chica?

She’s the taller one!

Chica 1 Chica 2
Chica 3 Chica 4

Leia: the Havanese that can’t be kept down

Leia faceLeia is a 4 year-old female Havanese who just so happens to be cuter than a button.

She was experiencing back pain and right hind leg weakness, in spite of pain medication and cortisone. An MRI showed a slipped disc in the middle of her back, between T13 and L1.

Leia had spinal surgery at Berks Animal and Emergency Referral Center to remove the slipped disc. This is a delicate surgery, that can paralyze a dog, if only temporarily.

Leia did great! Just a few hours after surgery, she went outside for a little walk. Nothing is going to stop Leia!

Back pain can be treated with pain medications and a slipped disc can be treated with cortisone, but studies show that in 80% of cases, these dogs actually need spinal surgery.


The arrow is pointing at the slipped disc.