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.

Even ‘safe’ pet toys can be dangerous

Trooper TLC postopTrooper is a four month old Labrador puppy, who wasn’t feeling well. He was vomiting and not eating well.

His owners took him to an emergency clinic and x-rays revealed something that looked suspiciously like a foreign body. The veterinarian recommended surgery, which I performed at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center.

During surgery, I found hard foreign body stuck in the small intestine. The green arrow shows what the intestine should look like – small. The yellow arrow shows how the intestine is distended.

Trooper intraopThe moral of the story? You should always monitor your pets’ toys! No toy is completely safe. Trooper’s owners did an excellent job of puppy-proofing the house: trash was secured, dirty laundry was inaccessible, and there was no way Trooper could get into something that would hurt him.

But they did not realize that a toy this hard could be chewed to pieces and swallowed. Lab puppies are masters at finding and eating things they shouldn’t!

Luckily, Trooper had a happy ending. He pulled through very well after anesthesia and surgery. In fact, he started eating just a few hours after waking up.

The x-ray shows typical gas bubbles of various sizes and shapes and a potential foreign body.

The x-ray shows typical gas bubbles of various sizes and shapes and a potential foreign body.

The toy that Trooper chewed up and swallowed.

The toy that Trooper chewed up and swallowed.