Gilda didn’t act her age…

Gilda, a 4 year old female mastiff, was brought to the emergency clinic for vomiting, depression and lack of appetite.

After the veterinarian did a thorough physical exam, he recommended taking X-rays of the abdomen (belly).

The X-rays confirmed the suspicion: a blockage of the intestine by a foreign body, likely cloth. Pets can eat all sorts of crazy things, such as toys, sticks, rocks etc. Puppies (and kittens) are the main culprits because they are inexperienced and silly. And because they explore their environment with their mouth. However, Gilda was not a young pup, so her foreign body was a little unusual. What compelled her to swallow it?

Surgery was performed and sure enough, I pulled a large, twisted up piece of fabric out of her intestine! It was about the size of a hand towel. A biopsy of the intestine was taken before closing the belly.

Gilda recovered smoothly in ICU. She later went home, feeling much better.

After a week, the biopsy results came in and confirmed my suspicion of irritable bowel disease (IBD). This condition is somewhat similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in humans. It is often the reason why adult dogs (and cats) swallow a foreign body. They feel weird, and they are compelled to eat things they shouldn’t. This is called “pica” (pronounced pie-ka). Classic signs of IBD may include vomiting and diarrhea.

Long-term, Gilda’s owners’ main focus will be to “puppy-proof” the house and the yard at all times, and to only feed a prescription diet to keep the IBD under control. Sometimes, medications are required to treat IBD.

Fortunately, Gilda’s future looks good.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

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.