G-Whiz, Lucky Ate What?
Wednesday - October 14, 2009
It was a warm summer’s afternoon, and the morning appointments had been pleasant. Perusing my afternoon schedule sleepily (I had a big plate lunch), I laid out my plans for the day: dog vomiting for four days, puppy vaccinations, itchy skin, wing trim and a torn nail.
Hmm, vomiting for four days might be interesting. Little did I know just how interesting it would be. For the sake of the innocent, the names and furry faces have been changed.
“Lucky,” a 1-year-old handsome poodle, entered the room looking quite depressed. The owners reported that Lucky had been vomiting off and on for four days. Today, however, Lucky had vomited somewhere around a dozen times.
Sounds like a problem. During his physical exam, I palpated a large, firm mass in the abdomen. The mass was approximately 6 inches long and cylindrical in shape. I informed the owners that X-rays would be needed to verify my suspicions. Unfortunately, our X-ray machine was on the blink and I needed to send them to a sister hospital on the other side of the island.
As I waited for their return, I continued with my appointments, and though the puppy exam provided a pleasant distraction, I couldn’t help but worry about Lucky.
You see what I suspected was ... Tune in next week for the conclusion of this story.
Nah ... I’m just joking. For those of you who regularly watch the Animal Planet channel on television, this is probably no surprise to you. I suspected an intestinal foreign body. In other words, Lucky ate something he shouldn’t have.
When Lucky returned, the X-rays revealed a gas pattern that confirmed my suspicions. After discussing the risks of surgery and giving Lucky’s owners the paltry $1,500 estimate, we rushed into the operating room.
Lucky was very stable under anesthesia. Heart rate, respirations and oxygen saturation were optimal. It took a couple of minutes to open Lucky’s abdomen and find the location of the obstructed intestine. We needed to be very careful because leakage of any intestinal fluid into the abdomen could lead to a life-threatening post-op infection. Carefully packing the surgical site with lap sponges, I made my incision and removed the foreign body. It was made of cloth, but covered with slimy green juice so the identity of the culprit was not obvious at the time of removal.
“Rinse it off so we can tell the owners what their dog ate,” I barked in my most professional surgeon’s voice. The rest of the operation was uneventful.
So what was the identity of the foreign body?
Drum roll, please: Ladies underwear. I kid you not.
Now for the difficult part: How do I tell the owners about this? I told myself to just stay calm and act natural.
I called the owners after Lucky woke up from the anesthesia. “Hello.” Jill the wife answered the phone.
“This is Dr. Kaya. Everything went well and Lucky survived the operation.” Stay calm.
“Doc, what did you find in the intestines?” Jill asked.
“Well, ummm ... I ... ummm ... it was ladies underwear.” Whew.
“Really? Hey, honey, Doc says Lucky swallowed my underwear.” Jill shouted to her husband. “What kind of panty was it, Doc?”
“Well, ummm ... Gap, size small G-string. Green I think, but it could have been white and now stained green with intestinal juice.”
OK, it’s done.
To my relief, Jill admitted to wearing this type of underwear. Think about it. What if it wasn’t hers? I read an article in a journal once of a veterinarian who went to court to testify that he removed lingerie from a dog. It was a divorce hearing. The lingerie did not belong to the wife. Yikes!
“G-whiz,” it was an exciting day on the wild side.
1) Be aware of your pet’s tendencies and “pet proof” your house to prevent access to harmful items.
2) Pets will occasionally vomit, but if it happens multiple times, then seek the advice of your veterinarian.
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