On Pins, Needles For A Beagle

Dr. John Kaya
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Wednesday - February 02, 2011
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Domestication is not easy. In our attempts to integrate our furry, feathered or scaly friends into our home, we often subject them to many restrictions. We ask them to urinate on a pee pad, eat a specially formulated diet, refrain from scratching the new couch and scold them for making too much noise. Living in our boundaries can be tough.

To make matters worse, our pets are exposed to hidden dangers within the home as well.

Let me tell you a story. It was a chilly spring evening and I had just gotten home from a long day at work. The warm shower relaxed my tired body as my stomach growled in anticipation of the hot corn chowder simmering on the stove. After jumping out of the shower, I noticed that someone had called my emergency phone. Rats, so to speak!

Listening to the message left by the emergency answering service, I immediately called the worried pet owner and soon determined that the delicious bowl of corn chowder would have to wait.


After arriving at the hospital, the overnight technician and I prepared the X-ray room for our patient. X-rays would definitely be needed in this case.

A few minutes had gone by, and then in walked our emergency. Actually, Buddy the beagle scampered in with great enthusiasm.

It’s funny how many of the emergency visits come in this way.

Mr. and Mrs. Shintani promptly reviewed the details of the evening. Mr. Shintani was reading the newspaper (MidWeek, of course) and Mrs. Shintani was busy sewing. Reaching for the pin cushion, she accidentally knocked it to the floor.

Buddy, being a curious puppy, ran over to investigate.

As Mrs. Shintani cleaned the mess, Buddy took the opportunity to ingest some of the needles. The exact count was unknown, but the Shintanis were sure it was more than one.

We took Buddy over to the X-ray room and snapped a few shots. Sure enough, there were four pins in his stomach.

Treatment options included immediate surgery to remove the pins or wait and see if the pins pass in his poop. The worst case scenario revolving around the “wait and see” option involved the possibility that the pins would migrate out of the intestines and into other organs. In doing so, bacteria would be introduced into the abdomen and Buddy could get a life-threatening infection.

Mr. and Mrs. Shintani understood this and decided to avoid surgery and hope for the best.


Prior to going home that evening I informed the Shintanis that their job was to sift through Buddy’s poop every day and look for the needles. It was a disgusting task, but grudgingly they agreed.

Several days later they returned very worried. Buddy seemed fine, but they did not find the dreaded pins in his stool. Mr. Shintani smashed, sifted and dissolved Buddy’s poop in water to look for the sharp instruments. Sadly, he found none.

With trepidation, we took another set of X-rays and, to everyone’s surprise, the pins were nowhere to be found. Where did they go? Nobody knew.

The end result was a happy, healthy puppy that hopefully learned his lesson about eating household items.

Then again, Buddy probably didn’t understand what all the commotion was about.

To him, it was just another day in paradise, for The Wild Side knows no boundaries.

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