The other day I was rushed into doggy hospital to undergo life saving treatment! It all began when I started being sick and I generally felt unwell. A trip to the vets and an x-ray showed a foreign body (FB) was lodged in my intestine, around where the small intestine meets the larger one.
It was hoped that I would ‘pass’ said object within a day or so as it showed up very tiny on the x-ray. However, that night the pawrents got very worried when I didn’t want my dinner and got even more worried when I refused a beer and a glass of pawsecco! When I showed absolutely no interest in watching ‘Match of the Day’ they knew something really serious was up!
A late night visit to the vets followed where they felt it was best I stayed in overnight and I started on an intravenous treatment of antibiotics and fluids. When dawn broke, veterinary staff gathered around to watch me perform my morning ablutions…and much to their dismay I couldn’t even go!
A further x-ray showed that the FB hadn’t budged a millimetre – it was stuck… well and truly! The x-ray wasn’t able to show what the FB was nor how long it had been there. Meanwhile, the expression in my eyes told everyone I was feeling very poorly; my coat had gone dry and I had lost a lot of weight in no time at all. Blood tests confirmed I also had pancreatitis, most likely as a secondary condition. After a consultation between the vet and my pawrents it was decided…they were going to open me up!
Now I confesses I am a terrible scavenger, nothing is safe from my jaws. There’s a strict no treats, chews or toys in our house policy unless supervised, but this doesn’t stop me from pulling clothes out of laundry bins in the search for hankies and tissues, and jumping on the table and stealing mum’s glasses. But I am not alone in my endless search for something to nosh…so it is not surprising that an intestinal blockage is quite common as us dogs swallow all sorts of objects:- bones, rawhide, sticks, string and socks to name but a few!
Symptoms of an internal blockage include:-
Not eating or drinking or both
Sore and painful tummy when touched
Tired and lethargic
If you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t you really should fess up and tell mum and dad so they can take you to the vets for the correct treatment. Most of the time you will pass what you’ve swallowed and give the pawrents the lovely task of examining your poo to check the obstruction has come out the other end.
Now back to me. The surgeon warned mum and dad that they needed to be prepared for what they might find when they operated. I apparently am an older dog…Huh! I am 10 and in the prime of my life, but the surgery would be a major operation and not without risk.
After I had been in the operating theatre for some time the pawrents received a phone call. Whilst removing the FB had been straightforward, there was necrosis (tissue death) around the area and there was nothing to stitch together! To resolve the problem part of my gut had been removed and an assistant surgeon had to be called in. EEEEEEK!!! I had made it through surgery but the next 48 hours were critical!
(Photo: The foreign body found in my tummy)
To help you avoid eating things that will make you unwell or cause a blockage ask your pawrents to:-
Keep an eagle eye on you and make sure you never play with toys or chews unsupervised.
Not to give you cooked bones or rawhide bones to chew.
Not leave things lying around the house that you could eat.
Make sure the bin is harder to break into than Fort Knox.
Purchase toys that are larger than your throat and therefore technically impossible to swallow.
Teach you to drop it and leave it on command.
Of course my mum and dad did all the above but if you’re determined to ‘get something down your neck’ you will!
As I am writing this blog it’s pretty obvious I made it through and survived. After a short stay in hospital I was allowed home but had to be watched 24/7. I wasn’t through the woods yet as I could have had post operative complications such as peritonitis and abdominal leakage. I had to go back for regular appointments, have a course of antibiotics, check ups and mum had to call the vet immediately if I showed any signs of fever, pain, bloating, sickness, discharge from my wound, stomach hardness or anything that gave her cause for concern. I didn’t make any attempt to lick at my wound but if so I could have worn a cone of shame or even better a medical onesie.
After this kind of surgery it will take a while before you get back to a normal diet. Initially food should be little and often, gradually building up the amount and reducing the amount of feeds per day. Because of the pancreatitus I’m still not back to a totally normal diet but hope to be within around 3 weeks. Mum and dad have been monitoring my poo to make sure it looks nice and normal and there is no sign of constipation or diarrhoea. They got very excited when I did my first poo after surgery; they were in the garden late at night, with a torch shining on my deposits cheering and doing a happy dance! God knows what the neighbours thought!
If you’re reading this article and thinking, ‘Oh, I would never do anything like that, I’m such a good dog’, remember I am 10 years old, really healthy despite a life of scoffing anything I could find and I never thought this could ever happen to me! The item that was removed from my tum looked like a teddy bear’s paw. Mum and dad didn’t recognise it and neither did I. All current toys had their limbs checked and were accounted for. We don’t know where I got it from. I confess I am naughty and get distracted so maybe I swallowed it when out walking somewhere. Intestinal blockages do tend to occur in dogs like me who have a tendency to eat anything but this isn’t always the case – a one off bad choice of snack could leave you in hospital!
I was very lucky to have been treated by a very good team of vets. Luckily my vet has a 24/7 emergency hot line so I spoke directly to a vet from my practice which was very reassuring as they knew me and had access to all my case notes. So I really want to say a big thank you to Coastal Veterinary Practice, who literally did save my life and all of you who sent me get well cards and messages.
Having a teddylegectomy was not pleasant, in fact no ectomy is a barrel of laughs, so please do take care and watch what you eat!
PS. Do not give your dog alcohol under any circumstances. Gizmo’s beer and wine is from Woof & Brew – dog friendly herbal drinks.