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My Dog Ate What?!?

Posted 09.07.16 by Kassie Newton, DVM

Dogs and cats can be very picky about their food, or sometimes they can consume things we would not even imagine would be edible. One of the most common appointments we have is the vomiting dog or cat. Oftentimes we may ask you if they are the type to “eat things” and by this we mean exactly that – will they eat anything that they shouldn’t. Some are notorious for this while others can be very sneaky.

How Do I Know?

Radiographs (X-Rays) are the best first step at figuring out if this may be the case for your pet. Sometimes the offending agent is very obvious, sitting right there in plain site for all to see. Other times it will be less obvious and will require additional tests such as a barium series or ultrasound to gather more information. Take a guess at some of these radiographs we have taken this past year below to see if you can figure out what they may have eaten! (answers are at the bottom)

Radiograph 1:

picture 1

 Radiograph 2:

 picture 2

Radiograph 3:

picture 3


What Is the Next Step?

If the x-rays are as obvious as above, we usually can go forward with our next steps. However, sometimes it isn’t this obvious. For these cases we may run more testing such as labwork, giving them barium, which is a dye that will outline the intestines as it goes through, or putting them on fluids and repeating the x-rays several hours later.

If we know what we are dealing with, the next steps can vary. If you know they have just eaten something and it is sitting in the stomach, we oftentimes can get them to throw it right back up preventing any trouble later. If we see something but it has moved past the stomach, we will prescribe canned or high fiber food and fluids to try to push the offending agent on through so they can pass it. However, if we see something that is in the intestines that isn’t moving and especially if the pet is very sick (vomiting, not eating, lethargic, diarrhea) then surgery is often the best option. For this we go in and remove whatever the object is that is causing a problem. This surgery can be straightforward or complicated, it honestly depends on a lot of different factors which would be discussed in the event your pet would need something like this.

What would you guess is the youngest dog we have ever had to do surgery on for eating something? The oldest? Sadly age is not a discriminating factor in regards to whether or not dogs or cats will eat unusual things. See the answers below!

We would love to hear what else your pets have eaten!

Answers to the radiographs:

  1. Fish hook that a cat ate and is in the stomach. Sadly fish hooks always require surgery, but this kitty recovered quickly with no additional fish hook eating since.
  2. A large tube sock eaten by a dog, present in the intestines. This one had surgery to remove the sock and recovered beautifully.
  3. This young dog ate a rock in the backyard. It was definitely stuck in her intestines. We successfully removed the rock with surgery and she has been rock free ever since!

Answers to questions:

Youngest pet: a 14 week old lab puppy that ate several chunks of concrete

Oldest pet: a 14 year old mixed breed dog that ate a sock

Dr. Kassie Newton

The Pet Hospitals– Collierville

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