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Canines Ingesting the Wrong thing ⁄26 Cents

By Dr. Gabriel Mills
Posted: June 24, 2016

Occasionally our furry pals manage to get into and consume items that may become lodged, or otherwise retained, within their gastrointestinal tracts. These foreign objects can cause obstruction of the GI tract leading to pain, vomiting, sepsis, and may eventually result in death. Occasionally, these objects will make it into the stomach but will be unable to pass into the intestines without causing a complete obstruction. These cases are a little more difficult to identify as their symptoms may not be as obvious. Depending on the object in question, various negative outcomes may occur.

Usually there are prior habits noted by the pet′s owner that may increase the veterinarian′s suspicion of this occurring. Habits such as excessive chewing or previously noted swallowing of objects, usually in puppies or other young dogs. The particular case noted here happened to occur in an adult dog with no previous habit of chewing or eating strange objects. In fact the owners had indicated that she would be very unlikely to consume something other than food or treats.

This small breed adult dog was presented to our veterinary team with clinical signs including a lack of appetite, mild lethargy, and occasionally vomiting small amounts of bile tinged froth lasting 4 days. On physical exam the dog was quiet but otherwise fairly normal. The only abnormality noted was pain on abdominal palpation. A basic blood panel was performed with no significant abnormalities seen. Given the pain on abdominal palpation, abdominal radiographs were performed to rule out an obstruction or urinary bladder stones, as this particular breed is predisposed to developing stones. Radiographs revealed something unexpected within the patient’s stomach, a grouping of flat, circular objects with an opacity of metal.

A diagnosis was made of gastrointestinal foreign body with high suspicion of coins being ingested; though small flat batteries have also been found in similar situations. Coins and other metallic objects present a compounding problem as they contain zinc. Zinc toxicity in animals can cause mucosal inflammation of the GI tract as well as damage to nearly all organ systems and destruction of red blood cells. In this case, despite symptoms having been occurring for 4 days, bloodwork was surprisingly normal.

An emergency gastronomy was performed to remove the objects within the patient′s stomach.26 Cents

Direct palpation of the stomach confirmed the objects placement within its lumen.The rest of the GI tract was also evaluated for confirmation that no additional objects remained that may not have been seen on the radiographs. The stomach was then isolated and incised to remove the objects. Two dimes, one nickel, and one penny were found: twenty-six cents in all.

26 Cents

The stomach was then sewn closed, rinsed, and returned to the abdomen.

26 Cents 26 Cents

The patient was then sent home with various pain medications, specifically tailored as to not affect normal motility of the GI tract, as well as gastric acid suppressants and antibiotics. Food was limited in quantity and made into a gruel to be fed in multiple small meals throughout the day to prevent stretching of the stomach. Appetite returned the following day and our mischievous little patient is doing very well.

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