Silver is a young and very energetic dog. Her owners knew something was going on when she began to vomit and act lethargic. She has been known to get herself into trouble by eating out the trash and eating children’s toys. So, they were concerned about a foreign body.
On exam, Silver appeared to be fairly normal. There were no obvious signs as to what could be happening. The team at Heritage Veterinary Hospital decided to take x-rays of Silver to ensure there were no foreign objects present in her intestinal tract.
After x-raying Silver we found that there was a sewing needle present in her stomach. Luckily it didn’t look like major damage had occurred at this stage. The needle could have potentially perforated the stomach or intestinal tract leading to a very serious belly infection that could be deadly. The team at Heritage Veterinary Hospital recommended immediate surgery to try and prevent potential complications.
Preoperative bloodwork was pulled on Silver. She was given preoperative pain medications. An IV catheter was placed into her front arm for quick access to a vein. She was then anesthetized, had an endotracheal tube placed down her windpipe, her belly shaved and cleaned for surgery, her eyes lubricated since she could not blink under anesthesia, and monitoring equipment put on her to ensure her safety. She was then moved to the surgery suite and monitored by a technician.
Her belly was incised and all parts of her abdomen were examined: spleen, liver, kidneys, intestinal tract, etc. During exploratory surgery, all organs are assessed to be sure there is no other issue occurring that wasn’t evident on bloodwork or x-rays. The sewing needle was found in the stomach. A small cut was made through the stomach. The sewing needle, some rubber bands, and hair were removed from the stomach. Silver had had a lot of fun recently!
The stomach was then closed. The belly was flushed with sterile saline to decrease risk of infection. The muscle and skin layer of the belly were closed. The technician injected a numbing agent into the incision after surgery was done to try and decrease pain after surgery.
Silver was then taken off of anesthesia and she slowly woke up. She went home that evening with pain medications. She will have to relax for the next few weeks to try and prevent damage to her incision.
Foreign objects can potentially be life threatening issues. Dogs can have severe damage to the intestinal tract, develop sepsis, start to have electrolyte imbalances, and can become severely dehydrated. Luckily Silver had only been sick for a short while before being evaluated so she did not have any major complications. Dogs (and cats) have been known to eat all sorts of things that could potentially cause an obstruction: corn cobs, nuts/bolts, pens, tampons, underwear, socks, bras, toys, bones, rocks/gravel, string, dental floss, hair ties, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to pick up all loose objects in the house and call us if you ever have a concern about a foreign object.