Do You Know What You Are Missing???

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.

heritage x-ray 1

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.

heritage x-ray 2

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.


Your Pet is at Risk for Rabies


Descriptions of rabies go back thousands of years as it has classically been one of the most feared infections of all time. It is caused by a rhabdovirus that, in most cases, the disease is transmitted through a bite wound. When wildlife comes into contact with humans or domestic animals, rabies becomes a public health problem. Despite vaccination being readily available at your local veterinarian, every year the U.S. reports the deaths of hundreds of dogs and cats from rabies, not to mention several human deaths. Worldwide, some 55,000 human deaths from rabies occur. Rabies remains an important and nearly untreatable illness even now in the 21st century. It is because of rabies that most municipalities have pet licensing requirements in order to ensure that the community’s dogs and cats are vaccinated.

The most common wildlife species to spread rabies in Missouri are the skunk, bat, raccoon, fox, and coyote. It should be noted in particular that wildlife (bats and raccoons especially) are able to gain access to indoor areas and potentially infect pets and people. While it may take a long time for the virus to incubate, once even mild symptoms begin, death can occur within 10 days. Luckily, rabies prevention is accomplished with vaccination and limiting exposure to wildlife. The standard killed-virus vaccines are available for both dogs and cats. After the initial dose, (which is good for one year) subsequent doses are generally good for three years. Call Heritage Veterinary Hospital today to ensure your family and pets are protected against rabies.

– Meagan, RVT

Importance of Dental Care and Prophylaxis

The portrait of a Rottweiler dog at forest background

As we are approaching dental health month here at Heritage Veterinary Hospital, I would like to take the opportunity to talk about the importance of dental care and prophylaxis (disease prevention). Just like humans, our furry counterparts require preventative care in between their yearly dental cleanings. Yearly dental cleanings not only make kisses more pleasant, but protect your pets from internal organ damage from bacteria in the mouth and help to decrease the risk of tooth loss. Although brushing your pets’ teeth is the best preventative care you can provide against dental disease, it is a common misconception that this is the only preventative there is available. There are many products for those who live busy lives, such as dental chews, oral rinses, and water additives. My dogs (Lizzy and Dominico), for example, love the Oravet dental chews. It is a reward for both them and myself knowing they are receiving dental care and a treat all in one! And as I always say, something is better than nothing! So remember after a yearly dental cleaning, prevention is the best method for promoting a happy and healthy life.


-Meagan, RVT

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