Friday, October 10, 2014

October Patient of the Month-Ethy

Ethy, a 9 year old mixed breed dog came to see Dr. Shapiro because it was believed she had eaten a foreign object and was now vomiting and straining to defecate. Dr. Shapiro ordered x-rays and clearly saw material in her stomach that could be either food or the aforementioned foreign material. Since the material was still in her stomach, vomiting was induced in the hope of a simple fix but no significant amount of matter was expelled. Ethy was hospitalized with the hope that the material would pass or could be removal non-evasively by endoscope.
Unfortunately for Ethy, neither of those two things happened.  
When it was clear that the material in Ethy's stomach would not pass, Dr. Shapiro attempted a less invasive procedure then surgery, endoscopy- to scope out the foreign material. However, it quickly became clear that there was too much material in her stomach to effectively be removed this way and she was immediately brought to surgery.
In surgery, the contents of her stomach was removed-a foam mattress cover.
  Ethy recovered from surgery without incident and was maintained in hospital on pain medications and IV fluids. Soon she was bright and responsive and ready to tackle some appropriate foods and kept them down! 
 Today, Ethy is home, happy and healthy. She maintained her playful disposition throughout this ordeal and hopefully has out grown her taste of foreign "foods". However, one can never be 100% sure.  
 This topic has been popular lately as local and national coverage has shined a light on this very common problem. In our practice, GIFB (gastrointestinal foreign bodies) are very common. The contents of these GIFB are sometimes interesting like chess pieces or a toy mouse but they are all very serious problems. The question remains, 'why do pets eat foreign objects?' There are many answers.  

Pica (the appetite for substances largely non-nutritive) can be caused by teething, boredom, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies or even underlying disease- just to name a few. Each pet is different but the resulting problem is the same. If your pet has a fancy for objects other than traditional food, speak with your local Vet about what you can do to help!

Other sources for information:


  1. I am amazed by veterinarians and the amazing things they do for our pets. With out this vet taking the time to figure out what was wrong with Ethy, she would have eventually died because the foam mattress never would have passed through her system. I'm planning on getting a dog soon, and I hope that I can find a animal hospital like this one that will take good care of him.

    1. We feel so lucky to be able to work at a practice that provides us the tools to provide the best medicine. Ethy's family are a great example of the caring community we get to work with and make such a difference in the lives of these pets.

  2. Oh the joys of having a dog. I remember when my puppy first came home with us. If I'd have known he was going to consume everything, I would have made the house more puppy proof. We had to go to the animal hospital many times to clear out the stuff he had attempted to eat. Luckily now he learned to not eat everything he finds.

    Zach |

    1. Fantastic!! That can be a long road to learning that lesson. I remember on pet in particular that had a propensity for palm nuts.Because he was a pug, a basket muzzle was never an answer. His lesson was a hard one to learn. Thankfully, his parent were diligent like you!