The things a dog will eat - Snowy's story

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Snowy is a two-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever who has been visiting the clinic for his routine care since he was an eight-week-old puppy.

Snowy has always been a healthy and happy dog, so when he began vomiting and was off his food we knew there was a problem. As many of you would know Golden Retrievers generally love their food. Due to the vomiting, Snowy had also become extremely dehydrated, so he was admitted to hospital for intravenous fluids while tests were completed to find out why he was unwell.

A blood test revealed Snowy had pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas), which is often caused by eating fatty food but can also occur when there is irritation of the gastrointestinal tract in the region of the pancreas. Snowy wasn’t responding to medications and treatment as we would have liked so x-rays were conducted to check for abnormalities or obstructions in his gastrointestinal system. The x-rays revealed bones in his intestines, and as Snowy had been fed bones, there was concern that a bone may be lodged in his intestinal tract.

After discussing with Snowy’s worried family, the decision was made to proceed to an exploratory laparotomy surgery – which means opening him up to see what might be stuck inside!

Dr Jacinta and Dr Paula performed Snowy’s operation and did find a piece of bone lodged his intestinal tract. But that’s not all they found – Snowy had eaten a towel! Parts of the towel were found spread all the way through Snowy’s stomach and intestines. Parts of his intestines were so badly damaged that approximately 40cm had to be resected so that only healthy intestinal tract remained. Apart from the towel, more pieces of bones were found in his colon, but luckily these pieces were small enough to pass through on their own.

While he was under anaesthetic, a feeding tube was also placed in his osesophagus to help provide nutrition while Snowy regained his appetite and his system recovered.

Snowy’s surgery was lengthy but ultimately successful. However, it did take a week for his gastrointestinal tract to begin working properly again, so he spent his recovery in our hospital with plenty of cuddles from the veterinary and nursing staff!

Given Snowy does not normally chew random things, and towels are not exactly appetising, it’s not known why Snowy decided to eat the towel on this occasion. It does remind us that we can never predict what a puppy or dog might eat and it is best to keep things out of reach!!!!

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