Spanky is a sweet 4 year old Pit Bull that came in on emergency for vomiting. He was vomiting his food and water, not acting like himself and not having bowel movements.
When his owners brought him in we did a complete physical exam. Heart and lungs sounded normal. His abdomen was soft and not painful when palpated. His eyes and ears looked normal. His gums were pink, but they felt “tacky”, which in pets can be a sign of dehydration.
To determine what could be causing Spanky’s symptoms we needed to do diagnostics. We did x-rays, which showed no obvious signs of a foreign body. When we look at x-rays, we are not only looking for the actual object (not all objects are “radiopaque” or visible on an x-ray), but we are looking for what we call an “obstructive pattern”. This is usually dilated loops of gas in the intestines. If an object is in the way, gas will not be able to move through or around it, causing it to build up and dilate in the intestines. We also did full bloodwork which looks at his liver, kidneys, glucose, some enzymes and proteins. It also analyzes electrolytes and looks at his CBC. CBC’s examine red blood cells (looking for anemia for example), white blood cells (looking for infection) and platelet count. His bloodwork showed an alteration in his electrolytes, which is common in dogs that are dehydrated and vomiting.
In order to correct his electrolyte imbalance Spanky needed to be hospitalized with IV (intravenous) fluids. Fluid therapy would help to rehydrate him, and they also include a mixture of balanced electrolytes and other acids/bases to help get him feeling better! We started him on medications to help with his vomiting and nausea as wells.
Spanky was still was not improving. He was not eating, seemed uncomfortable and not acting like himself. We repeated an x-ray, which still had not noted any obvious foreign object, but his intestines were starting to show more fluid buildup. His symptoms, however were pointing to something else. Some pets can eat things and it can be in their stomach for months or even a year. Same with dogs that eat a sock for example. They can eat their first or second sock, but that third sock may ball up differently and get stuck. Dogs and cats eat all sorts of things, you can never tell what is going to be the thing that is going to cause them issues.
It was decided that Spanky needed exporatory surgery to determine if there was something that he ate or another issue going on. We did find a small, firm quarter-sized object in his intestines that was causing all his gastrointestinal signs. All surgical patients are closely monitored by one of our team members who are on premise 24/7 to provide round the clock care. We also have monitoring machines that monitor parameters such as heart rate, EKG, oxygen saturation of the blood, exhaled carbon dioxide levels, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Patients receive IV fluids for proper regulation of blood pressure and to support kidney and other organ function. Their temperatures are monitored closely as well, and we provide heating sources to them during and after surgery. We make sure that everyone is all snuggled and warm while at the hospital.
Spanky was able to go home the next day after he started to eat again! He will be monitored closely but is resting comfortably at home.
Village Veterinary Clinic of Hamburg! We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year (Doctors available daily until midnight. Veterinary technicians available daily 24/7 for phone support and patient monitoring)! 716-646-4023!