Buddy and the Nerf Gun

May 16, 2014

Buddy in a rare moment of inactivityBuddy is a typical Springer Spaniel….. bursting with energy, into everything and living life at 100 miles per hour. Buddy lives in a busy household with young children and his boundless enthusiasm is a joy to watch.

So when Buddy slumped into the consulting room with his tail between his legs and a “hang-dog expression” it was pretty clear that something was badly wrong.

Buddy had lost his appetite and was vomiting whenever he drank water. I examined him carefully. His gums were tacky and being a slender dog, I was able to carefully feel his abdomen. He grunted but I could feel nothing abnormal in his abdomen.

There was some suspicion that Buddy might have eaten some chocolate Easter Egg although the suspicion also extended to the youngest member of the family who was also suspected of eating his sister’s Easter present!

The two most likely diagnoses were an acute gastroenteritis or there was a possibility that Buddy had eaten something that was stuck in his digestive tract.

It was very clear that something was badly wrong so Buddy was admitted for abdominal X-rays. The X rays revealed gas in his stomach and small intestine but no sign of a swallowed stone or bone that would explain the signs.

The endoscope was used to examine the stomach contents and the lining and no abnormalities were detected.

Eventually, the decision was made to perform exploratory surgery to look inside his abdomen.

As soon as we entered the abdomen, the cause became very clear. Buddy had swallowed a soft plastic disk that had passed through his stomach and was wedged in his small intestine. The plastic was not dense enough to show up on X-ray so had evaded all detection.

The plastic was carefully removed from his intestine and on examination, it was found to be a child’s NERF Gun pellet.

Buddy has made a very speedy recovery and is back to his usual lively self but his story demonstrates the dangers of dogs swallowing children’s toys and the potentially life-threatening consequences.

 

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