Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Missing Socks??

Have you ever wondered where the socks go when you are doing laundry?  I often do.  Almost every time I do a load of laundry I am left with at least one or two socks that don't end up with a match.  Often those missing socks never show up.  Where do they go??

We found one of those missing socks at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital on Monday......

Monday afternoon we found a sock in the small intestine of a sweet tempered, well mannered, beautiful family dog.  She had been know to eat socks in the past and usually would vomit them up before they caused any serious problem, however the sock eating caught up with her last weekend.  Her owners knew that she had eaten at least one sock when she started to act sick and stopped eating.  Her abdomen was tense and painful and she could not keep down her water or food.  She presented to one of our doctors Monday morning, after a brief stay in an overnight emergency center where they confirmed that she had something trapped in the middle of her small intestine. She was quickly admitted for supportive care and was prepped for the surgery by our team of licensed veterinary technicians and our wonderful doctor.  She was given an IV with fluids and antibiotics, pain medication and anesthesia so the doctor could surgically correct her problem.  The doctor made an incision in her abdomen to identify the cause of her distress, the foreign object - a full sized (escaped from the laundry) sock.  The intestine was opened so the sock could be removed and was carefully repaired. The sock had cause the intestine to become stressed, swollen and bruised so closing it had to be done carefully in order for it to heal properly after surgery.  In this dog's case our veterinarian got to the sock in time and she should recover fully.

When there is a sock in a dog's small intestine it is very painful and causes damage to the lining and circulation of the portion of bowel that it is trapped within.  The body works hard to try to pass the object so the intestine gets very stressed and can become compromised. If  the blockage to the intestine is not corrected in a short amount of time, a portion of intestine can actually become necrotic and die which in turn can cause the patient to get septic.  It then becomes life threatening.

Animals will eat a variety of things that they should not eat.  For example, I have removed many things from pets including rocks, ear plugs, Nerf darts, towels, coins, toys, rubber balls, string and yarn.  I have seen radiographs of dogs that have eaten spoons, knives, nails, paperclips, jewelry and a variety of clothing items including shoes.

What can we learn from this dog's story?  
1. Pick up things around your house that your pets might find fascinating and perhaps tasty.
2. Monitor your pets to be sure they don't swallow something that they shouldn't and if they do, call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
3. If your pet is vomiting or acting ill and refusing to eat, it could be a sign that they have an intestinal blockage so seek medical attention.

Please pay attention to your pet's behavior and seek veterinary advice if you suspect illness in your family pet.... and try to keep your socks from escaping the laundry.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Shark Attack!

Just when I think that I have seen and heard everything that there is to see and hear while doing my job, I get a pleasant surprise that reminds me why I love what I do.

 I never thought that I would get to see a patient in my office that was attacked by a shark.  We live in Michigan (no ocean) and I work in a small animal (pet) hospital.  So how did I end up treating a seal for a shark attack???

Very simple... It was a stuffed toy seal attacked by an imaginary shark:  Here is how it happened.

 One of my last appointments of the day was to see a young bearded dragon for her annual examination.   It happens that this particular "beardie" is owned by a school teacher and is being kept as a class pet.  The bearded dragon (Let's call her "Sassy") was doing well and just needed to be examined and checked for parasites.  The teacher just happened to be a grandmother and she had brought her young grandson with her to the appointment.  The little boy was a quiet, serious, sweet faced kid, with short, buzz cut hair and ears that stuck out slightly from his round little head.  He sat quietly next to his grandmother and aunt (who was also along for the ride) and observed the goings on in the examination room with only an occasional comment about "Sassy".  He remained patiently waiting until I had finished looking at "Sassy" and checking her over completely.  As we were finishing up talking about the  dragon the little boy spoke up in a quiet voice and said, “Will you look at my seal?”  He was holding in his right hand a small white stuffed seal – a beanie baby, I think.  I said, “Sure, what is wrong with the seal?”  “It was bitten by a shark.” he said.   “A shark?”  I said with surprise and then caught myself looking at the little stuffed animal just to be sure it didn’t have blood or guts spilling out of it’s little soft body. “When did this happen?”  I said.  He looked at me very calmly and matter of fact and said, “ Five years ago.”  Well, that answer  almost had me laughing out loud, but instead I said, “Oh, Wow! That must have been some bite if he is still having problems after five years.  Do you think it might help if I bandaged the wound?” Not really knowing how to respond.   The little guy was watching me intently as I was holding on to his little pet and examining the five year old, non-existent wound.  He nodded his head and said, “Yes, I think that would help.”  So I proceeded to apply a green vet wrap tape bandage (his favorite color is green)  around the little seal's abdominal area and returned it to the loving hands of the serious little boy.  "I think he will be fine now." I said. 

My job is truly fascinating and very entertaining when I get to do something like that.  All in a days work.....