If you Google for even a short amount of time, you’ll find plenty of stories about the crazy things dogs have eaten and either passed with some difficulty, or had to have removed surgically. Little Beanie’s a chewaholic, no doubt about that, but she’s always been more into the destructive side of chewing rather than the swallowing. It’s now apparent that has changed, possibly due to the competition for chewables presented by her little brother Biggles. Or maybe she’s from a line of Beagles owned by a certain crazy Frenchman with an unconventional appetite, and her heritage is only now asserting itself. But I’m getting ahead of myself; here’s the whole story.
About a week ago, I spotted Beanie chewing what appeared to be a bit of a “dead” ball in the park. Verbal commands won’t do a thing when she’s got something in her mouth, but she’s very obliging about letting my fingers probe around inside there (she should be, it’s a very regular occurrence), so I kept quiet and headed over to her to extract the object. However, before I reached her she mugged someone for a treat and whatever had been in her mouth wasn’t there any more. I wasn’t too concerned. I figured she’d probably spat out the foreign object to make room for the treat, and even if she had swallowed, the item would have been small, well chewed and therefore likely to pass through without any problems.
The following night (or morning, because it was about 4am) we were woken abruptly by something. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness, but I could hear a repetitive pumping sound. I figured either someone had broken into our house with the express purpose of unblocking our sinks using a stout old fashioned plunger, or one of our dogs was about to be sick. Susan turned the light on, and instead of a masked superhero plumber (“My job here is done, but somewhere in the city a toilet is overflowing. To the Dynorod Van! Away!”) I saw Beanie regurtitating some floppy blue plastic. Fair enough – at least she’d thrown it up before it could do harm.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it, and there was another vomiting session the next night that produced a bit more plastic and a trace amount of blood. We’ve got a history of being panic merchants where our dog’s health is concerned, and true to form we called the pet’s insurance help line, and visited the vet. As Beanie was otherwise in top form and making regular deposits in the Poo Bank (the only bank not threatened by the current global economic crisis) the advice was to monitor the situation for the next few days.
As it turned out, the vomiting recurred intermittently, so of course we returned to the vet. We knew the next course of action our vet would offer would be exploratory surgery, but Susan found a less invasive alternative – endoscopy, which was available at the Glasgow Vet College. We dropped her off there first thing this morning, and gave Biggles a little offlead park walk while we waited for news. I was confident the vet would find nothing, and we’d be taking our (temporarily) biggest pup back home cursing ourselves for over reacting yet again. There’d been no vomiting the last two nights, and even the folks at the vet college had felt that an endoscopy was probably unwarranted; they decided to go with an xray and ultrasound first.
This time however we’d been right to reach for the shiny red Bat-phone. The xray and ultrasound revealed a substantial amount of foreign material in Beanie’s stomach, and the endoscopy was back on. A little later, the endoscope found a lump of whitish material that it could not extract, and finally surgery retrieved a treasure trove of junk: six large pieces of grey guttering(!), assorted pieces of plastic, enough wool and fabric fragments to knit a jumper, and a cat’s claw.
Blimey. Where the hell did she get all this stuff? Especially the cat’s claw! When there’s a cat in the neighbourhood, Beanie much prefers to have any possibility of a confrontation spoiled by a stout garden fence. That way she can woof boldly without any fear of reprisals. I’m just hoping the vet will keep samples of Beanie’s non-degistibles so that we can work out where they came from, and prevent any further illict speed swallowing attempts.
Regardless, our pup is apparently recovering well from her op and we should get her back tomorrow. No doubt she’ll have to wear a lampshade for a few days to stop her messing with her stitches. I hope it’s a big one, otherwise she just might swallow it.