We performed emergency surgery on a playful puppy who managed to swallow part of one of his favourite squeaky toys.
Rupert, a six-month-old black Labrador, began vomiting at home and had signs of abdominal pain, leading his worried owners to bring him to see us.
Following X-ray and ultrasound imaging, a blockage was suspected in the stomach. This was found using a ‘barium’ study where a liquid that shows up on X-ray was given, showing that the stomach was emptying much more slowly than it usually would.
Following discussion with Rupert’s owner, our vet Grace Spencer performed an emergency exploratory laparotomy. This surgery allows the abdomen to be opened in order to examine for any further damage and to locate any blockage.
During surgery, Grace spotted a tiny piece of plastic lodged inside his intestines. As Rupert’s muscles were now relaxed under anaesthetic, the tiny piece of plastic could be passed through Rupert’s body manually, avoiding the need to cut into the gut itself for removal.
Grace said: “Puppies are never very delicate with their toys and they will test them to destruction. Rupert only swallowed the smallest bit of his toy and yet it ended up causing him a lot of pain and sickness.
“We are delighted that Rupert relaxing his muscles allowed this piece of plastic to be moved through his body in a more natural manner, without us having to cause him any additional pain to what this object had already caused.”
His owner Jessica Taylor said: “He was always playing with his pumpkin squeaky toy but one day we noticed it was damaged so we took it off him and threw it in the bin.
“We thought nothing more of it until a month later when he started vomiting one morning and so we immediately took him to Lida.
“At first they couldn’t see what was going on but they did not give up testing until they had got to the bottom of it.
“It was such a tiny bit of plastic and yet caused so much trouble. The toy was from a reputable company but obviously it just couldn’t stand up to boisterous Rupert. We have had to take all plastic toys off him now.”
“We’re so grateful to Lida as they were absolutely brilliant with Rupert. So much so, that when we took him back for a check-up they had to put him in a side room as he was so excited to go and see all the staff he became very vocal and was crying with anticipation!”