INAPPROPRIATE INGESTION

posted January 21st, 2016 by
  • Share
What's in Your Dog Shampoo

INAPPROPRIATE INGESTION – FROM STRANGE TO BIZARRE…

by Sherri Goodall 

 

What do the following items have in common?

Socks, underwear, bank statements, baggies, paper clips, spoons, coins, Kleenex, a whole chicken, jewelry, sewing needles, dog and baby toys, teething rings and pacifiers…

If you haven’t guessed yet, all of the above have been ingested by dogs and cats. In the veterinary world, it’s known as “inappropriate ingestion.”

Dr. Ron Hooley at River Trail Animal Hospital explains the reason why certain breeds are more prone to this and why they do it.

Dogs most prone to this are high-energy breeds and hunting breeds. Almost everyone with a Lab or a Golden Retriever has a story about items their dogs have eaten.

The cause is usually due to separation anxiety from their owners, boredom, or just plain curiosity. The reason so many dirty items of clothing are eaten is because the dog smells its owner on them. Socks seem to be the preferred choice on the menu of clothes, although I’ve heard of t-shirts, lingerie and slippers being chewed up and swallowed or simply swallowed whole.

Dr. Hooley says the most bizarre case he’s seen was from an owner calling him hysterically, saying her dog had swallowed a chicken. Dr. Hooley asked if she meant chicken bones or raw or cooked pieces. She said, “You don’t understand; he ate a whole chicken.” They lived in rural Oklahoma on a farm, and the dog evidently decided he  wanted a whole chicken for dinner, so he ate it!

Dr. Hooley isn’t sure, but feels the dog must have killed it first. The owner was able to grab one leg of the chicken before the rest went down the dog’s hatch. The X-ray shows the whole chicken in the dog’s stomach, feathers and all. Hooley kept the dog for a few days, watching and waiting. Sure enough, the dog digested just about the entire chicken, and nature took its course. Surgery wasn’t necessary. Eventually, the owner and Dr. Hooley had a good laugh about the dog, which was a mixed breed, part Husky.

The X-ray of a sewing needle comes from a cat’s tummy. Cats love to play with string and thread and will eat it sometimes. Often the thread is attached to a needle, as in this case. The needle had to be surgically removed since it was actually stuck in the intestines.

Dr. Hooley says there’s a big advantage to using an endoscope. This thin tube with a pincer-type tool on the end can be inserted through the animal’s mouth, into the esophagus and stomach and can actually grab and pull out ingested material. My own Westie, MacTwo, got a piece of rawhide stuck in his esophagus. (He was trying to take it away from my other Westie and swallowed it whole in the process.) Thankfully, our vet was able to extract it with an endoscope.

Dogs and cats have twisty intestines, just like humans. Dogs have extremely strong stomach acids. This comes from their predecessors – wolves. Wolves eat mostly wildlife, not cooked steaks as we’d like to think our dogs prefer. Since wildlife feeds on vegetation, the wolves get the carbohydrates and fiber they need plus the protein without the added fat that we humans love in grain-fed cattle (to fatten them up).

That’s why if you give your dog fatty meats, he will usually get sick. That’s when you might see your dog eating grass. It’s not always because they have indigestion but because they crave it in their diets. They can also have gastritis issues, like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and the grass helps their tummies.

Our very own publisher of TulsaPets Magazine, Marilyn King, has a great story about her Lab, Buster Brown. He got into Marilyn’s bathtub one day and scarfed down her disposable razor!  For dessert, he ate an entire bar of her special Erno Laszlo face soap. Of course, she panicked, and rushed Buster to the vet where X-rays were taken. Fortunately, the soap had encased the broken razor blade, which kept his intestines from being slashed. Again, nature took its course, and Buster pooped out bits of razor encased in very expensive soap. Good thing he was still hungry after the razor!

You might remember Watson, the Golden Retriever featured in TulsaPets who went to Disneyland with his trainer, Casey Largent. Casey was training Watson for Therapetics. While under  her tutelage, Watson ate her bank statements (chewing them first), paper clips, baggies, dog toys and coins. His favorite though was used Kleenex, which he would snatch off tables,        and dig out of waste baskets. He’s since  gone to live with his new partner and seems to be more appropriate in his dining habits.

Casey’s own dog, Cami, ate about $100 worth of scrapbooking supplies. While the Border Collie was at it, she chewed up a book, fittingly titled “Bad Dogs Have More Fun.”

Another one of my friends, Ben, has a yellow Lab named Calvin. He is the epitome of everything funny and crazy I’ve heard about Labs. For starters, Calvin swallowed Ben’s wedding ring. Her husband, Gary, didn’t believe her and claimed she lost it. Two days later, she felt like it was Christmas. Calvin pooped out her ring. The games were just beginning. Calvin discovered      Ben’s husband’s anti-snoring device on the bathroom sink. It only took one minute for Gary to turn his head, and Calvin jumped up and crunched it. Before he could swallow it, Gary grabbed the pieces. To no avail, it cost $1,500 to replace.

For more fun, Calvin grabbed the TV remote and ran outside. Gary gave chase. While Ben is yelling, “Don’t hurt Calvin…” Gary falls and cracks two ribs. As with most dogs, Calvin is a huge socks  fan, as you can see in his picture. His favorite of all are golf socks, which he faithfully throws up at night. How can you not love this dog?

One of my favorite stories is from a family with a mixed Terrier. The dog  was losing weight and feeling listless over a period of about a year, even though he was eating his regular meals. The dad finally took the dog to the vet to find out what could be wrong. After an X-ray, the doctor came out and said, “Looks like a pacifier’s stuck in your dog’s intestines.” Sure enough, the dad remembered about a year ago spending a sleepless night when their baby wouldn’t go to sleep because they couldn’t find its pacifier. This time, the pacifier was surgically removed,   and the dog continued to thrive, as did the baby.

My sympathies to all of you who have these eating machines for pets. Your vet thanks you for his or her job security!

No Responses to “INAPPROPRIATE INGESTION”

Leave a Reply