Carroll County Animal Hospital

Tucker has an Obstruction

Tucker, an 8 month old Labrador retriever, presented to Carroll County Animal Hospital for vomiting for the last 24 hours. Tucker has not had a normal appetite for 24 hours and has now also begun to have diarrhea. Tucker has a history of being a “typical lab puppy” and gets into everything in the house! He loves to chew on toys, shoes, furniture, and even clothing! Tucker is up to date on his puppy vaccines and has no signs of coughing or sneezing.

Tucker had a normal body temperature, weight, heart rate and respiration. Tucker was found to be dehydrated on examination as he had tacky gums in his mouth rather than moist and wet. He drooled significantly during his exam, indicating nausea. Tucker has a severely painful belly when palpated. Rectal exam revealed no significant abnormalities.

Parvovirus test: Negative
Fecal exam for intestinal worms: Negative

X-rays of the abdomen were highly recommended due to the amount of pain found in his belly.
Please see the x-rays below of his abdomen.

Tucker has a severely gas filled stomach as well as loops of small intestines that are much larger than normal.

A barium series was then performed to evaluate gastrointestinal motility, or rate of the movement of a substance through the intestinal system. A barium series is when we give a patient a contrast agent that is chalky and metallic. Metal shows up great on x-rays so the substance will “coat” anything in the g.i. tract and shows any abnormalities within it.

Please see the barium series x-rays below.

The barium, after 6 hours of x-rays every 30 minutes to 1 hour, did not move from the stomach. This is very abnormal as the contrast should have reached the colon on a normal dog within a few hours. Tucker’s transit time was very slow.

An I.V. catheter was placed and fluid therapy was begun on Tucker.

At this point, an exploratory laparotomy was recommended to evaluate the problem in Tucker’s g.i. tract. This is a surgery that involves opening the abdominal wall and evaluating the entire g.i. contents.

An incision into the abdomen was made. A large firm swelling was found in the small intestines. An enterotomy was performed and a large amount of yarn, wads of hair, elastic banding and a piece of a toy were removed! This area was obstructing his intestines and causing his severe painful belly, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Tucker recovered without complications from surgery and was discharged home 48 hours later. He had no pain in his belly, he was eating and drinking well, and had no signs of vomiting or diarrhea!

Gastrointestinal obstructions are very dangerous in pets. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested an inappropriate object call us immediately!