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My patient is a 14.5 year old Labrador Retriever. If you are familiar with the breed, you can relate to the following truisms:
Labs will eat anything.
When Labs don't eat, they are sick.
This guy never had a habit of getting into the garbage, at least not until recently. He has been feeling bad since Wednesday, his primary signs being anorexia, vomiting, and lethargy. Yesterday, he was examined, had bloods tests, X-rays, anti-vomiting injections and IV fluids. Abdominal X-rays showed the following:
Do you remember how to read X-rays? Dog's head is on our left, tail on our right. Backbone across the top. Air is black, bones are white, organs are shades of gray. Do you see anything that bothers you?
How about now? (Unfortunately, X-rays don't come with labels that point out the lesions. I have to figure them out for myself.)
We took the dog to surgery this afternoon. Here is what I took out of his stomach:
The cellophane wrapper was the biggest problem. The pieces of bone and other materials were probably small enough to have passed out of his system, but the wrapper (from a packet of peanut butter-cheese crackers, FYI) was acting as a net, collecting all the other stuff and preventing it from moving on. It is actually lucky that the bones were there as a radio-opaque marker. Without the bones for contrast, I would never have seen the cellophane.
Now that we know what was in the dog, let's take a closer look at that suspicious area of our X-ray:
Dog is doing fine tonight, and we have plans to send him home in the morning, with strict orders to stay out of the garbage!