Friday, June 27, 2008

Foreign Body Friday, June 27

Last week, we got a phone call from someone who said her 4 month old Malamute puppy had eaten a fishing hook and line the night before, but she wasn't worried because the hook was "the kind that dissolves in a couple of weeks." Two questions immediately came to my mind: "If you aren't worried, why are you calling?" and "What kind of fishing hook dissolves?"

We told her that two weeks is a long time to carry a fishing hook around in your belly even if it will dissolve, and
convinced her to come in anyway. While I waited, I had a mental conversation with myself. What would a dissolvable fishing hook be made of, and would it show up on my X-rays? If I find it, can I persuade the owner to allow me to remove it? And, can I do a GI foreign body surgery and still get lunch?

We called every fisherman we knew - husbands, boyfriends, uncles. None of them had ever heard of a dissolving fish hook.

The puppy came in for her exam. She was bright, happy, not painful, surprisingly well-mannered, and I could not find any fishing hook or line in her mouth.

You know what's coming next - an X-ray. Can you find the fish hook in this puppy?

Need some help?
Oh, yeah, it's where you think it is.

OK, the good news is that the hook is radio-opaque, and that it is not hung up in the esophagus, the stomach, or the small intestine. Even more importantly, I don't have to take her to surgery, and I will get my lunch break. The bad news? I have to glove up and go in for the hook.

With a little digital manipulation and the judicious application of KY jelly and a pair of Kelly forceps, I extracted a
wad of dog doo-doo with a stiff object in the middle. Dissecting the material, I found a clump of dog hair wrapped around ...

... the hook.

This little dog was SO lucky! I have seen a lot of fish hook patients in my time, and never have I seen one go all the way through a pet with no trauma. The hair coated the hook so it didn't have the chance to snag any tissue along the way, and it was even coming out rounded end first. I suspect she would have passed it on her own with the next bowel movement, but then I would have missed out on a most blog-worthy post.

The staff's comment when they saw me washing off the hook and reaching for my camera? "Are you going to BLOG about THIS?" You betcha!


Lisa said...

"dissolvable fish hook"? sounds like some "fish story" that a parent made up to reassure a kid that the fish would live after it got away with a hook stuck in it.

People is stoopit.

That puppy is soooooo lucky.

Lynne said...

Oh yeah, this is a GOOD one!

Anonymous said...

Dissolvable fish hook. Unbelievable. Glad the story had a happy ending! Love that x-ray!

NCmountainwoman said...

Indeed it is a blog-worthy post. I usually check you blog with my morning coffee. Glad I waited a little later today.

Do your remember last year when you did posts on dog training? You answered my questions (anonymous) about problems with the "down" command. You can see my Lucy on my post for today. Thanks to you, she no longer needs anything other than the command.

KGMom said...

Well, I've been away for a while--missing your posts.

And what do I come back to--a fish story.

Really, MOST interesting--and as you say one lucky dog.

Susan Gets Native said...

Wow. That would have been quite a poop.

What is the opaque object in the middle, right of the spine? Is that artifact?

KatDoc said...

You got me, Susan. It is a flaw in the screen of one of my X-ray film cassettes. It shows up in every radiograph taken with that cassette. I was hoping no one would notice.

When I shows clients their pet's X-rays, I always start out, "Air is black, bones are white..." then add "ignore this white spot, it is a defect in the film."

Should have known I couldn't fool ole Eagle Eyes.

See you tomorrow at Chilo,


Susan Gets Native said...

We had a cassette like that at the podiatrist's office, caused by one of my fingernails. : ( Oops!

Be sure to charge your camera battery....I'm bringing Isis tomorrow!

KatDoc said...

What are you, sitting at your screen, commenting?

Just put fresh batteries in the camera and have a back-up pair in the bag. I've got birding at CNC at 8am, pit firing at 10:30am and then a trip to Crooked Run after that. I'll be blogging for a week.

Pray it doesn't rain, and that I don't jinx the bird walk.