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Posted on 06-17-2015

Last Friday morning the dog sitter brought in a puppy who was vomiting.  The bulldog puppy was doing fine, until that morning when she started vomiting after eating breakfast.

Client Service Rep Emily told me, “They think she ate a back scratcher.”

“A back scratcher?” I said, trying to visualize.

“You know.  It has a wooden handle, claws on the end.”

Now I had an image of what the puppy ate, or chewed up, thinking there’s probably some fragments in her stomach, irritating her stomach, etc.

A few minutes later I greeted Lilly (the puppy) and Scott (the dog sitter) in the exam room.  Lilly was coughing, salivating, gagging.  I looked into her mouth, into her pharynx.  Nothing.  Clear.  Just foamy saliva and mucus.  Now I was thinking:  Okay, she vomited, aspirated, and now she’s coughing. 

We took x-rays of her stomach and chest (to look for evidence of aspiration).  Her stomach was dilated with gas.  It looked like there was a linear foreign object in the stomach along with a lot of dog food.  But, Scott (the dog sitter) told me she ate the ball part on the end of the handle.  “About the size of a marble,” he told me.

Next step, we passed a stomach tube to relieve the gas distension.  I wanted to see the x-rays again, minus all the gas.  Assistants Travis and Nesh took Lilly back to radiology.

“Dr. P, look!” Travis said.  “I saw her chewing on something.  I reached into her mouth and pulled this out!”

Travis presented the 16-inch back scratcher handle, with chewed wood or bamboo and dog spit on one end and a small wooden ball on the other.  Lilly suddenly felt much better.

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