Audrie* is a very cute French Bulldog puppy. She is bright and bouncy and always happy to meet new people. She has a healthy appetite and her inquisitive nature means she is always keen to try new things. However, Audrie’s gastronomic adventures very nearly ended in tragedy.
Audrie visited us at London Veterinary Specialists as she could not stop vomiting. She just couldn’t keep anything down! Even water had started to bounce. Something was very wrong! It was time to take a closer look inside Audrie’s abdomen using ultrasound.
In a dog like Audrie who had been sick so many times the stomach should be completely empty. Strange then that Audie’s ultrasound scan revealed so much material in her stomach (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Black (hypoechoic) material within the stomach (arrows). STOM = Stomach.
The material looks black or hypoechoic as, unlike normal soft tissue, none of the ultrasound can pass through. Food material usually passes from the stomach into the bowel via a passage called the pylorus. This first part of the bowel is called the duodenum. If the pylorus is blocked, then the stomach can’t empty. This usually results in vomiting. Could that be the reason Audrie is vomiting? What is that is Audrie’s pylorus? (Figure 2).
Figure 2: A piece of string passing (small arrows) through the pylorus (large arrows).
DUO = Duodenum.
There seems to be a piece of string within the pylorus! This looks bright or hyperechoic as the string reflects the ultrasound beam. So what’s on the end of the string? (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Black (hypoechoic) material (small arrows) within the bowel (large arrows), just beyond the stomach. DUO = Duodenum.
More material! There was no doubt about it, Audrie must have foreign material stuck in her pylorus which was preventing her stomach from emptying and blocking her bowel. No wonder she couldn’t keep anything down! An obstructed bowel is very, very serious. If the bowel bursts, Audrie could go into shock and die. The only option was to remove the foreign material and clear the obstruction. To the operating room!!
Dr Janet Kovak McClaran and her surgical team operated on Audrie immediately after her ultrasound. To their surprise, the cause of all Audrie’s problems was a old pair of pants! Audrie must have scoffed them when no one as looking!!
Audrie made a complete recovery following her “brief” encounter. However, cases like this do not always end well. If your dog lives to eat please make sure that what they eat doesn’t kill them. Items to watch out for include corn cobs, food wrapping, fruit stones, bones, balls, stuffing from inside soft toys, kebab sticks and anything and everything that might smell interesting!!
* The name of the patient has been changed.