Written by Vasiliki A. Ntavlourou, BVM, GPCert(ExAP), MRCVS.
Our little and adorable Siva scared but also impressed us all with her.............achievement!!!
Her adventure began a few months ago, when she suddenly started suffering from frequent and severe vomiting episodes.
Her owners were very worried and soon asked for veterinary advice.
Siva's vomiting episodes were initially explained as some kind of dietary intolerance/disturbance. Truth was, that up to that day, Siva's diet was not constant. She was quite often offerred different varieties of dog food, as well as home made food! (delicious Greek food!!!).
Therefore, having assumed that Siva's clinical condition was caused by a chronic gastritis, her owners were given the advice of following a very strict diet, feeding her only prescription diets for gastrointestinal problems.
Truth was also, that our little friend showed a satisfying improvement when she was fed that special diet. An improvement though, that did not last long!
The vomiting episodes recurred and Siva continued losing lots and lots of weight!
So,one morning, Siva came to us looking for...............a solution to her problem!
Her clinical condition when we first met her, was truly bad! And as the days were going by, her physical condition turned really scary! The poor dog looked emaciated and she would give the impression of an organism that suffered from severe ANOREXIA!
The truly confusing thing though, was that Siva's appetite had it's ups and downs. There were days that she would refuse food and days that she would eat all her food and look for more. She wouldn't vomit for 2-3 days , but then she would bring back all the food she had eaten in the last 2-3 days.
After a very thorough examination of Siva's dietary history, we confirmed that her owners had made every possible effort to follow an extremely strict diet but despite their efforts the dog was still vomiting!
First, we recommended full blood tests. We checked the dog's kidney and liver funtion and we performed full hematological blood tests.
Unfortunately, none of these tests gave us an answer as to what could possibly be causing her vomiting.
But there was no time for further delays! Her already emaciated body was still losing weight and it wouldn't be long before she......died!
Therefore, we explained to Siva's owners that we had to rehydrate her via intravenous fluids, as she was losing lots of body fluids through the vomiting and then take xrays of her abdomen and oesophagus, as soon as possilbe.
And so we did! After rehydrating her, we administered a mild sedative which allowed us to take the necessary xray views, but also PALPATE Siva's abdomen! Something that was not possible while Siva was awake, as despite her serious illness, she had not lost her...............sense of "humor"!
Siva's adbominal palpation revealed some really scary findings!!!!
A large and extremely hard mass was palpable from the stomach, all the way through her intestines........but still, no idea what that could possibly be. The possibility of a foreign body ingestion had been ruled out by the owenrs despite our very detailed and persistent questionnaire while taking the dog's history.
The xrays we performed where not helpful either! A very confusing "mass" that looked like digested food was obvious in her stomach and first parts of her guts. But again......no idea!
At that point, we had to have that difficult and unpleasant for any caring pet owner discussion......We had to mention the possibilty Siva's problem being caused by a tumor inside her abdomen, in which case the prognosis would be poor!
We have to admit that Siva's case was a tricky one! The palpation of that abdomen would have troubled even the most experienced clinician!
Having no other option, we suggested as a last but absolutely necessary procedure, an exploratory laparotomy. An opening of Siva's belly , in order to look inside and try to find out the source of her problem. Our hope was that we would be able to help her.......eitherway! If we found out the problem and we could, we would fix it. If not....then we would have to put an END to her suffering!
Siva's owners believed in us and our honest efforts to help their dog and so they gave us their permission to perform an exploratory laparotomy!
Siva's abdomen though........left us all speechless!!! After a very brave cut on her stomach and another two brave cuts on her intestines, we managed to remove "something" that would trouble us for days until we finally found out what it was!
It looked like something woollen........a scarf maybe? or some other piece of cloth. But again, nothing was missing from the owners wardrobe or the washing line of the neighbours living above Siva's flat!!!!!
Finally, the answer came a few days later!
Our little friend had chewed up to "death" one piece of a cut in halfs carpet that her owners had left and forgotten all about in their storage room!!!
The other "half" of the carpet that survived Siva's attack, was brought to us by her owners and only then we believed that .............it was a chewed up carpet what we removed from the dogs' stomach and intestine.
............And of course Siva gave us a big smile and a memorable photo sitting on her favorite........carpet!
A month after her serious operation, Siva is doing very well. She eats and drinks and does not "leave" her meals on her owners' .........floor any more!!!!
She has recovered almost all the lost weight and she is very close to looking like a healthy dog again!
Siva's owners are very happy and we are so relieved that she is going to continue troubling them with her mischiefs, but also giving them lots and lots of hapiness in the years to come.
Siva's case is once again a good reminder of two very important points:
1. Our beloved pets are capable of achieving the............impossible!
2. Linear foreign bodies are not obvious on xrays and for this reason an exploratory laparotomy, although scary, is quite often the procedure of choice and in some cases the only way to save............... a "naughty" dog's life!
Our little and cute Siva is sending her love and kisses to all of us and we truly hope that this was a lesson to be learned for her!
She is sending a message to all her little four legged friends:
"KEEP UP THE GOOD CHEWING UP AND DESTROYING YOUR OWNERS THINGS JOB GUYS,
BUT DO NOT HIDE THE PIECES IN YOUR STOMACH, BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS .................A VET OUT THERE!!!"