Stolley Park
Veterinary Hospital

3020 W. Stolley Park Road  Grand Island, Nebraska  68801  
Phone:  308-384-6272   Fax:  308-384-0984

July Newsletter

Foreign Bodies and Obstructions

Summer! Fun in the sun, playing at the lake, visiting friends, and if we’re lucky, a lot of time spent outside. Hopefully, on some of these adventures, our canine companions get to accompany us. This is also the time of year, however, that we seem to see more Ingestion of Inappropriate Objects. I think we can all admit that a lot of dogs like to eat anything and everything they can find. This can happen any time of the year, of course, but in the summer we all get out more, which presents new opportunities for different and fun things to swallow.

Like most veterinary clinics, we have found a variety of objects in our patients: rocks, balls, dog toys, kid toys, socks, fabric, bones, magnets, CDs and frequently, The Unidentifiable Object. Recently, we had a dog that ate eight pennies from her owner’s car. She was only alone in the car for a few minutes.

Many times, these objects will pass on their own. When they do not, however, there are some common signs of a potential intestinal obstruction. Most frequently, we see vomiting. Some dogs behave completely normally; however, they can’t hold anything down. In many cases, however, we’ll see decreased appetite and lethargy, along with the vomiting. Occasionally there will be a history of the missing object, but not as often as you might think.

In the case of the penny ingestion, we had another concern. Pennies made after 1983 are made of zinc as well as copper. If enough of the coating in eroded, the zinc can actually become toxic to the dog. Zinc toxicosis usually causes destruction of red blood cells, which can lead to a life-threatening anemia. Fortunately, most pennies will pass before this can become an issue.

The moral of this story is that some dogs will eat just about anything, and sometimes it doesn’t matter how closely we watch them. If you feel your dog might have eaten something inappropriate and it isn’t passing, or he stops eating and starts vomiting, please call your veterinarian.

And please, Enjoy Your Summer!