“Sally”, a playful 14 month old kitten, came to see us when she had stopped eating for a couple of days. She had vomited one meal 2 days prior to coming in, and had since not shown any interest in her food. Although she was normally playful and active, her family reported that she had been much more quiet and withdrawn since she had stopped eating.
During our examination, we found that Sally’s abdomen was tender, her intestine was enlarged and she was mildly dehydrated. All other findings were normal.
Routine lab tests and x-rays were non-specific and so a barium study was performed to identify any possible obstruction. Often patients will ingest objects which they are unable to pass through their stool. If the object becomes stuck in their intestinal tract creating a blockage, serious complications can arise. It was suspected that this may be the case for Sally, so we orally administered some barium, a liquid which shows up on an x—ray and outlines the intestinal tract as it passes through, and then did a series of x-rays to follow the path of the barium.
The first image taken after the barium administration shows a normal stomach and flow into the small intestine. After several hours, the barium should have moved through the small intestines and be ready to be passed through the colon. Sally’s 3-hour image, however, is almost unchanged from the first image and demonstrates a complete intestinal blockage.
At this point surgery was recommended to remove the foreign object, which turned out to be a small plastic toy, and Sally went on to make a full recovery. The toy has now joined our collection of objects which we have removed from various patients’ intestines, including hair ribbons, thread/string, stones, socks, pantyhose, sewing needles, fabric pieces (even whole dish towels!), plastic wrappers, fruit pits – and many other things
which we were unable to identify.
Yes, pets will eat some crazy things , so if you notice your furry friend chewing on something he shouldn’t, take it away before he swallows something that could cause a problem.