‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving, and all through the hospital, creatures were stirring…… and eating weird objects.

Copper presented to Bemidji Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday, November 25th. The original appointment was to have his ears checked. His owner mentioned that he may have eaten a few Christmas ornament hangers and she gave consent for a radiograph. The radiograph revealed that “a few” hangers actually were “many” hangers. The large entanglement of about 50 wires could easily block the normal movement through the intestinal tract. There was also a concern that the sharp ends of the wire hangers may puncture through the stomach or intestinal walls, the veterinarian recommended surgical removal.

Copper Peterson

The patient was pre-medicated and prepped for surgery. A catheter was placed to give IV fluids and antibiotics. Most of the wires were in a ball in the stomach and were removed through an incision in the stomach wall. Four wires were located further down in the intestinal tract. Two of these were removed from the small intestine through very a small incision. The other two were removed via rectal palpation. Four more wires were located in the esophagus. An attempt was made to retrieve them via endoscope, but was unsuccessful. These would need to be monitored as they pass through. The patient’s anesthesia recovery was uneventful.

On day 2, Copper was acting very bright and alert. He was energetic and had an appetite. The technicians offered him a canned high fiber food. The fiber was intended to increase the movement of the intestines to push the wires through. The hope was that the food would also surround the wires and move them through safely. His stools were monitored closely for passing wires.

On day 3, a follow up radiograph was taken to assess the progress. The wires appeared to be passing with one in the stomach and two in the intestines. He continued to eat his high fiber diet. Two wires were retrieved from his afternoon bowel movement.

Copper Peterson 2

On day 4, another radiograph was taken. No wires were present in his intestinal tract. The veterinarian cleared him to be discharged and finish his recovery at home with his owner. He was sent home on antibiotics and pain medications.

Copper Peterson 3

During the follow up call a few days later, the client reported he was doing well. Hopefully he leaves the rest of the Christmas decorating up to his owner.

If you suspect your pet may have eaten foreign material, contact your veterinarian immediately. Bemidji Veterinary Hospital has staff on call 24/7 to assist you with any small animal emergencies.