Mater presented at Bemidji Veterinary Hospital for exam on Monday, April 7th. The client’s main concern was that he was not eating, which is uncommon for a Labrador, and especially for Mater. He had not vomited and the clients were unsure if he had had a bowel movement. The veterinarian performed a physical exam which revealed no obvious clues to his condition. Blood work was also unremarkable. The radiographs of his abdomen revealed a foreign body that was likely in his stomach. The clients were notified and consented to surgery to remove the possible foreign object the same day.
The technicians placed a catheter in Mater’s front leg for intravenous fluids and medications during and after surgery. Being the loving dog that he is, he licked the technicians the entire time. After being sedated he was placed on general gas anesthesia and prepped for surgery. A firm, round object was palpated in the lower part of the stomach. An incision was made into the stomach, the object was retrieved, and the stomach incision was closed. The rest of the gastrointestinal tract was examined for abnormalities; none were found. The object was cleaned and found to be a golf ball. His post-surgical recovery was uneventful.
The next morning, Mater was acting very spunky. His gut sounds were normal and he passed a normal stool. He drank water readily and was monitored throughout the day to see if it would stay down. In the afternoon, due to the fact that he hadn’t vomited, he was offered a small amount of food and placed on oral antibiotics and pain meds.
By Wednesday, he was eating well, energetic, and acting as if nothing had happened. Due to his quick and uneventful recovery, he was discharged into the care of his owners with special feeding instructions and a strict “No Golf Ball” policy.
Mater’s case is not typical for a foreign body removal as most pets present to us much sicker. Common symptoms include vomiting, not passing stools, and very uncomfortable in the abdomen. Mater’s owners were very observant and quick to seek professional help. A quick response from the owners allowed for an easier treatment, a speedy recovery, and a positive outcome. His owners didn’t intentionally allow him to chew on a golf ball; he had found it in the melting snow. As a general rule, we do not recommend golf balls as chew toys for any size dog.
If you notice your pet having any of these symptoms or acting abnormal, feel free to give us a call. Our trained staff can help you decide if your pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian. We also have a veterinarian on call for emergencies during non-business hours. For questions, appointments, or emergencies call 218-751-2753.