Big Bear Award – Rocky

schnauzerRocky’s Story

Rocky, a 16 week old black and white Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle cross), had only been with his new family since Christmas when disaster struck in early February. He was a clever puppy and was settling into his new home well. Although his family were constantly trying to stop him chewing tempting items like toys and clothing, he was always up to mischief!

Very early one morning Rocky woke up his owners to go outside to the toilet. After a small treat to reward his excellent toilet training he looked suddenly ill and began to vomit. Again at breakfast time he vomited several times and he also seemed quite flat.

Rocky was brought straight to the Vet4life clinic for assessment of his vomiting. 

On arrival, Alex the vet was delighted to see such a gorgeous Schnoodle puppy (Rocky looks similar to her Australian Labradoodle Max!). She was, however, very concerned about Rocky’s health.

On examination Alex found that Rocky had tacky gums – an indication of dehydration. He was also very quiet for a normally bouncy puppy. When palpating his abdomen he reacted painfully, shying away. Concerningly, Alex could feel a firm 2 cm object present in Rocky’s intestines.

Rocky was admitted to hospital and placed on intravenous fluids to support his circulation and correct the dehydration. Pain relief was also given to make him more comfortable. X-rays were taken under a mild sedation to further investigate. The abdominal X-rays confirmed the presence of, not one, but two foreign objects visible in his intestines:

foreign-bodies-abdominal-xrayAn investigative abdominal surgery, called an exploratory laparotomy, was urgently required to inspect Rocky’s intestines with an aim to remove the foreign objects.

Rocky was fully anaesthetised for the surgery. A large incision was made into Rocky’s abdominal wall to inspect his internal organs. Two foreign objects were found to be located in separate sites along the small intestine. Despite being very inflamed, the intestinal tissue looked good and healthy. The foreign objects were beginning to cause an obstruction of the small intestine. If the objects were not removed immediately from Rocky’s intestines they would potentially lead to severe injury of the small intestinal wall and consequently infection and obstruction of the intestines – all life threatening complications.

The objects were carefully removed by performing an enterotomy, which is a small incision into the intestinal wall. Two separate enterotomies were required as the two objects were located far apart inside the small intestine. The rest of Rocky’s abdominal contents were also inspected and found to be healthy. Rocky’s incision was then closed and he was recovered from his anaesthetic.

Rocky woke up excellently from his anaesthetic. He had to remain in hospital for another 24 hours to continue intravenous fluids, antibiotics and pain relief.

The next day he was bright, comfortable and ready to go home. Rocky had done amazingly well for a young puppy who had undergone such a major surgery!

When it was time to go home the two objects were presented as evidence to his owners. His owners recognised the offending objects – they were 2 foam toys missing from their children’s room! Unbeknown to his owners Rocky had snuck into the children’s room the evening before he became unwell to secretly play with their toys! It was fortunate that Rocky has such attentive and caring owners, who noticed quickly that Rocky was unwell, meaning that the obstruction was diagnosed early, avoiding any major injury or illness.

Rocky is now back to being 100% and his family are very vigilant to prevent access to the kids’ rooms and foreign bodies so that history won’t be repeated!

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Ian Stroud

Veterinary Surgeon at Vet4life
Ian Stroud is a highly experienced small animal veterinary surgeon with over 15 years working in practice. He has particular interests in several areas including minimally-invasive surgery, orthopaedics and oncology (cancer treatment). He currently practices in Teddington, Shepperton and Surbiton where he is the director of Vet4life.
Ian Stroud

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