By Dr. John De Jong / Ask the Vet | Sunday, November 18, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Lifestyle

Dear Dr. John,

I am writing to report something that just happened to our family dog this week. I also send it to you with the holidays coming up and the propensity for pets to eat things they shouldn’t. Our cocker spaniel is 8 years old and always likes to get into things, especially outdoors. If we don’t keep an eye on him, he will scarf down any food in his path. We just came back from our vacation home, where we often leave him outdoors unattended thinking he can’t get into trouble there. We were wrong. We got home and he vomited for the next two days, almost immediately after eating anything. Our vet examined him and felt nothing in his belly. He gave him some antibiotics and some pills for intestinal inflammation but suggested that if the problem persisted we take X-rays. He also wisely did not give the dog anything to suppress the vomiting because he did not want to mask the signs if something was wrong. Well, he was right. Another night of vomiting and we went back in for the X-ray, which revealed a piece of bone stuck in his esophagus. He was immediately referred to a large hospital, where he was sedated and an endoscope was used to retrieve the weird-looking bone. The dog is fine, and we just need to watch that he doesn’t again go unattended outside.

C.S.

Dear C.S.,

Your story illustrates why people need to watch what their animals ingest, and during the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, dogs want to get hold of a turkey bone, which can lead to serious problems. Both dogs and cats love to get into decorations, sweets and foods, all of which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and, as in the case of your dog, a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract that may necessitate endoscopic removal or surgical removal of the foreign body. I have removed many funky things from animals’ bowels including socks, balls, squeaky toys, strings, magnets, coins, pacifiers, corn cobs ... the list goes on. Though vomiting can result from a whole range of issues (viruses, eating new or the wrong foods, eating plants or just about anything other than proper foods) it is wise to have it checked out as this case proved. History was important in the diagnosis, so owners of vomiting pets should always be ready to answer questions about what the dog may have gotten into or if there was a change in diet. Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m glad your dog is well.

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