(157) What’s in your Tummy? CTs, Ultrasounds, and MRIs

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

My husband and I visited our favorite Chinese restaurant this week. I grabbed the local Petacular newspaper and we talked about his VA appointments for the following week. He groaned as I reminded him of his upcoming CT, two Ultrasounds, and his MRI.

“I know it might seem like a waste of time,” I said, “but they can see amazing things with these devices.”

He nodded, accepting his fate.

Opening the paper, an x-ray of a dog’s stomach sprawled across the page.

“What’s that?” William pointed at a large cylindrical shape inside the stomach of a dog.

“A flashlight. The article said the Greyhound swallowed a flashlight!” I would have read more at the time but it seemed the discussion would not be well received over piping hot plates of chicken lo mein and spicy pork.

Later that evening, Dr. Laas’s article, “My dog swallowed what. . .?” said that he finds lots of goodies inside the stomachs of pets, using modern imaging technologies, such as radiographs, ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs. Often a veterinarian cannot find the source of an animal’s loss of appetite, vomiting, or other problems. As a Boarded Radiologist, Dr. Laas spent four years of rigorous training after veterinarian school to be able to take advantage of technology to help in these cases. His technology revealed special treats such as wedding rings, fishing hooks, string, tinsel, and small toys inside the stomachs of pets.

Had it not been for the photo of the x-ray, showing the flashlight inside the dog’s stomach, I would not have believed it. Intrigued, I decided to embark on an internet search for other weird things dogs eat. (Warning: Some of these may seriously gross you out! In fact, Miss Molly buried her head when William and I discussed them. Even William winced once or twice.)

Barkpost offered a list that includes contest winners to the most horrifying and impressive things eaten by dogs. This website includes the medical scans and photos of the recovered items for those of you with iron stomachs. Unfortunately, the retrieval of the forbidden snacks almost always required surgery for the pets. In all cases, the website tells of the pet’s full recovery. Here we go:

  • Woof ate five rubber duckies and some miscellaneous items from the baby’s bathtub—not all at once but over several months of bathing so as not to get caught.
  • Marley ate a metal barbeque skewer along with the meat that once adorned the skewer.
  • A three-year old Great Dane ate 43.5 socks. All were recovered after surgery after the dog just lost his appetite one day (and you’ll lose your appetite just looking at the recovered socks).
  • A Golden Retriever ate a light bulb. Fortunately, he passed it without breaking the bulb. (I always knew Golden Retrievers were bright dogs . . . um, maybe not.)

Other finds? Two cups of pea gravel from a turtle aquarium, 104 pennies and a quarter, a 9 x 2 cm pocket knife, nine sewing needles, and a hacky sack.

The internet is filled with stories of their pets’ dangerous snacking. It sends a clear message that we need to pay extra attention to our pets’ eating habits, watching for unusual behaviors. So, if your pet stops eating or starts vomiting or if objects just disappear, consult your veterinarian. If your veterinarian is stumped, head on over to your nearest Boarded Radiologist’s office to get an x-ray, CT scan, or an MRI.

I suppose I’d rather let Molly eat ham off the counter than get into my baking drawer with all of those luscious metal cookie cutters and my Teflon-coated rolling pin.

I must admit, this story made me queasy. Now, I’m worried about what the VA might find in my Veteran’s tummy next week!

Post your Comments:

What is the most unusual thing your pet has eaten? Please reply below. 

Sources cited:

  • Laas, Cody. “My dog swallowed what. . .?” in Petacular, Winter 2015/2016, 5.
  • Shaffer, Griffin. “11 of the Most horrifyingly and impressive things dogs have ever eaten.” Barkpost as retrieved at http://barkpost.com/dogs-eat-strange-things/ on January 6, 2016.

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.