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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rocky is 110 lbs and almost 6 years old.

This happened about five days ago.

He has been vomiting shortly (2 to 4 hours) after eating every day except today. Drinking water, no problem there.

Took him to my local vet today. X-ray shows an obstruction in the colon (pictures attached). She recommended taking him to a specialist and suggested this might require surgery, which could cost $3,000 to $4,000 (I'm in Los Angeles).

Hoping for a sanity check. Maybe someone has dealt with this before. Thoughts?

She told me they might hydrate him and see what happens and depending on outcome surgery might be necessary. I am concerned that they might see dollar signs and recommend surgery regardless. I'd rather not have him undergo a procedure unless it is truly necessary.

Thanks,

-Martin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm with you. Just checking because my vet didn't seem sure enough. I emailed the xrays to an internist at the specialty 24 hour vet to get their read.

Thanks.
 

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Sorry you had to go through this. Yours is the case that I've dreaded. I've mentioned it several times over the past several weeks/months or so. I had to take mine in to the emergency twice. The vets told me that because I got him in within an hour of him eating the objects that they could just induce vomiting which cost about $125 for the vomiting inducing drugs and the visit itself. They told me if I waited longer than an hour, it would've passed through the stomach into the intestines and then we're talking about thousands of dollars worth of surgery (which you are going through now). And anytime you're opening up intestines, serious infection comes into play.

Some things can pass through their system. Others like your towel and my paracord leash and foam mattress are dangerous because they can soak up moisture and expand in their system and cause blockage.

Anyway, I wish you and your dog well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I had no way to react quickly. We laid down a towel inside during a rainy day (as we do often) and didn't think twice. Didn't notice he ate some of it until we picked it up. He and our other GSD's will sometimes nibble at the corners but nothing like eating a chunk out of it.
 

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My chiropractor malamute ate a towel. Thankfully, he pooped it out... I hope you have similar luck.. Praying it passes without trouble immediately
 

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An obstruction is a very painful, awful way to die. The intestines slowly die, and then the dog does too. Sometimes they vomit up their own feces as the waste builds up and cannot escape the normal way. I want to convey the seriousness of this in the strongest possible terms -- you've got to get moving on this tonight.

If you won't put the dog into surgery to remove it quickly, then the dog probably needs to be in round-the-clock vet care taking xrays every few hours to see if it's moving -- and so that they can operate IMMEDIATELY if it stops moving. The decision to go into surgery needs to be pre-authorized so that the vet can do it without waiting to call and get permission if the situation becomes urgent. Please understand the risk of waiting: yes, it could pass through safely...on the other hand, the dog could die. The vet team has to be empowered to make the decision to operate if things aren't going the way we hope.

When we've dealt with this in the rescue, the vet sometimes does a barium study to watch it moving in these xrays while she's deciding if surgery has to be done. It's always a long, worried night waiting to hear back if it's moving or not.

I've known a few owners whose dogs had to be euthanized during this process because they didn't operate soon enough. It's very important to understand that this situation is life-threatening for your dog and get the vet team working for your dog as early as possible.
 

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My understanding, and I'm not a vet or even a vet tech, is that if the obstruction gets into the colon there is a very good chance (close to 85%) that it will pass on its own.

That being said, as others have pointed out, the situation can get critical very quickly! If your dog isn't at the vet's already, at the first sign of lethargy or any sort of downturn in his demeanor, it is an emergency situation!

Hope that doesn't happen, and the odds are in your favor for a good outcome, but watch closely!
 

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IME, it depends on the size and shape of the obstruction as well as the size and shape/structure of the dog and its' abdomen. Also depends on whether the initial vet was able to get good 'film' at the outset. I'm sure we've all heard/read amusing stories of dogs passing any manner of risky objects with no apparent ill-effects. What we don't hear as often are the heartbreaking stories of dogs that didn't. No one likes to dwell on those, but, without them, you have no measure of the risks that you face.

OP, @Magwart's absolutely right. Obstructions can be an awful experience for the dog and a dreadful way for them to die. I'd stop posting and get the dog to a vet, yesterday.
 

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Thanks. I had no way to react quickly. We laid down a towel inside during a rainy day (as we do often) and didn't think twice. Didn't notice he ate some of it until we picked it up. He and our other GSD's will sometimes nibble at the corners but nothing like eating a chunk out of it.
Yeah, not blaming you. I left mine alone for 20 mins (thought he was sleeping) and found his thick paracord leash in pieces and it didn't look like the original 5 feet of it. Later when the doctors came out of the emergency room, they had a large ziplock bag full of the leash in 1-2 inch long pieces along with vomit. He said the pieces added up to over a foot long. And the pieces looked like they were bigger because they were already soaking up moisture and starting to expand.

The 2nd time I came home and found a significant portion of his crate foam pad was gone and lots of pieces lying around. Went back to the emergency room where they came back with a plastic shopping bag sized bag full of the foam. SMH

Both happened days apart. The vet joked after the 2nd time and said "should we start a tab?" Luckily it hasn't happened since then. We watch him like a hawk and if we can't, he goes in the bare crate even for 3 mins if I have to go to the bathroom or something. My 2 dogs that I've had and have are complete opposites. The previous one could be 100% trusted alone outside of his crate. This one...no.
 

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Did the emergency vet get back to you after seeing the x-rays?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
An obstruction is a very painful, awful way to die. The intestines slowly die, and then the dog does too. Sometimes they vomit up their own feces as the waste builds up and cannot escape the normal way. I want to convey the seriousness of this in the strongest possible terms -- you've got to get moving on this tonight.
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, this is scary.

I spoke to an internist/specialist at the clinic that would conduct the surgery if required. She looked at the x-rays and asked a bunch of questions. The recommendation changed to constant observation and frequent reporting (hourly). Since I work from home I can watch my dogs like a hawk. Rocky stopped throwing up, has pooped a couple of times and is generally happy and active (chasing ball, playing with the other GSD's, etc.). We put him on a very liquid diet to promote hydration, which is supposed to help pass whatever might be in there. If the internist tells me to bring him in I'll be on the road instantly.
 

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Thanks for your feedback. Yes, this is scary.

I spoke to an internist/specialist at the clinic that would conduct the surgery if required. She looked at the x-rays and asked a bunch of questions. The recommendation changed to constant observation and frequent reporting (hourly). Since I work from home I can watch my dogs like a hawk. Rocky stopped throwing up, has pooped a couple of times and is generally happy and active (chasing ball, playing with the other GSD's, etc.). We put him on a very liquid diet to promote hydration, which is supposed to help pass whatever might be in there. If the internist tells me to bring him in I'll be on the road instantly.
Did you dissect his poop? What did it look like? Could you have missed a poop? Did they say anything about adding bulk to his diet like canned pumpkin?
 

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I'm so glad you're able to do hourly check-ins with the internist and have a plan in case things go downhill. I hope you start finding pieces in the poop soon!
 

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what did you eat

My dog Binky ate a whole large bag of charcoal barbecue bricks one day, I called the vet and they said there was nothing they could do(?),call poison control and they said since it was just plain old barbecue brick without lighter fluid Binky should be ok but every thing coming out will be black. Alucard always ate socks and I didn’t know it until it came out. Please keep us updated and your dog will be ok
 

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I had a couple of socks that were ingested by my GSD who was about 2-3 at the time. The only way I found out was when he strained to poop and then I would notice a sock (or a piece of) hanging out of the rear end. Lots of fun pulling it out. Didn't realize how dangerous it could be at the time as I didn't even know it happened until it started coming out. Also had some sturdy balls of long grass that had a tough time coming out once in a while. As I'm not a vet - I can't offer medical advice - listen to their opinion and do what is best for your dog. Get a second opinion of you have to. Good luck - I hope it all works out well!!! Keep us posted....
 

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Some dog owners are lucky to have dogs that seem to be able to digest anything. I am one of those owners. However, I've also seen it go the other way. Had an e-friend with a cardigan with pica. He had several surgeries for ingesting rocks. The owner, who is extremely responsible and experienced, with 30 plus years experience breeding and showing her dogs, THOUGHT she had totally idiot-proofed his run. Alas, he ate part of a plastic plant pot, and the sharp plastic killed him. :crying:

Also saw a very sad case on Dr. Pol where a small black poodle mix got into the neighbour's garbage and ingested a long string, which cut into its intestines. In spite of the vet removing a section of the dog's bowel, the dog did not survive.

But my girl, Star, started out as a puppy eating her bedding. After she destroyed several expensive dog beds, I switched to towels in her crate. She ate those, too. Socks, toys, carpets - you name it! It all went down her gullet, and out the other end. If she ate too large a piece of one of her toys, she MIGHT vomit it back up, but everything else came through without a hitch. She even ate part of one of the straps off Ranger's service dog vest, when I accidentally left it too close to her crate one night! :rolleyes2:

She turned 12 in January, and fortunately, though she still chews up the odd toy, she no longer eats clothing, towels or bedding. Oh, and no soft toys for her....EVER! Despite her cast iron gut, I DO take some precautions!
 
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