June 14, 2010
Dr Janet Tobiassen Crosby posts today on more gastric issues - love the dog bra story below.
I am continually surprised at just what dogs and cats will eat. Pets, especially dogs, love to eat undergarments. Socks, panty hose, underwear, and even bras are common items that can go missing. These items can produce an plug-like obstruction or a linear foreign body.
A linear foreign body acts like a rubberband, bunching up the intestines, ultimately causing many tears and tangles. A good length of string or string-like material rarely passes on its own. The question is... how much was consumed? String-based cat toys, Easter grass and Christmas tree tinsel are all items that should be monitored closely.
If caught early, items that are still in the stomach may be vomited up or retrieved via endoscopy. Items blocking the intestine require surgery. If the tissues are not damaged, items that obstruct can be retrieved by incising the intestine, called an enterotomy. If the tissue is showing damage or death, then it needs to be removed, which is called a resection.
Here are a few cases that offered something "extra" than just the item eaten
Indigestible and toxic
One undergarment that may cause hidden surprises are bras. Not only are they elastic, some have metal or plastic underwires that may cause additional damage to the gastrointestinal tissue. In one reported case, the gel inserts of the bra also caused a secondary toxic reaction, creating additional GI upset.
Hidden extra meaning
While on the topic of underwear, this entry was posted on my About.com site in the "Icky Things Pets Eat" section:
"I worked at an animal hospital and the most memorial case comes to mind. we had a dog come in with GI issues. the vet did a radiograph and he had a bra in his belly (you can tell by the underwires showing up). We did the surgery and put the bra in a zip lock baggie to give the owners. I was going over the bill with them and the doctor walked in the room with the zip lock bag and the wife’s face dropped. Apparently it wasn’t her bra. True story."
— vet employee
From: Not My Bra found here.
Well now. True or not, this story gives pause for thought. Thank goodness the dog was fine at least.
A problem that just gets bigger
The popular home fix-it glue, Gorilla Glue, also causes bigger problems after ingestion, and apparently some pets have a taste for it. The container is small and unassuming, and who would think that a pet would be interested in it? Apparently a few pets wanted to sample some Gorilla Glue. This glue, while not found to be toxic, does harden and expands when ingested, making it difficult to pass normally. Surgery is then required to remove the large hardened mass of glue.
We usually remember (hopefully) to lock up known toxic chemicals and other hazards found around the home and yard. These everyday items prove that you can never be to sure about what will cause a problem for our pets. Keeping a close eye on household items and how our pets are acting and feeling is the best prevention.
Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM trained at Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the Animal Medical Center in New York City, Janet graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 1990. She writes for the About.com Veterinary Medicine site, the VetMed Connect blog and her "for fun" blog, AboutVetMed.com.