Max the Sock Eater

 
Max is an 11 year old Labrador who was staying in kennels while his owners were away on holiday. He had been in the kennels several days, when he became unwell. He refused his breakfast (which was very unlike him- typical Labrador!!) and vomited. The kennels brought him in for a check-up.
On examination he was bright and his temperature and heart rate were normal. His tummy was relaxed and non-painful, but he was quite dehydrated. We admitted Max for some intra-venous fluid therapy and to treat suspected gastroenteritis. He was happy and wagging his tail constantly and ate his food when offered. We ran some blood tests which were all normal.
Later in the day he was sick again and this prompted us to do some further investigation (despite him still looking remarkably well). An x-ray of his abdomen showed a large fluid filled stomach and some of the small-intestines were distended with gas.
These signs were suspicious of a blockage in the intestines preventing food passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Most commonly this is caused by a foreign body (something that the dog shouldn’t have eaten), but because of Max’s age we were more worried about a tumour on the intestines. Max’s owners said that he used to eat silly things as a youngster, but didn’t anymore.
We decided that we needed to anaesthetise Max to perform an exploratory laparotomy (to have a look inside his abdomen) and see if it was something that could be surgically fixed or worse news. During the operation we discovered a thick sports sock that had become lodged in his small intestine. This was removed by making a small incision in the intestine, which was then sutured closed.
Max felt much better after the offending article had been removed, but goes to show some dogs never grow up!!