A DOG AND A BONE
The Story Of Squiggles – An Interesting Case…
Squiggles is an energetic young dog who suddenly couldn’t keep his food down after the Christmas holidays. He would eat hungrily, but within an hour would bring it all back up. X-rays quickly revealed the cause of Squiggle’s problem – a large bone stuck in his throat! The oesophagus is divided into two parts – the cervical or neck portion, and the thoracic or chest portion.
As you can see in the radiograph, the bone NEARLY made it to the stomach (where it would have been harmlessly digested away by the stomach acid), but didn’t quite get there, lodged between the heart and the stomach. Most oesophageal foreign bodies can be removed by one of three ways – we can often times push the bone the rest of the way into the stomach with a tube, which we tried and were unsuccessful with in Squiggles. If the obstruction is near enough to the stomach, sometimes we can perform an abdominal procedure and retrieve the foreign body through the stomach. In Squiggle’s case, however, the bone wasn’t close enough to the stomach to allow this approach to work. And so we were left with the last and most difficult approach of all – a thoracotomy, where we surgically enter the dog’s chest and incise into the oesophagus itself. This is fraught with many potential complications – there’s a beating heart and bellow-like lungs in there, as well and some very important arteries and veins. Happily, in Squiggle’s case the surgery went very well – we retrieved a VERY large leg of lamb that he had happily munched down and the surgery went off without a hitch. Squiggles is now back to himself, trying to eat everything in sight once again!