Logan is a small Chihuahua Cross who is a patient at Vetwest Clarkson. He was rescued from a dusty road in Geraldton and adopted by his owner from an animal shelter. Like many cross-breed dogs he grew into a healthy adult, although being so small of stature and very boisterous many passers-by enquire how old is the ‘puppy’. Sure, he came with his share of cosmetic issues – a kinked tail and ‘Harry Potter’ type scar on his forehead, but these problems were only skin deep and added to his character, and his owners love him.
Then it came to his first summer in Perth. A neighbour’s large Cocos Palm started fruiting and dropping its tasty treats over the fence. Logan was beside himself with delight, always keen to inspect new things he found in the garden, especially these tasty sweet soft fruits.
The fruits are eaten by birds and some mammals and consist of a hard nut surrounded with a thin layer of fibrous flesh that is orange and sticky when ripe. His owners found a lot of the round nuts passing in Logan’s faeces, but as quickly as they could pick the fruits from the ground, more would drop from the sky and Logan would pounce on them.
Then one morning, Logan didn’t want to come out of his kennel. When offered breakfast he refused to eat it. He drank a little water but then vomited it up. He seemed very uncomfortable so he was taken to Vetwest Clarkson where Dr Ben Trotter attended to him. Dr Ben was able to palpate a largish and firm spherical object within Logan’s intestine, which was painful when touched and caused Logan to retch.
Logan’s owners suspected that one of the palm nuts had got stuck, and they were right. But rather than being a fresh moist and slippery nut from the current season’s crop of fruits, this would turn out to be an old dried and mummified stone from the previous year which Logan had dug up from the garden. It was so large and dry that it would not slide through the intestines.
Dr Ben evaluated the options for treating Logan’s pain and nausea, and he was given an injection to offer pain relief. Logan was then taken into surgery where an exploratory laparotomy was performed. This meant that Logan’s abdomen was investigated through an incision made along the midline. The nut was found lodged in the small intestine and removed by an enterotomy (an incision made into the intestine). No further nuts or other problems were found, and after sutures were placed and the wounds flushed clean, Logan made a rapid and complete recovery. He was even eating a special dinner that same night.
Logan is doing well after his recent surgery, although he still looks to the sky waiting for the next manna from heaven to fall. His owners are happy to have him back to his old ways, as long as that doesn’t include digging up old dry nuts from the garden! And did I mention who Logan belongs to? Well, he happens to be Dr Ben’s dog.