Lottie is a 3.5 year old female Golden Retriever who was presented to Vetwest Wanneroo when her owners noticed a hard lump in her stomach. They reported that she was otherwise well - a typical happy, bouncy Golden Retriever. She was still bright, eating and drinking well and going to the toilet normally.
Lottie was given a thorough physical examination by veterinarian Dr Phil Clark and confirmed to have a firm, hard, non painful lump in her ventral abdomen. Other than the lump, she appeared in perfect health.
Her concerned owners happened to mention that Lottie had eaten a kebab stick several months prior to the lump developing. Given this information and along with the findings from her physical exam, Dr Clark recommended the best course of action for Lottie was to book her directly in for surgery of her abdomen (called an exploratory laparotomy). Surgery would enable visualisation and exploration of her abdomen and ideally allow removal of the lump at the same time.
Lottie underwent surgery the following day. Prior to surgery she had a pre-anaesthetic blood test to ensure her vital organs (such as kidneys and liver) were functioning well. She was also placed on intravenous fluids throughout the surgery to help maintain her blood pressure and help her body manage the anaesthetic.
Dr Kate Radford performed the midline exploratory laparotomy, allowing Lottie’s internal organs to be carefully checked and examined. The cause of the lump was soon identified to indeed be the kebab stick – amazingly it had managed to work its way from the stomach through the stomach wall and into Lottie’s abdomen. The stick was able to be removed in one piece.
Incredibly, Lottie had not shown any signs of illness to this point. However, if Lottie’s owners hadn’t discovered the lump and the stick hadn’t been removed it’s likely it would have resulted in a severe infection and in Lottie becoming seriously ill.
Lottie recovered extremely well after her surgery and her owner’s had to try very hard to stop her from bouncing around like her old self!
Lottie’s case is an unusual one. Most ingested foreign bodies will either pass through uneventfully or get stuck somewhere along the gastrointestinal tract, requiring surgical removal. However there are cases where foreign material (such as popsicle sticks) have done similar things to Lottie’s and have made their way through the abdomen to be absorbed into the bladder.