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Rufus and the broken glass

By Dr HELEN BURNS BVSc (Hons) | Dated October 7, 2017

Last week Rufus’s family were away, enjoying the school holidays and Rufus was left in the care of his lovely house sitter. While she was preparing dinner for Rufus’ cat-sister, Puss Puss, the glass jar fell and broke. Now we all step into overdrive when there is broken glass on the ground, but Rufus really hot footed it, and in the blink of an eye had cleaned up the broken glass with its cat food coating. With the help of some sedation and abdominal x-rays, we could see that he had indeed eaten shards of broken glass, and they were sitting in his stomach.

The shards of glass clearly visible

Being a very happy Labrador who really loves life, Rufus wasn’t bothered in the slightest about the broken glass in his tummy, but he was the only one. Despite that, we were hopeful that the glass would pass along his intestines, coated in soft food. So, for 48 hours, Rufus was treated like a king, offered soft, delicious food and lots of it. Follow up x-rays showed that much of the glass was moving through and on Thursday during his morning ablutions, brave Rufus passed most of the glass. Unfortunately, it was most and not all of the glass. X-rays showed that 2 large pieces remained back in his stomach and were not budging. They were too large to pass through the narrow connection between the stomach and his small intestine.

The glass from Rufus’ stomach

Unfortunately, endoscopy wasn’t an option because trying to grab and drag sharp shards of glass through the narrow muscular connection between his stomach and oesophagus, and then up his oesophagus would be too dangerous. So, into surgery Rufus went. Finding shards of glass in a Labrador’s stomach was very much like finding a needle in a haystack, but we found them and removed them. Post op x-rays revealed he was now glass-free. Continuing the strong-as-an-ox Labrador trait, just 30 minutes after his surgery was finished, Rufus was up and going for a little walk, probably to look for food to fill his now empty stomach!
For now, Rufus needs to rest and recuperate, and hopefully he will be more discerning with his appetite in the future.

Written by Dr HELEN BURNS BVSc (Hons)

Helen graduated from Sydney Uni in 1997 with First Class Honours and worked in a practice on the Northern Beaches for 16 years. Helen joined the Gordon Vet team early in 2014 and our clients have really enjoyed getting to know her. She loves being a vet and takes a keen interest in all of her patients. Her gentle, friendly nature helps pets to feel relaxed when they visit the vet. Helen lives locally and has 3 children. At least one of her children seems destined to be a vet! When not ferrying her children around, Helen cares for her menagerie of pets. These include Chloe the dog, Obi and Leia the cats, Little Cocky the galah and Rosie the very tame eclectus parrot who all happily coexist at her house. In her spare time, Helen likes to be active outdoors, running, kayaking, camping or playing any manner of sport with her children.

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