Posted By: Martin - Vet

Gnarly's trip to the seaside

One of the many pleasures of having a dog is taking them out for a good walk.  For some, a weekend off is a chance to visit somewhere new, take the dog and watch them enjoy themselves.   Everyone gets a bit of fresh air and exercise so it’s a good pursuit all round – or that’s certainly the case in most instances!

This was very much the case for Gnarly, the 2 year old black Labrador, and his owners, who one summer’s day took a trip out.  The day was all good fun as his owners watched Gnarly belt around for several hours and when tired made their way back home.  

Gnarly was certainly ready for a good night’s sleep and so everyone assumed a good day was had by all.  However, late that night and into the following day, Gnarly looked distinctly unwell and started to vomit.  As the hours passed he looked a little worse and so his owners brought him to the practice to be assessed.

On the Monday Gnarly was examined and at that point he had vomited multiple times.  He was still bright and alert but just looked a bit sorry for himself.  His illness appeared to have developed following his trip out the previous day and yet, other than jumping in the sea and having a bit of a swim, he hadn’t been seen to do anything abnormal.   As his health check didn’t indicate anything drastically abnormal Gnarly was administered anti-sickness medication and sent home to rest.

The treatment appeared to work and the good news was that Gnarly was no longer being sick.  However, just as with parents and children, owners know their dogs and Gnarly’s owners just knew that something was still not right.  Late on Tuesday night they felt convinced enough that Gnarly was feeling unwell that they phoned for out-of-hours advice.  It was evident that from the conversation that Gnarly was showing signs of discomfort and really required some form of relief before the night was out. We arranged to examine him as an emergency. 

As expected Gnarly looked poorly and indeed appeared uncomfortable in his tummy on this occasion.  He was still generally bright and so we gave him pain relief that enabled him to settle and advised that, unless he was much better the following morning, we should see him back for a blood sample and x-rays.

Despite a good night’s sleep, when we saw Gnarly in the morning he appeared a little dehydrated and so was placed on an intravenous drip and had blood samples taken.  The blood results were generally normal and so we progressed to take x-rays – with Gnarly feeling so sorry for himself he appeared content to lie still for his x-rays without the need for sedation.

The moment the x-ray appeared on the screen the cause of all of his problems became apparent.  In the middle of his abdomen was a circular, dense object that was most likely a pebble.  It appeared that the object had just entered his large bowel and so thankfully was progressing slowly through his intestine.   However, its slow passage had obviously been traumatic on his gut and was causing discomfort.  We wanted to get the offending object out as soon as possible and so Gnarly was administered an enema, walked around the practice and we waited.

It’s amazing the sense of anticipation an event like this can create so the team were delighted to see Gnarly pass a perfectly rounded seaside pebble onto the lawn.   Gnarly was kept in for a few more hours to continue his rehydration before being allowed home to rest up.  The stone had passed through his entire abdomen and so would have caused some considerable bruising and as such his owners were warned that he may seem a little off colour for a day or two whilst this settled.

Gnarly ate his small bland meals and took his medicine well. As expected, after 48 hours, he was back to his normal self.  Indeed, the weekend was approaching and he was probably ready for another long walk on the beach.   However, his owners thought they might let a little more time pass before they tried that again.



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