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Veterinarian Technician April 2011 (Vol 32, No 4)

Final View: A "Heart" of Stone

by Diane Becker, RVT

    Susannah, a 1-year-old West Highland terrier, had endured a rough first year. Just months after being spayed, she required two abdominal exploratory surgeries, 1 month apart, to remove a total of six rocks from her gastrointestinal tract. Even with strict owner supervision and a basket muzzle, 2 months later, Susannah started vomiting, so her owner brought her in immediately, and radiography revealed a surprising, but “lovely,” image (FIGURE 1) .

    An intravenous catheter was placed, and a bolus of crystalloid fluid was administered. Gastrotomy revealed a heart-shaped decorative stone (FIGURE 2) . After surgery, Susannah received pain control medication by constant-rate infusion as well as antibiotics and gastroprotectants. Susannah recovered from this surgery with no complications and was discharged 2 days later.

    Unfortunately, Susannah, now 3 years of age, has since undergone three more abdominal exploratory surgeries and an endoscopic procedure to remove rocks. Fortunately, she has recovered well from all the procedures.

    NEXT: Inside Behavior: Nail Trims Do Not Have to Be "Torture" for Dogs or You

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