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Veterinarian Technician May 2013 (Vol 34, No 5)

Final View: Buddy’s Binge

by Kristy Campbell, VT

    Buddy—a 2-year-old, neutered chocolate Labrador retriever—presented with a swollen abdomen and general discomfort. Buddy had not vomited but showed signs of nausea (i.e., drooling and retching). According to the owner, Buddy had a history of eating socks. On examination, the patient’s abdomen was distended and nonpainful, but we suspected the presence of gastric dilatation–volvulus. We obtained radiographs (FIGURE A), which showed the stomach to be markedly distended, possibly with a large amount of foreign material. No torsion was noted.

    marked distention

    Figure A. A radiograph of the stomach showing marked distention, possibly with a large amount of foreign material.

    The patient was transferred to the local emergency clinic, where induction of vomiting produced 2 lb of undigested kibble. Further radiographs suggested that another 4.2 L of material (approximately 8 lb of kibble) remained in the stomach. Buddy was hospitalized and given oral gastrointestinal lubricants. At this point, the owner mentioned that Buddy had “gotten into” his food bag at home.

    The following morning, radiographs showed a 30% reduction in Buddy’s stomach diameter and the presence of fecal material and gas in the small intestine. Buddy was released with a prescription for ranitidine and strict feeding restrictions for 1 to 2 days. The owner was informed that Buddy’s stool might be soft for 1 to 2 days. If it persisted longer or vomiting occurred, the owner was told to take Buddy to the emergency or regular clinic.

    NEXT: Genetic Testing for Exercise-Induced Collapse in Labrador Retrievers

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