Things don’t have to be poisonous to pose a life risk to your dog. Corn on the cob is one of such dangers.
Corn on a cob isn’t a good snack or a chew toy. Dogs tend to gulp down the entire thing or large pieces. Unfortunately, corn on a cob will not break down in the stomach and poses a risk of a serious GI obstruction.
Symptoms of GI obstruction include:
- loss of appetite
- diarrhea or straining to defecate
Jade is a three-year-old Doberman. She is an active girl and always works up good appetite. At meal time, she polishes her bowl quickly.
When Jade refused her breakfast, it was highly strange. Later, when she didn’t want to go for a walk either, her dad knew that something was very wrong.
At the veterinarian
The veterinarian examined Jade but other than her dull and dejected demeanor, there wasn’t anything obviously wrong. Jade tensed up when the veterinarian examined her belly. The problem seemed to involve her abdomen but to figure out what was wrong, she needed more diagnostics.
The veterinarian started with blood work. Everything looked in order, other than a vague signs of inflammation. The next least invasive diagnostic were x-rays.
The radiographs showed that Jade’s belly was packed with excess gas. One of the shadow, right in the middle of Jade’s intestine, had a suspicious shape and size. Jade ate something that was now obstructing her GI tract. Whatever it was, it was fully blocking the passage through the intestine.
Full GI obstruction is a life-threatening situation. Jade needed surgery right away. The veterinarian had to make incision into the intestine to remove it. He then thoroughly sewed everything up and gave Jade pain medication.
What was in Jade’s belly?
After JD was resting at her recovery kennel, the veterinarian went back to examine what she swallowed. The object, exposed to digestive juices, was hard to recognize. However, as soon as the vet rinsed it, it became clear what it was—a piece of corn on the cob.
Corn on the cob is a common cause for intestinal obstruction in dogs. Between the appeal of the salty, buttery flavor, and its rough texture that helps it to get stuck, it gets unlucky snackers in the emergency vet frequently.
Because of her dad’s quick action, Jade recovered and returned to her busy, active life. Her dad now does have strict rules about disposing corn on the cob, though.
Potential complications of intestinal obstruction
How dangerous an intestinal obstruction can be depends on several variables:
- the nature of the object
- its size
- where and how long it’s been stuck
- the degree of blockage
Sharp or string-like objects are the most dangerous. They can damage the intestinal wall and allow their content to leak into the abdomen. That leads to life-threatening peritonitis.
Peritonitis is inflammation of the abdominal cavity, in this case, due to severe infection caused by the bacteria that spills out with the intestinal content.
Related reading: Bowel Obstruction and Peritonitis in a Dog: Mort’s Brush with Death
Jade is a 3-year-old Doberman Who Nearly Died
Loss of Appetite in Dogs: Why Did My Dog Stop Eating?