Canine Intestinal Foreign Body: Jade’s Almost Deadly Snack

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
  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or straining to defecate
  • lethargy
Canine Intestinal Foreign Body: Jade's Almost Deadly Snack

Jade’s story

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.

Jade’s diagnosis

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.

Emergency surgery

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.

In closing

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

Source story:
Jade is a 3-year-old Doberman Who Nearly Died

Related articles:
Loss of Appetite in Dogs: Why Did My Dog Stop Eating?

Further reading:
Can Dogs Eat Corn on the Cob?
Dogs and Picnic Dangers

Categories: Dog health advocacy

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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