The individuality of Dog Symptoms: A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another—Jade’s Story

There are dogs who are picky eaters and turning down one meal won’t get you reaching for the car keys. There are dogs who might have a chronic condition, such as Jasmine did, and refusing a meal every now and then just meant that her inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was acting up.

With most dogs, though, walking away from a full bowl is a big red flag.

Individuality of Dog Symptoms: A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another—Jade's Story

Jade is a young, vibrant Doberman. Active and always hungry. When one morning she refused her breakfast, it was a big red flag.

Jade is three years old, and this has never happened before.

You can still assume that something didn’t agree with her and that once she gets it out of her system, she’ll bounce right back. One turned-down meal may or may not send you to a veterinarian.

Then, however, Jade didn’t want to go for her regular walk either.

Any one of these things would have had Jade’s dad concerned but two? Something was seriously wrong. Jade’s dad did not hesitate and brought her to a vet right at that moment.

During an examination, Jade did look dull and dejected, but there were no apparent clues as to why.

Her abdomen seemed uncomfortable, but that could be caused by a number of different problems.

Blood work didn’t show much out of the ordinary either, except generic clues of inflammation.

How likely, at this point, would your vet be to send you back home with “some stomach medication” to see what happens?

How likely would you be to follow that recommendation? In how many cases, say out of a hundred, do you think that would be a good thing to do?

Jade’s veterinarian, fortunately, continued to look for a definite explanation.

He took Jade for x-rays. Jade’s intestine was much fuller of gas than would be normal and in the middle of all that there was a suspicious shadow, measuring about 3 x 5 cm.

Jade’s intestine was fully obstructed by something she has eaten but shouldn’t have.

Jade needed immediate surgery. The offending object was wedged in place so firmly, her intestine had to be cut just to get it out.

Naturally, it’s extremely important to suture everything water-tight to avoid any leakage of the intestinal content; otherwise, you’d be looking at the danger of life-threatening peritonitis. This could happen days following the surgery. Jade’s veterinarian did a meticulous job, though.

What was the object blocking Jade’s intestine?

Corn on the cob. Believe it or not, corn on the cob is one of the most common causes of obstruction in dogs. This stuff does not digest, and the shape and rough surface seem ideal for plugging things completely.

Jade has recovered fully.

But she also might have died. The only clue her dad had was one skipped meal, and one skipped the walk.

Know your dog, seek answers. And keep corn cobs away from your dog.

Read Jade’s original story here.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Loss of Appetite

Categories: ConditionsLoss of appetiteObstructionsReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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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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