Franklin Vets Blog

Gunther swallowed a rock

September 25, 2019

Gunther is a happy boisterous 6-month-old spaniel cross puppy. It’s normal for puppies to explore with their mouths. Occasionally they will pick up something that is not meant to be digested, swallow it and then this can end up causing serious problems.Gunther who swallowed a rock

Gunther wasn’t seen to swallow the rock. In fact, there aren’t any rocks like this in his garden so where it came from is a mystery. But pretty soon afterwards he developed symptoms. On presentation to the clinic, he was a very sad puppy and was vomiting frequently. Initially, he was treated for an upset tummy but came back later in the day feeling worse. At this second visit, the offending foreign body was able to be felt when his tummy was palpated, although at that time we didn’t know what it was.

puppy swallowed a rock

The rock in Gunther’s small intestine

An x-ray clearly showed the rock in his small intestine.

Puppies will deteriorate rapidly with a blocked intestine and this needs treatment as quickly as possible.
Gunther had surgery immediately to remove the rock. He recovered quickly after surgery, eating that night, much happier in himself and had no more vomiting. He went home the next day on a special diet and is continuing to recover from this experience.

One of the worries for Gunther’s parents is that he may well do this again. Unfortunately, puppies don’t seem to learn from these experiences. It is common to have the same dog coming back to the clinic for the same issue multiple times. So the challenge is to try to ensure that he and his environment are carefully monitored. The good news is that puppies do usually grow out of doing this.

Dr Nick Twyford BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Dogs)