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CASE OF THE MONTH: A stomach full of gravel

Spencer is a 30-pound Corgi. He was brought in because he had vomited some gravel the night before. When I palpated his abdomen where the stomach sits, I could feel a LOT of gravel in his stomach.

We took X-rays, and saw his entire stomach was full of gravel.

There was no way that much gravel could pass through his intestines without causing a lot of damage, so we decided to go in surgically and remove it. Thankfully his owner brought him in quickly, so he was not yet dehydrated and didn't have any of the problems that go along with that.

Strangely enough, the best instrument to scoop out all the tiny pieces of gravel was a regular spoon that had been sterilized! It took about an hour of 'gravel scooping' to remove all the stones. The total surgery took about 2 hours, much of it spent just gently scooping out gravel.

Happily, everything went great, Spencer recovered without any complications. We was able to walk outside only hours after the surgery was finished. He went home the next day like nothing had happened! Corgis are tough little dogs.

Turns out, he had eaten the gravel because it was under the outdoor grill, and some grease had dripped on it.

His new nickname is Pebbles!

(In the pictures: Left: Xrays of Spencer's stomach full of pebbles when he came in the clinic. Right: Spencer two weeks later, appearing fine.)

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