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Puppy Swallows Toilet Brush, Recovers at ASPCA Animal Hospital

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 4:00pm
x-ray of dog that swallowed toilet brush

Charesse W. calls her five-month old pit bull mix, Petey, her “miracle dog” for good reason. On Christmas Day, Charesse left her Brooklyn apartment to spend time with family. Petey stayed behind, and when Charesse returned a few hours later, nothing seemed amiss. In the days that followed, however, Petey grew very sick. He stopped eating and drinking, and his weight declined rapidly.

Charesse rushed Petey to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he received care through the ASPCA’s Trooper Fund—a program in place to cover medical costs for animals whose guardians need assistance with veterinary expenses.

Veterinarian Dr. Juline Holland noted that Petey was severely dehydrated and thin, and she could feel a tubular object extending the length of his abdomen. She stabilized Petey before sending him to radiology, where she was shocked by his radiographs. This small pup had swallowed something strange. Doctors and nurses gathered around the X-ray, studying a long, thin object that extended almost the entire length of Petey’s body.

Petey needed emergency surgery—foreign objects, especially one so large, can cause severe damage to the throat, stomach or intestines if swallowed. The resulting complications can be fatal.

Dr. Yvonne Kline, along with Dr. Marisa Altieri, performed surgery on Petey, and what they found in his the abdominal cavity was astounding. It turned out to be a toilet brush, approximately 15 inches long! The brush end was stuck in Petey’s esophagus, while the handle stretched his stomach to several times its normal length.

ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Yvonne Klinewith Petey and Charesse
ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Yvonne Kline (left) with Petey and Charesse (right)  

The doctors considered pushing the brush from Petey’s stomach, but it was lodged tightly in his throat. The only other option was to make a small incision into the stomach and extract it. They did so, and gently removed the brush.

“It was the one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen in veterinary medicine and the strangest surgery I have ever performed,” Dr. Kline says. 

The next day, Petey was eating again, and staff noticed how affectionate he was. Petey is taking medicine to relieve gagging symptoms and eating multiple meals a day to gain weight. 

After days and sleepless nights spent worrying about Petey, Charesse was immensely relieved. Her “miracle dog” is working on one important New Year’s resolution: not to swallow anything larger than dog kibble, or maybe the occasional treat!

Marcus Graham, ASPCA senior animal care technician with veterinarian Dr. Yvonne Kline
Marcus Graham, ASPCA senior animal care technician (left) with veterinarian Dr. Yvonne Kline (right)

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Carlee

Wow, that's crazy!! I don't understand how such a straight and hard object fit in his intestines!! Poor baby <3 Glad he's okay now!

Lauren

The brush didn't make it into the intestines (at least not according to the story and the radiographs). The bristles were stuck in the esophagus with the handle protruding into the stomach.

Heather

From the x-ray and story it looks like the handle was in his throat and the brush end in his stomach.

lanita

yes it does

KK

Nope. The story states, "The brush end was stuck in Petey’s esophagus, while the handle stretched his stomach to several times its normal length." That's also what the X-ray seems to show. Front is left, back is right.

marsha

you can see the brush part in the esophagus and the handle end toward the stomach

faith

this is just awsome

Marisa

This is one amazing dog!

Emma

Wow, this is strange. I am so relieved that the dog is fine and recovering. I can't imagine how he swallowed such a shaped thing. Is Charesse sure that someone didn't shove the stick down the dog's throat? I can't imagine that either. I am so relieved that the sweet dog is recovering and that Charesse is relieved and happy, too, to have her Petey back. Her smiling face says it all.

lois747

he's a puppy, maybe he was running with it in his mouth. only he knows.

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