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)

Add new comment




Munchausen Syndrome is self inflicted. Munchausen Syndrom by Proxy is harm inflicted by a caretaker, hence the suffix "by proxy". Both are distinct psychiatric disorders.


Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy are two different illnesses. The by proxy added to it is the caretaker (almost always mom). I doubt either is appropriate to apply to pets, but I am not an expert on the subject.

cathy c

yes I thought that, a very weird accident, usually pups chew an item then swallow because they like to chew and destroy then swallow, have a pit bull mix with severe issues when I first got him from a shelter and he chewed then swallowed as I found bits in his poo....

Christie Wagner

I agree. There's no way that puppy or even a large dog could have swallowed that himself. The brush is about 8 times--800%--larger than his esophagus. It would take great force to jam it down his throat. Most likely explanation is that the owner, Cheresse , had a boyfriend or child who got angry at the poor little dog and rammed the toilet brush down little Petey's throat.

The perpetrator very likely lied to Cheresse that they had no idea how this happened or Cheresse found out and is covering up for the animal cruelty. Fecal bacteria are some of the most dangerous in the world so I hope the little guy received enough antibiotics to cure it.

Donna Joyner

I agree. It was too long to go down by itself. Just the handle going down and into his throat would have been a strangling, choking sensation that would have forced him to have gagged it out. NO ... somebody was not having a good Christmas and took it out on Petey.

Doris Carman.

Not so odd. We have a lab mix that gets into anything.plastic bottles every shape and size, pig,horse and cow, whatever he can find and now hes grown and taller we really need to watch him.


You mean maybe the owner of the dog shoved it down the dogs throat for attention? I would hope not but there are some really sick people out there!


interesting comment on the munchausen syndrome. Amazing it didn't perf the bowel. That is a crazy long brush and for it to only go to the stomach...then the dogs esopahgus is longer than a humans. Also note the woman on the left is smart enough not to shove her face in the dogs face. That dog does not look comfortable nor relaxed and Im not ragging on the pitbull cross. Just stating body language facts


I too am glad Petey is ok. my thoughts were same as yours, how in the world did he swallow this thing as long as it is. first thought would be the gag factor when swallowing and out it would possibly come before the entire thing was ingested. I too had the same thoughts as you that someone shoved it down his throat. From the stories I read about evil folks mistreating animals there are low lifes that would do such a thing. I think she needs to keep a close eye on Petey especially when others are around him. Makes no sense, maybe I am missing something here, but, a dog would and could swallow an item 15 inches long like this.

Gina Morgan

Gives an all new meaning to Potty Mouth....