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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L. O'Callaghan

Gina, you gave me a good laugh, of course, only possible because this sweet dog is going to be fine. I have heard of a dog eating a couch, but a toilet bowl brush!!! Ye gads.


aint a damn bit funny. this baby could have DIED.


Wow lighten up! Life is miserable without being able to laugh at it.


Thank god for the ASPCA because you have a program that helps people pay for surgery that they need poor thing so glad you where there to help


OMG I can't believe he actually swallowed that brush thats crazy !!I'm so glad hes ok !!


It is so wonderful things like this can be taken care of, bless all of you, hang in there Petey, get well soon.


Oh Petey! bad doggie you!! :) what a CUTIE! glad he is okay!! and big applause to the staff at the hospital!


Thank God the owner took Petey to the vet before it was too late. This is crazy to even believe Petey could get the entire handle and brush down his throat. What agony. Once again ASPCA is our Angel. As we 'child' proof our homes for two legged beings we all need to remember to do the same thing for our four legged kids :).

La Marca Monique

Poor nice little one! a great thanks to the people who saved him.


My son's dog, also a puppy, had to have surgery to remove a corn cob.