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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which is not a small object, but then, a corn cob is food which is the motivation behind the puppy swallowing it.


Dang, that is one feisty pup! Can't imagine just how uncomfortable that must've been for him let alone ingesting it! My chocolate lab puppy had a voracious appetite but Petey takes the cake! Once she swallowed a urinal biscuit & when she pooped blue we figured what had happened~ ha! Only the strong survive!

Patricia Dehler

Lucky dog. Some dogs to swallow strange things. I've seen a video on some very lucky dogs - one even swallowed stones! You just have to watch them. Some are worse then others for putting things in their mouths that don't belong.


Sorry....I can't believe that he just swallowed this thing.
Poor Petey!


I can relate to this, our 2 1/2 yr. old pittie ate a luffa sponge, after eating a wicker table, she had the blockage and ended up with a four hour surgery, wood splinters were embedded in that luffa material as well, wish I could post the pic of what they took out of her tummy!!!


I have to tell you that I totally agree with teresa and "slinam" - I have a pit mix and a german shepherd mix-they get hold of stuff and "chew" the daylights out of everything! The german shepherd mix actually ate part of the liner on the bottom of his crate! I can't imagine this dog "swallowing" a toilet brush WHOLE. Those things are a foot and a half long, maybe 2 - I don't care if he was running with it or not. This case should be looked into - I'm not saying that anyone DID do this - but it should, at the least, be checked out. I just don't get a puppy swallowing that without a chew mark on it...............


I agree with you, I hate to think someone did this intentionally to the dog, but just can't see how its physically possible for a dog to swallow this long an object whole.

Donna Joyner

Someone else who picked up on this fact to which I responded. Indeed, Petey would naturally have chewed before or even while trying to swallow the object. I'm glad he was helped and very thankful to the doctors, but believe me it looks like foul play took place.


And you don't think the ASPCA already did? Seriously? The number one national organization dedicated to preventing animal cruelty. No clearly you must be smarter and more caring than them...I'm sure they never thought of that. smh.. If they had found any evidence of cruelty this would be a different story.

C. Wallace

I personnaly do not believe that dog swallowed that brush. Something doesn't seem right here.
It should be thoroughly investigated.