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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I'm sure the ASPCA, the number one national organization dedicated to preventing animal cruelty, never thought of that. Obviously, you're smarter and more caring than them. smh.. If they had found any evidence of cruelty this would be a different story.

Lynda Ehrich

Having had three really fantastic pitties...only a pit puppy could manage to do this, and only a pit puppy could survive it!

Shirley Turner

I think this is the strangest dog swallowing story I have ever read. Thanks to a great staff of doctors and assistants Petey will have a long happy life.


I find it weird that no one at the ASPCA hospital sees any of this as a potential red flag.


what concerns me as well is it states she 'rushed' him to the vets...but goes on to say that she waited days I believe as the dog was described as severly dehydrated and 'skinny'. So how long did she wait? I hate to sound so negative with such a great outcome...but just cant see how this doesnt raise all sorts of red flags


Im sure the ASPCA, the number one organization in the US dedicated to preventing animal cruelty, never thought of that. You must be so much smarter and more caring than them.
Im quite sure that if they had found any evidence of cruelty this would be a different story.


I'm sure they asked the appropriate questions. Kids of any kind put all sorts of strange things in their mouths, usually not this but who knows what goes through a little ones head. I'm glad Petey is going to be okay.

Sally Eskander

WOW that is crazy how did he get it down omg im in shock thank god that beautiful baby is okay.


I thought I'd seen nearly everything a dog will eat, but this beats it all! So glad the patient is recovering. Honestly, this incident is one for the books.....