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 thought I saw a pair of glasses in the x-ray too. Does anyone else see them? If they're not glasses (bottom right of x-ray - two round black circles) then what are they (is that)?????

Pat P.

I just don't believe that the puppy swallowed a large toilet brush whole. If it was chewed up, perhaps, but intact--no way! It would take immense force to stretch his stomach so much. Puppies chew up things, not gulp down a hard plastic brush that size. His swallowing reflex would have to be super-extraordinary. If there is something amiss here, it will probably be swept under the rug, unfortunately.


You are absolutely right ! That brush was shoved down that puppy's throat...just think about how he would have done that....there is no my opinion. Many questions need to be asked and I sure hope the ASPCA take up the cause for this dear puppy..since I'm sure he will be left alone with that other person time will be worse ! You could not c0onvince me that that pup did that himself !

Carol J.

There is absolutely no way that dog would have swallowed that on his own. I once had a poodle and while I was out, a relative who was visiting told me he had swallowed a bungee cord!! He was only a tiny puppy and no way could he have done that. I later found out that that relative absolutely hated the dog and I was then sure that he forced the bungee cord down his throat. My son luckily was able to get it out by carefully maneuvering the metal piece and pulling out the cord which was half-way down his throat. He didn't need surgery, thank heavens. The relative never came back again, so I knew he was up to no good. I would say the case of the puppy swallowing the toilet brush is just as suspicious and should be thoroughly investigated. I believe someone shoved it down that poor dog's throat!


i believe that something is fishy here and that the dog has met with foul play - this is unreal and seems physically impossible when you look at the object itself and the scale of it compared to the dog.


Im sure the ASPCA, the number one organization in the US dedicated to preventing animal cruelty, never thought of that. You all 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 just don't understand how this lovely boy swallowed anything so long and hard!!! it should choke him just inches in?! Strange enough, his master did not even notice the toilet brush disappear??

Keith G

Can I just say one thing to the dog? Petey, you are a knucklehead!!


Why is it She didn't take him sooner, with all the weight loss and such?



I'm so glad for Petey and Charesse that Petey is recovering. He is so handsome. But why when Charesse was visiting, didn't she take Petey with her. If my dog is not welcome at someone's home, then I don't go.