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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So Glad Petey is ok. Thank God!! And thanks to the amazing Vet and staff for performing surgery on Petey. God Bless you all!!


I can't believe such an unyielding object was able to swallowed that way. I am very familiar with this as my cat has swallowed many things including about 25 hair elastics that required surgery as well. As of late he has been vomiting rubber bands, hair ties (again) and pieces of headbands as well as the hairy fibers his toy is made from...what in the world are we to do with these furry trouble makers?!

Chris Redfield

Oh my God.

Concerned Dog Owner

dogs aren't stupid, even puppies understand how to eat. I am concerned there was foul play with this puppy and the owner isnt telling the whole story. dogs wont eat something like this whole, they will try to chew it and break it into pieces. yes they often eat things whole but not anything like this. Also, puppies should be crated while your gone so that they dont get themselves into trouble. We talk about how people should train their dogs so they dont attack others but we also need to train dogs so they dont hurt themselves. It's neglect. not everyone should have a pet.

annie oakley

sounds a bit strange-almost sounds like someone took the brush by the handle and shoved it down his throat-is there any way to investigate this-I would have never thought of this years ago, but there is so much cruelty in today's world, that anything is possible!