When pets swallow strange objects, the resulting effects can be fatal. Known as “foreign bodies” in veterinary circles, these inedible objects can cause gastrointestinal obstructions or perforate the digestive tract if consumed by pets.
The ASPCA medical team performs surgeries to extract foreign bodies from the stomachs and intestines of canines and felines on an almost daily basis, and one recent patient was a one-year-old pit bull named Frost.
On a recent fall evening, Frost’s owner, Odin Rodriguez, took him for a walk around their Staten Island neighborhood when he noticed something in the dog’s mouth. Odin pulled it out, thinking he had removed it in its entirety, but Frost vomited in the middle of the night. Odin’s wife, Cassandra, says, “The next day there was a bad odor coming from his mouth, so we knew he must have ingested something, and it was still there.”
A solid 83 lbs., Frost is normally spunky and playful. “But he was so lethargic,” adds Cassandra. “We knew something was wrong.”
At a nearby clinic, x-rays revealed a foreign object in Frost’s intestinal tract. The Rodriguezes were referred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where Frost underwent an ultrasound that confirmed the obstruction: a corn cob. Frost underwent a two-hour surgery to remove the dangerous cob.
Veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Hospital say that corn cobs are at the top of the list of foreign bodies consumed by dogs, along with pieces of rubber, pillows, cloth, carpet, and even coins. Stringy items, such as thread, yarn, dental floss and hair bands are more commonly swallowed by cats. In 2013, veterinarians at the ASPCA performed 125 surgeries—like Frost’s—to remove foreign bodies from dogs and cats. Surgeries this year already number 120 and will likely surpass 2013 numbers.
“Dogs especially, but also cats often don’t distinguish between what is tasty and what will actually fit in to their gastrointestinal tracts,” says ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Janice Fenichel, who diagnosed Frost’s condition.
Surgeries like the one Frost underwent can cost thousands of dollars in diagnostic, anesthesia, and fees, so the ASPCA urges pet-parents to protect their pets. During the upcoming holiday season, “dog-“ or “cat-proof” your home to keep potentially damaging objects out of reach. Keep a close eye on what your pet finds appetizing, and cover or empty wastebaskets.
As for Frost, Cassandra says, “he’s back to his old self, doing beautifully,” and keeping busy with the couple’s four children, ages three to 12.
Corn cobs, like this one, can lead to gastrointestinal distress in pets when swallowed.
The holiday season has officially begun, and there’s nothing more wonderful than getting into the spirit of giving. But while you’re going over your shopping list, why not consider giving your loved ones a gift that can truly change lives?
With ASPCA Holiday Honor Gifts, you’ll be able to help abused, abandoned and neglected animals by making a donation in the name of someone you love. It’s easy, it’s tax-deductible, and it’s a wonderful alternative to standard gift giving. And, as an added bonus, each honor gift comes with a free paper greeting card or e-card for your recipient.
A holiday honor gift is the perfect way to express your love for friends, family and furry companions while making a huge difference for animals in need. Send a holiday gift donation today.
The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team (FIR) hit the road in the Lone Star State this week to showcase the new mobile command center’s disaster response equipment and demonstrate how we can help support Texas communities and animals in the wake of natural disasters.
Throughout the week, the Personnel Support Trailer (PST) made special stops at Fort Sam in Houston, followed by visits to the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M University and San Antonio Animal Services to discuss collaborative efforts between the ASPCA and Texas animal agencies in emergency situations.
FIR responders travel across the country to assist animals in situation such as natural disasters, puppy mill raids and dog fighting busts. In the aftermath of disasters, it can often be difficult for FIR team members to find housing near where their help is needed most. The new Personnel Support Trailer offers FIR responders a comfortable, secure place to stay while in the field and greatly enhances our ability to respond to emergencies while helping lower the costs of longer deployments.
Made possible by the generous support of the Joanie Bernard Foundation and the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, the trailer consists of a 53-foot 2012 Western Star Tractor with an attached 12-foot Command Post equipped with state-of-the-art communication capabilities, providing FIR responders with a vital communications portal and secure planning space. The new trailer has space for 12 team members and includes fully functional bathrooms, a kitchen area, an expandable living space and two generators, allowing responders to be completely self-contained for up to one week.
Bruno, pictured right, was rescued by the ASPCA in March 2014
Who could forget the magical movie moment when Little Orphan Annie fell in love with street pooch, Sandy? Many of us fell in love with that scruffy dog, too! We have some good news animal lovers and movie fans: On December 19, Sony's Columbia Pictures will release its contemporary remake of the classic movie-musical “Annie,” in which Sandy is portrayed by a shelter dog! The adorable tan-colored pooch named Marti was actually rescued by an animal welfare organization in Armonk, New York.
To show their continued support for shelter pets, Sony has teamed up with BarkBox, a lifestyle site for dog parents, and the ASPCA to help combat pet homelessness. For every picture posted to Instagram with the hashtag #ImARescueToo and the tag @AnnieMovie, BarkBox, in partnership with Sony, will donate $1 to the ASPCA. You can grab your phone, snap a photo of your favorite rescued pet, post it to Instagram and help raise critical funds for homeless pets! Thanks for supporting animals in need.
More than 120 cats and dogs braved chilly temperatures for free vaccines and microchips during a “Community Pet Party” hosted by the ASPCA and the NYPD’s 49th Precinct on Saturday, November 15 at Bronx Park East in the Bronx, New York.
Longtime Bronx resident Ceferino Miranda was one of the first in line with his Westie, Chiquita, one of three dogs he brought. He found Chiquita in the streets and now cares for five dogs. “I was going to get all their vaccines earlier this month,” said the Vietnam veteran, “but I fell short.”
Pets also received free ID tags, ASPCA fleece blankets, and Halo pet food provided by Freekibble. Some residents also received dog houses.
“For many animal owners, getting basic resources for their pets can be difficult, so we want to do all we can to help, especially as winter approaches,” said Colleen Doherty, manager of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy team, which staffed and promoted the event. New York City’s Office of Emergency Management gave out free flashlights and information on including pets in emergency preparedness plans.
Detective Victor DiPierro of the 49th Precinct said he was glad to see people “taking advantage of these free services.”
One of them, Althea Hall, sat with Dynasty, a nine-year-old Rottweiler with a glistening coat. “She used to be my daughter’s,” said Althea, explaining how she once cared for Dynasty and got attached. “She’s mine now, and I want to do right by her.”
Nearby, Shadow, a five-year-old black cat, poked her head through the top of her carrier, blinking and soaking in the fall sunshine, before hunkering back down. When it was time for her vaccines, siblings Starlyza and Ricco Medina carried Shadow into the ASPCA vehicle designated for cats.