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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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Emma

Lois is right. Only Petey knows! Puppies get into all kinds of crazy things. And all kinds of crazy things get into them! I am relieved and so happy for Charesse and her adorable pup.

Charles

out of the crazy things puppies do, this is the craziest thing yet

Teresa

I think it's odd too. Has anyone heard of Munchausen syndrome?

EarlGrayHot

Yes, but there's no evidence this has happened before. It's just one of those odd things animals swallow although if he was running with it that could explain a lot.

sgmaps

I'm sure quite a few of us have heard of that syndrome, but, the catch is that it applies to humans who knowingly injure themselves or expose themselves to a virus to become sick & gain attention/sympathy. I seriously doubt that a 5 month old puppy formed the thoughts necessary to intentionally swallow the toilet brush in order to injure himself/gain attention & potentially cause his own death. Seriously

Slinam

Actually, it's called Munchausen's Syndrom by Proxy, where the 'caretaker' causes the injury to another to gain sympathy and attention.

cathy c

hmmm yes agree
this is odd , the toilet brush totally intact......

evagrzelak@veri...

Who cares why or what it's called. I love pits! I'm so glad Petey's OK!

evagrzelak@veri...

Who cares why or what it's called. I love pits! I'm so glad Petey's OK!

CeCe

Munchausen Syndrome is self inflicted. Munchausen Syndrom by Proxy is harm inflicted by a caretaker, hence the suffix "by proxy". Both are distinct psychiatric disorders.

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