Helping Sasha Overcome A Foreign Body

February 16, 2022

On November 18, 2021, Helen M., a 61-year-old resident of Manhattan, was awakened by her dog, Sasha, yelping in pain.

Having used the ASPCA Animal Hospital services for her other dogs, Helen phoned the ASPCA and secured an appointment for later that day.

Sasha, a fox terrier-mix who had given birth to a litter of puppies a month before, was now “practically unwilling to walk,” says Dr. Daniela Gilbert, an ASPCA veterinarian who examined and treated Sasha.

An X-ray soon revealed the source of the problem: A screw was lodged in Sasha’s stomach.

Common Foreign Bodies in Pets

In 2021, veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Hospital performed 105 surgeries to remove foreign bodies from animals. In 2020, they performed 114.

Corn cobs top of the list of foreign bodies consumed by dogs. Other items discovered in canines include pieces of rubber and plastic, coins and textiles like pillows, cloth and carpet fragments. Stringy, linear items like thread, yarn, dental floss and hair bands are more commonly swallowed by cats.

Though no one knows the exact source of the screw, Dr. Gilbert says it could have come from a piece of furniture, and as Sasha started to play with it, she accidentally swallowed it.

The ASPCA urges pet parents to “dog-” and “cat-proof” their homes to move potentially dangerous objects out of reach, keep a close eye on what pets find appetizing and cover or empty wastebaskets.

Covering Costs

Sasha qualified to have her veterinary services paid for through the One ASPCA Fund, a program that helps keep pets and their people together by making it easier for pet owners to access veterinary care.

Dr. Gilbert surgically removed the screw from Sasha’s stomach, as well as some foreign plastic material. She was also spayed.

“We noted some abnormalities with her uterus during surgery, so that could have contributed to her not feeling well,” says Dr. Gilbert.

The hospital staff also advised Helen on how to help Sasha with her seven pups, who have since been placed in new homes.

By the time of her discharge from the hospital, Sasha’s discomfort had improved significantly, and she was able to walk pain-free.

Grateful to the ASPCA

Helen is very familiar with the ASPCA’s range of services.

“Miracle is 17 years old,” says Helen of her other dog. “She had a tumor removed by the ASPCA, and that saved her life. “And thanks to the ASPCA, my Blackie, another dog, lived to be 19.”

With Sasha back to her old self, Helen is grateful.

“Because of the ASPCA’s great work, I’m able to love and enjoy all the dogs in my life,” Helen adds. “I owe the lives of all my dogs, past and present, to the ASPCA.”