Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good corn cob smothered in salt and butter? Apparently, Pretzel, a very young golden retriever, is a huge fan. Here’s her story.
About a week ago, Pretzel stole a corn cob off a plate of food when no one was looking. She’s sneaky. The next day she threw up a piece of it, and then she was great! She ate readily, played with her toys, had normal bowel movements, and no more vomiting. She was living her best life. Out of nowhere, over a week later, Pretzel vomited up another piece of corn cob. Then the vomiting happened again…and again.
Here’s the thing about corn cobs. As delicious as they are, they are very dangerous for dogs. They can be too big to travel through the intestines and out the colon. So they sit in the stomach and float around, occasionally blocking the entry into the small intestines. This can be troubling. These patients usually act normal. They eat fine and use the bathroom regularly. Client’s often do not even know something is wrong.
Other times they are small enough to pass through into the intestines. This is very scary. The sharp edges of the chewed-up corn cob can perforate through the intestinal wall as it passes through and usually gets stuck. If perforation occurs, intestinal contents leak into the abdomen, and this becomes a medical emergency! These patients can become very sick, and if not treated right away or appropriately, it can be fatal.
We did radiographs and had trouble seeing the corn cob. Given that she continued to throw up, and pieces of it were coming up, we knew we had no choice but to take her to surgery. Luckily for our girl Pretzel, the corn cob was floating in the stomach, and there were no pieces found in the intestines. She had a very successful surgery, and she is doing so well!
It is amazing how strong our pets can be and how they can act completely normal when something serious happens. Monitoring your pets at home and giving your veterinarian a thorough history is super helpful. These clients were very diligent, and even though we didn’t see the corn cob on radiographs, we knew what we had to do with their help. Hopefully, Pretzel will stay away from this delicious treat in the future. Enjoy life, Pretzel!
– Dr. Carlen Ledain