Is That Mystery Dog Illness A Blockage?

mystery dog illness vet looking at xray

That mystery dog illness sometimes becomes painfully clear after Aquamation or water cremation.

Because Aquamation uses an alkaline water method versus ferocious heat, only the soft tissues of the body are broken down. What’s left after the fact is bone and any foreign objects that may be present.

So what does that mean exactly? Let’s say your pet has had a surgical procedure at some point and has a few metal pins in his leg. The metal pins will remain intact after death and after the aquamation process is complete. Anything metal, cloth, plastic, rubber, or anything that’s not tissue will remain. Why exactly am I telling you this? My friends at local aquamation providers, Monarch Pet Memorial Services in Boynton Beach, and Gentle Pet Crossing in Lake Worth tell me that sometimes unexpectedly, there’s more left behind than what should be.

Dogs are famous for eating everything in their path and doing so can create a mystery dog illness.

Cats. Well, they LOVE to play with those strings and can ingest them which can cause a blockage in cats. Unfortunately, these foreign objects are not always easy for veterinarians to find, and even more unfortunate, if gone undetected they can kill your pet.

Nationwide pet insurance reports foreign body ingestion is one of its most common claims, demonstrating the severity of this pet safety issue. In 2018, policyholders filed more than $11.5 million in claims for foreign body ingestion for dogs and cats combined.

According to Dr. Ingrid Pyka, DVM, “Animals with ingested foreign bodies generally do not feel well which can create a mystery dog illness. They often stop eating and/or act depressed. Initially, some cases with intestinal foreign bodies may have diarrhea and exhibit vomiting. If the object has not fully clogged the digestive tract, the vomiting may be intermittent. But with a complete blockage in pets, the dog or cat will be unable to keep anything down, including liquids. The longer the blockage lasts, the more critical the animal’s condition becomes.”

After a physical exam, your vet will probably want to perform X-rays, however, cloth and plastic objects might not be visible. Other symptoms of a blockage (ballooning intestines, linear obstructive patterns, etc) may appear on an X-ray. If the blockage is new, enough time may not have passed for those changes to occur.

It can be difficult for the veterinarian to zero in on a foreign object diagnosis to solve that mystery dog illness. That’s where you come in!

Dr. Pyka says, “Monitor your pet’s habits. Especially with puppies and kittens, keep small swallowable items picked up and out of their way. Discuss with your veterinarian appropriately sized chew toys, considering ALL the pets in your home.

Examine all chew toys and stuffed animals you offer your pets for small pieces that may be chewed off and eaten. Monitor the toys for damage. Discard any smaller remnants. Never leave strings or ribbons within reach of your pets – especially cats.”

If a pet pee-pee pad disappears, don’t just assume it was torn up. Your dog may have ingested the entire thing. YES! It has happened and the veterinarian missed it. In one instance, TWO intact pet pee-pee pads were discovered after a dog was processed using aquamation.

If your dog or cat shows signs of a blockage and your veterinarian doesn’t seem to be exploring the possibility, you can request an ultrasound. Pet Ultrasound Now in Wilton Manors, Florida is fully capable of same-day ultrasounds.

“The sooner your pet receives medical attention, the better his or her chances of full recovery with fewer complications,” Dr Pyka said.

Now you know! That mystery dog illness may just be a foreign object blockage in dogs or cats!

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