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Dr. K
Dr. K, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My dog ate plastic. Started wimpering and putting her tail down

Resolved Question:

My dog ate sharp plastic this afternoon. She started wimpering and putting her tail down a few hours later. She ate dinner at 6pm. no vomitting. The vet wants to charge emergency fees to see her tonight. Can I wait till tomorrow? I am going to feed her bread and pumpkin now. She is very interested in eating it (as usual).
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. K replied 5 years ago.

What did the vet say they wanted to do?
What was the plastic item that she ate?

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
The Vet said nothing - they won't give any advice over the phone - we have an emergency appt for later this evening.

The plastic items was a clean empty plastic container for food storage.

Dr. K :
She swallowed large pieces of it in chunks, or she chewed it up into little bits?

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Don't know - we found little sharp chewed pieces when we got home.

Dr. K :
Do you know if most of the container was ingested?

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Not most of it.

Dr. K :
How large is your dog?

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
52 lb Yellow Lab Mix

Dr. K :
How large was the container?

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
About 16oz no lid

Dr. K :
I'm not sure why the vet wants to see her now.

If she is not vomiting, and is eating fine...then she is not likely obstructed.

If her gastrointestinal system was blocked, she would be vomiting...A LOT!

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
What could it be then?

Dr. K :
If she is happy to eat, is not vomiting or retching, and she is not screaming and crying or watching her belly a lot....then this isn't really an emergency.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
She is wimpering and moaning alot.

Dr. K :
Oh...I think that her wimpering and tail down is due to eating plastic.

But...there isn't anything the vet is going to do about it.

If it isn't stuck...causing an obstruction...the vet can't do anything about it.

The wouldn't be able to know what part of her GI system it was in.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
What should we do to make her more comfortable?

Dr. K :
There isn't much you can do.

It is either all going to pass through her system, or it isn't.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
She is paying a lot of attention to her rear and doesn't want to sit.

Dr. K :
You are already doing what you can do by feeding her some bread and pumpkin. This will help.

But, I wouldn't over do it. Just a little is fine.

If she ate it this afternoon, it wouldn't be anywhere near her butt yet. So, I can't explain why she would be doing this.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
What can we expect?

Dr. K :
You can expect her to continue to have an upset stomach.

I would say...that there really isn't a reason to rush her in on emergency, unless you feel that she is VERY uncomfortable.

If she is wimpering and moaning so much that you feel she is very uncomfortable, then that is reason enough to go.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
How can we be sure she isn't bleeding inside?

Dr. K :
You can't.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Can we give her any meds to help her?

Dr. K :
She could be....but if she were, she would likely be vomiting from the plastic cutting into her GI tract.

She would be vomiting up food and blood.

No, there are no meds to give her that are over the counter.

If you are worried that this plastic was very sharp and may be cutting her, then you should take her to the vet to be examined.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
She just passed some gas - is that a good sign?

Dr. K :
It is very hard for me to assess her level of pain without being able to see her.

I can't's gas....Usually, passing gas makes you more comfortable...but, it may have nothing to do with the plastic situation.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Any major risk in waiting till tomorrow to take her?

Dr. K :
The only risk is if the plastic were to perforate her GI system...but again, the vet can't really know if this has happened or not...if she is not vomiting and losing blood into the vomit.

All the vet will do is examine her to make sure she is stable, and then may take an X-ray to look for any sign of obstruction.

But, there is no evidence of obstruction, because she is not vomiting.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
So if there is no evidence of obstruction then what are the possibilities?

Dr. K :
That she ate plastic and has an upset stomach.

The dog does not have to be have gastrointestinal discomfort.

It's just that GI discomfort is not an emergency.

Obstruction is.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Now that I think about it she has eaten plastic before.

Dr. K :
OK.... I really think that if you are very concerned about the level of moaning and whimpering she is doing, then it is a good idea to have her examined by the vet.

You should definitely bring her in if she starts vomiting.

However, if you feel her level of discomfort is only minor and she does not have any vomiting, then there really is no reason why you cannot wait until the morning.

A good thing for you to check is the pinkness level of her gums.

Her gums should look the same shade of pink as your own.

If they are paler pink or white looking, then this can be an indication of bleeding or shock, and this would make her status level be one of an emergency.

So, if you monitor her gums and see this color change, this will let you know that there is cause for concern and an emergency trip to the vet is warranted.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Gums look good. She seems to have calmed a little.

She ate the pumpkin and bread about 10 mins ago - could that have helped that fast?

Dr. K :
Yes, it could....If she has the sharp pieces of plastic still in her stomach...the bread will stick to the sharper edges and make them feel more comfortable.

I would not overdo it on this bread and pumpkin combo though...

It will give her diarrhea if you do this too much.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
It doesn't seem to hurt when we press on her stomach.

As she is laying down she seems to be tensing her hind legs and rear??

Dr. K :
There really isn't much else that I can tell you about her condition, without being able to examine her.

If she is acting is likely due to discomfort.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Would it be good to take her for a walk?

Dr. K :
It wouldn't hurt her. Just don't make it a very long walk. I hope that your dog will be ok. I wish you good luck with her.

JACUSTOMER-4h5tp60r- :
Thanks for your help.

Dr. K :
You are very welcome.

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