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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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Old doxie swallowed rock - what do I do - is it urgent?

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My very old rescue doxie only plays with rocks. He's never swallowed one but I think he finally did yesterday. He was fine until last night when he just kept waking me up. His stomach is gurgling, he won't eat his breakfast, his tail is between his legs as if his bum hurts, he tried to poop and couldn't, and he is being very quiet. I have felt around and cannot feel anything, I have been massaging his tummy gently, anal glands, went up the rectum and cannot feel anything, tried a tiny amount of lactulose and waiting now to see if that works. I am out of town and do not know the vets here. How long should I give it for the lactulose to work and will it if it is now truly a bowel obstruction? He does not appear to be in any pain, even when I am poking around gently all over, just quiet. I need to know if this is urgent or can I wait it out - at what point does it become urgent and what, besides the little lactulose I gave home, would be good for him to help him poop. The rocks he plays with are pretty small - maybe 1/2" round - he really doesn't seem to be as worried as I am - just as if he can't poop and has a tummy ache.


Dr. Drew :

Hello, thanks for your question today! I am Dr. Drew, and I am a licensed veterinarian. I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.

Dr. Drew :

Unfortunately, lactulose has a very limited effectiveness for treatment of this sort of problem.

Dr. Drew :

IN a situation like this, the most I'd wait is 24 hours, and that's assuming that his gums remain a nice deep pink color as normal,

Dr. Drew :

and there's no vomiting,

Dr. Drew :

but if his gums are pale, or are red or grayish instead of pink, or he is vomiting, then I do not see any way to justify delaying veterinary care at this point.

Dr. Drew :

generally, with a true obstruction, vomiting is often seen,

Dr. Drew :

but the lack of vomiting does not mean that the problem isn't serious.

Dr. Drew :

it is possible that sedation or anesthesia may be required, to allow for a long pair of forceps to be used to retrieve the rock from the rectum, if in fact that's where it's lodged.

Customer:

Yes, his gums are nice and pink. He has no teeth. (His name is Gumbo) I rescued him 5 years ago - he has to be at least 15 and has no health problems. He seems to have some sort of Pica but he never swallows them. I think he was just never allowed in a home and only played with rocks. He turns into a puppy when he plays with him so I let him since it has never been an issue. This is the first time I am pretty sure he must have swallowed one . We are staying at a friends and the patio has 1/5" rocks around the garden. I am trying, at all costs, to avoid an emergency visit to vet due to financial reasons but, of course, will take him if needed. I just need to know how long I should wait. I could not feel it up his rectum and I went pretty far up, I feel all around his stomach and there is no pain, only quiet, sleeping now - should I walk him to stimulate movement? Is there anything besides lactulose I should give him?

Dr. Drew :

if you can get him to eat, you could add some canned pumpkin, or oatmeal, or brown rice into his food,

Dr. Drew :

these contain fiber, which might help improve motility in the intestine.

Dr. Drew :

also, a dose of Colace (25mg gelcaps, sold in any pharmacy over the counter), could be given as a stool softener.

Dr. Drew :

other than that, you will need to seek veterinary care if the situation does not improve within 24 hours.

Customer:

I can't get him to eat, that's why I gave him the Lactulose, I was able to squirt it back. Should I try one of those little fleet suppositories? I could cut one in half? I do not have anything else here I can think of. Also, can you let me know what signs to look for that might be telling me it's geting worse. He is not vomiting or doing anything as of yet, just sleeping and when he does get up he tried to poop, walks with his tail between his legs, and then goes back to sleep.

Dr. Drew :

Not eating, is a worrisome sign in any dog.

Dr. Drew :

I would not suggest a suppository unless it's just pure glycerin, which won't cause any harm.

Dr. Drew :

the poor little guy sounds quite uncomfortable based on your description,

Dr. Drew :

and in my mind, that's justification for seeking veterinary care if the situation is going on for more than 24 hours.

Customer:

If he is still not eating after 24 hours and still acting this way I will take him in. I am just trying to avoid high vet costs of xray, exam, etc if you think it's possible he could pass this.

Dr. Drew :

if the rock was truly only 1/5 of an inch, then it seems like it could be passed.

Dr. Drew :

the intestinal diameter is bigger than that.

Dr. Drew :

so it should not become stuck.

Customer:

Yay, that's what I want to hear. Thank you for your help. Let's hope it passes! I rescue these senior wieners and normally work with a vet but I am out of town and know the cost here would be high. I cannot reach him so I thought I would try this. You have been wonderful and this is a wonderful service you have here. I am very impressed. Is it possible to just let you, personally, know how he does or follow up with any questions?

Dr. Drew :

glad to help!

Dr. Drew :

you can certainly reply later on to let me know how everything went, or to follow up.

Dr. Drew :

after you submit a rating, I can change this chat into Q/A format, for you to return to later.

Customer:

Thank you so much Dr. Drew. I will. Again, this is an amazing service.

Dr. Drew and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Kathy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Gumbo. How is everything going?

Dr. Drew