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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19299
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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Twice in the past year my GSD vomited a hard black object

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Twice in the past year my GSD vomited a hard black object that looked and felt like rubber.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did the dog eat anything unusual?
Customer: We have NEVER been able to figure out what she could have gotten into. First time happened the day I picked her up from a boarding kennel. The second time was at home out of the blue.
JA: What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Heidi and she is appriximately 10
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Heidi?
Customer: She had diarrea with mucous both times this happened. Vet took X rays and ran blood tests which all came back normal. She has been healthy since I adopted her at age 5

Hi. My name is***** Thank you for your question about Heidi. Are you trying to figure out what this object is? How long ago was the last time this happened? Can you post a picture of it?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The last time it happened was 3 days ago. I don't have a photo of that object. However I do have a photo of the object from last year. I'll look and post it ASAP

I'd be curious to see what it looks like. You can post a picture of it here with the paper clip icon. Sometimes after an object has been eaten / chewed on / sat in the stomach for awhile - it can look nothing like it originally was.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I can't seem to find the photo but I can describe it. The shape and size were very similar to a charcoal briquette but not as smooth and even. The color was completely black (I did not cut into it to see if there were other colors inside). The texture was similar to hard rubber. I left it sitting outside on the deck a few days and outer layer became sticky and would rub off a bit on anything it touched.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Heidi loves Kong balls and has had both the red and black. However, she seemed to prefer the red and hasn't had a black kong ball for years. Last time would have been at least 2 years before the first incident.

No problem on the picture. Identifying what these objects were / a part of is sometimes a great challenge that ultimately remains a mystery. At my ER, I've done surgery and pulled out things that the owners and I could never identify the source For what you're describing, I would throw out the possibility of rubber backing on some object / mat, some part of a rubber toy, could it be a door stopper part, could it be part of the kong (these are supposed to be indestructible), could it be some plastic object in the house / garage that is being chewed on and these parts are coming off. Could she be finding it on a walk?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No, she doesn't take walks. In the past she would exercise in my fenced in backyard and now she exercises in my husband's fenced backyard. Her FAVORITE activity is to play fetch with her kong, search for the kong if we hide it or chase rabbits in the yard. I know the Kong ball is supposed to be indestructible but Heidi will bite off small pieces (size of grain of uncooked rice) and in the span of several months the hole will be expanded to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Ever since she threw up the first object, I've replaced the Kong balls much earlier to prevent her from being able to remove large chunks (even though I never saw her remove a chunk anywhere close to what she threw up).

That is great that you're replacing the Kong's that are getting more worn by her. Could these pieces that were vomited up just be larger portions of it? I tell all owners that if a toy is starting to fray, come apart, look worn, etc.. - just replace it as it is way less expensive than having to take it out of their pet at surgery! The Kong balls are the best for being the most durable, but even they can be broken. A focused dog with time on their hand and determination can destroy pretty much everything. Could she be finding something in the back yard that got tossed into it? Brought into it by another person or animal?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I doubt it came from one of her Kongs because I never saw that large of a piece missing. I know she could destroy just about anything if she were motivated enough. I am SO thankful she does not have separation anxiety. I FINALLY found the photo of the first object.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We have on occasion had tennis balls, frisbees and even a pumpkin (not sure what that was all about) so it is possible that something got thrown over the fence or was near enough to a gap at the bottom of the fence that she was able to snag it.

Good picture! That doesn't look like the broken off piece of a kong toy. Very interesting as it is so smooth. If it is rubber, it shouldn't get that smooth if it is broken off / chewed off. Dang. I'm having a brain storm and coming up with a lot of nothing as to its source. If it was hard, I would say something like river stone rocks. But, if you are saying it is more rubber like, that is where I'm drawing a blank.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Whether or not we can identify the object, is it possible that this is what caused my dog to have diarrhea with lots of mucus. I thought it might be the bodies way of getting rid of the object (diarrhea) and protecting the stomach/intestines with mucus

When I have a case at my ER where they have diarrhea with lots of mucus, the suspicion goes heavily towards eating something that has upset the stomach / colon. It can be a plant, new food, table scrap, etc.. Typically foreign bodies don't do this unless they are causing a blockage and the body is getting stressed from it.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Okay, I'm going to keep an eye on her stool (because I'm a dog owner and this is what we do... LOL) and take her to the vet if I see this happen again. Her stools have been okay in the past few days.

A good pet owner checks the stools! At my ER, I get frustrated when I ask how the stools are looking as part of my history taking and an owner says they don't know. It is important. I'm hoping all goes well for her. One tip for helping your vet out in the future is to take pictures or video of things that are happening at home that may not be taken or repeatable at the clinic.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ahhh... I never thought of that. I almost always have my cell phone within reach so I will certainly do that.

The cell phone is a tool that is helping me with numerous cases at my ER. A lot of owners are starting to come in with their phones and being able to say "this is what we were seeing at home!". It takes a lot of the guess work out of situations.

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