Mia is a 4 year old Labrador x Poodle that presented to us for acute onset vomiting. She was otherwise very happy, still eating and energetic. We performed a physical exam on her which was completely normal, and so she was sent home with some anti-nausea medications and put on a bland diet for a few days. Two days later however, she was still vomiting quite regularly, and the owners had started to become concerned that she had maybe eaten something she shouldn’t have – she is often seen chewing on the family’s sock collection!
She was brought back in, and on a repeat physical exam she was noticeably quite tender in the abdomen, turning around to look at the vet whilst the intestines were palpated. On suspicion we took abdominal radiographs to search for any foreign bodies. On one of the radiograph views, there was a very subtle striated pattern in the small intestines, highly suggestive of a sock!
Vomiting can be a result of dietary indiscretion, bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, anxiety, motion sickness, gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction or the result of systemic disease. We often treat vomiting conservatively initially, but if persistent further evaluation is necessary. Obstruction by a foreign body can be partial or complete if the object is unable to pass.
In Mia’s case, she was still passing faeces and the radiogaphs did not display on obstructive pattern. Because of this, we chose to admit Mia to hospital and place her on fluid therapy to assist the motility of the GI tract. We monitored her closely and did repeat radiographs the following day to follow the movement of the sock. Careful monitoring is important with foreign body ingestion as objects can lead to distension of the small intestines with fluid and gas, damage to surrounding tissue and possibly even perforation.
The following morning Mia had still not passed the sock, but a rectal exam by the vet detected a soft object that was able to be grasped and slowly pulled out of her rectum. It was a knee-high sock! This was great news, as the fluids had helped Mia pass the foreign body all the way through her intestines, avoiding the need to have surgery to remove it. Well done Mia! She was sent home later that day on a bland diet to settle her GI tract, and strict instructions to avoid sock munching in future.