By Ron Kraft, DVM
Yikes. The “boy” is still smarter than me.
In my last blog, I told you the saga of Leonard, aka “the boy,” and his ability to have outsmarted my wife and I for the past 13 years. His favorite TV show is Foxworthy’s “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” Leonard writes his own scripts like “I am smarter than a veterinarian.”
I’ve told you about his years of learning how to open everything in our home to get anything he wanted, namely the refrigerator which we’ve had to booby trap with a baby lock. He also has a gold medal in counter surfing. We returned home a few weeks ago to find all in order, at first. We went upstairs only to find a cellophane meat wrapper neatly folded on Leonard’s bed. After returning to the kitchen, we found that the baby lock on the refrigerator had been dismantled. He even closed the door to hide his crime.
Aha! A ham steak was missing. Not being a shopper, I asked my wife if all ham steaks come with that little circular bone (the femur) in the middle. She said she thought so but couldn’t be sure. Off to the vet hospital again, and look what I found! You are correct; the white ring you see in the photo to the left is the missing ham bone in Leonard’s stomach.
Now what? I had 3 options. 1: Anesthesia and try to remove the bone removed with an endoscope (a snake-like camera device passed down the throat into the stomach). 2: Immediate surgery to remove the bone from the stomach. 3: Wait and see. I decided on number 3.
Bones can stay in the stomach, move to the small intestine and get stuck, pass all the way through and come out, or be digested just as any other food. What is really important is knowing your pet’s habits. Any deviation from normal requires intervention. In Leonard’s case, he acted normal, he never missed a meal, he never vomited, he passed normal stools at his regular frequency, and he never showed signs that he had a belly ache.
If you ever suspect that your pet has eaten something unusual, check with your veterinarian right away to find out what the best course of action is for you. Every case and every foreign body eaten is different. If Leonard had become ill, I was prepared to do surgery right away.
And now for the end of the story. A few days later he pooped out a neon yellow silly band like the kids wear on their wrist. Where did that come from?! As for the bone, his cast iron stomach digested the it, so I never saw it. To quote the most important person in my life, “We have pets because they make us laugh.”
A true story about Dr. Ronald Kraft & Leonard. Dr. Kraft is Secretary-Treasurer of the PVMA and a partner at Trooper Veterinary Hospital near Norristown, PA.