Little puppies are a curious bunch. And no matter how much we try, sometimes they’re going to get something in their mouths that probably isn’t the best for them. In an ideal scenario, they’ll try to chomp on whatever it might be and just spit it out, but most of the time it will be eaten, swallowed, puked right back up or go through the digestive system. If you’re lucky, it will come out the other end.
Unfortunately, for pet parent Arianna Chang, that wasn’t the case this time. Chang had recently found the beautiful Siberian Husky of her dreams, and she named him Zeus after the strong, powerful Greek god. According to Arianna, her brave little puppy had made the long flight from his breeders in Seattle to his new home in Atlanta by himself at the tender age of two months old. And in the short time he had been with her, Zeus hadn’t really eaten or swallowed anything too out of the ordinary—just the usual leaves, sticks or rocks that he would later throw up. This seemed to be the way Zeus would operate. Just a normal healthy puppy with a curious appetite who would put anything and everything in his mouth. Then one day while Arianna was spooning out his wet food, zany Zeus must have been really hungry, because he lunged for the dog food and swallowed it along with the spoon!
“The second he snatched it, I tried to open his mouth immediately, but then it was gone” said Arianna. He had snatched the metal spoon out of her hand and gulped it down. Zeus showed no signs of discomfort at all—not even in the car as they rushed to the veterinary hospital. No heaving or signs of air blockage, choking—nil, nada. It was like nothing had happened, but Arianna knew better. “I was shocked; I was definitely shocked,” said Chang. She rushed her beloved Zeus to the BluePearl Veterinary Partners Hospital, which like many emergency vets, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Zeus was immediately examined by board-certified internal medicine vet, Dr. Nicolas Berryessa. X-rays left no doubt that there was a spoon in Zeus’ stomach and that the handle was sticking partly into the esophagus. It was only a matter of time before this little guy would start to suffer from repeated vomiting and other digestive problems. With no time to waste, Zeus was put under anesthesia while Dr. Berryessa used an endoscope to view the spoon with the tiny camera. He then used that very endoscope with a snare attachment to pull the spoon out of Zeus’ stomach and through his throat.
It was over without the need for surgery and no real signs of injury. The cost of the emergency procedure was about $2000, and Zeus walked out of BluePearl on the same night. He was a bit woozy from anesthesia, but that was about it. Zeus was still the same friendly and playful pup, with an expression that seemed to say, “Oh, nothing’s wrong!”
Since this ordeal Arianna has sent Zeus to training school. “He’s been transformed into a brand new puppy, but I also have to reinforce the teachings at home. It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it! Every day just gets better and better!” As an extra precautionary measure, Arianna no longer has spoons around while dishing out Zeus’ food.
There are a few simple precautions and options pet parents can take when feeding overly enthusiastic, hungry pets. Place food bowls on table counters at a good distance from your pet while pouring or dishing out food. You can also use measuring cups and automatic feeders to help minimize the risk of swallowing utensils.