Thursday, June 28, 2012

Corn on the Cob: A Warning

Dr. Sanford, administering fluids
As I write this, Brooks is lying in the veterinary hospital after surgery last night.

Yesterday morning Brooks got sick. As I was cleaning up the mess in the yard, I noticed something strange... A large chunk, about 3 inches long, of corncob. I knew immediately this was not good.

Corncobs are not digestible. If your dog eats them, they may cause obstructions in the stomach or intestines. Their sharp edges may perforate the intestines. Not good.

How on earth did Brooks get a corncob? Since we have a small house and a small fenced yard, I pretty much know where the dogs are at all times. We don't keep food within reach, and keep our trash covered in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Brooks isn't even a wastebasket tipper like some dogs! All I can think of is that he sneaked into a garbage bag in the brief moments it may have been unattended while we were gathering trash up to take out to the curb. Or the cob entered our yard over the fence, or he scavenged it up while we were at the park.

At home earlier that day.
I hoped that getting up that one chunk may have been all he needed, but when he refused food, even a dog treat, I knew that there was more of a problem. I called the vet right away and they took us in at 5:3 0pm. We waited there with Brooks as they went through bloodwork, xrays, etc. They told us that Brooks was so good for his xrays. They put him on the table and when they left to go behind the wall, he started to get up. They just said "No, lie down Brooks" and he flopped his head right back on the table and lay still.  Everything they asked him to do he cooperated willingly. But there was very little wag left in his tail.

About 9pm Mike and I were still there, and hungry. All I could turn up was a handful of mini tootsie rolls (for us, not the dog) left over from Planet Fitness. But I didn't want to leave.

Waiting for more xrays.
10-pm we sat with Brooks while waiting for the barium to pass through his system, while they took about 5 or 6 xrays of the travels. Dr. Sandord was extremely cautious and careful, making sure to do all the necessary tests and trying the least invasive methods first. Finally the source of the obstruction became clear. It would not be able to pass normally.

11pm Dr. Dietrich arrived and prepared for surgery. We finally went home.

They expected the surgery to take an hour and 1/2. We sat up awaiting the call. Finally about 2am we got the call. They took out two large chunks of corncob in the intestines. He came through the surgery okay.

We had the option of transporting him to the emergency vet clinic where he could be monitored over night, but after much discussion they decided it would be best if he stayed there overnight. It made me sad to think of him all night without anyone to watch over him, should he need anything. But probably he would just sleep.

We called first thing this morning and they said he's doing okay, but he's very sleepy. It took them more than an hour to get him off the tubes last night. He is still not waking up well. We're going to go see him  at noon and hope he responds to us. I'm still anxious, but hope that he will come around soon.

I barely want to mention the bill, because at this point all I care about is Brooks getting better. But the number is rising above 2000 already and still climbing. We're just taking care of Brooks right now. That is where I have to focus.

The first, expelled corn cob
I just want to tell you all, if you didn't know about the dangers of corncobs, please don't feed them to your dogs. And don't leave them, or your trash, where your dog might get into them. And if you already do know about corncobs, (I can't believe I even blogged about it yesterday, the very day Brooks got sick!) don't ever let your guard down. Take extra precautions on bbqs when corncobs might be in reach, when you have company over who might not know about the dangers and leave their plate accessible, etc. And even if your dog doesn't usually get into the garbage, be sure it is out of temptation at all times.

I'm hoping we can bring Brooks home real soon, and hug him tight, and make him all better.

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