Dog Eats Charred Firewood

by Dr. Kathleen Tracy from Animal Care Center

Koda is an eight year old, neutered Siberian Husky who presented for acute vomiting. The patient has a history of seizures, currently being treated with Phenobarbital, Potassium Bromide, and Keppra. He also has intermittent vomiting of over 1 year duration. Koda was hospitalized 18 months prior for cluster seizures for overnight Diazepam therapy at a different veterinary hospital. Three days prior, he got into a fire pit and ate charred firewood which the owner is concerned is causing the acute vomiting.

Upon presentation, the patient was depressed, with normal vital signs and unremarkable physical exam. Radiographs revealed an unidentified plastic tubing foreign body located in the stomach. Blood work revealed an elevated liver enzyme; ALT 134 (0-120), and WBC count 18.6 (6-17).

Koda was stablilized with 2 hours of IV fluid therapy prior to performing an exploratory laparotomy to remove the foreign bodies. Upon gastrotomy (incision into stomach), foreign materials were located: IV fluid line, charred bits of wood, pieces of plastic toy, fabric, and yarn. The yarn exited the stomach at the pylorus causing a linear foreign body which was connected to further fabric in the small intestine. A separate enterotomy (incision into the intestines) was made to remove the fabric.

Koda recovered from surgery, but suffered from another bout of cluster seizures and had to be hospitalized again 2 days later. It was later determined that the patient ate the IV fluid line 18 months prior while hospitalized for cluster seizures. It had been causing a mild gastritis, and did not cause a full obstruction until compounded with further objects from the fire pit. He is still prone to ingesting inappropriate objects and we are considering other options for seizure therapy.