“Something’s wrong with Hugo!”
Normally a bouncing bright red bundle of fun, Hugo had vomited up his breakfast and suddenly had no energy.
He’s a gorgeous wire-haired miniature Dachshund whose hobby is to hoover up rabbit droppings. His greatest ambition is to catch a rabbit!
But on this day he was really sad, and when he walked he had an odd gait, seeming twitchy at the back end. His owner had brought him straight to the clinic.
I palpated his belly, and knew at once that there was a risk that he had swallowed something he shouldn’t. I could feel evidence of an intestinal obstruction.
There was a large gas-filled lump where there shouldn’t be. We immediately admitted him for an x-ray, and the team geared up for a potentially major abdominal surgery.
However, what I saw inside his belly was a surprise. There was a foreign body inside and it looked metallic, with very clear round edges – what could it be?
A coin where it shouldn’t be
X-rays are two dimensional images of a three dimensional structure, so to learn more I took the view from right angles to the first.
This confirmed that the foreign body was now in the large intestine, which was tremendously good news for Hugo.
It meant that the item had already passed all the narrow obstacles between the stomach and the appendix, and was well on its way to the anus without the need for any surgical intervention.
Presumably the twitchy gait was an awareness that a special motion was moving along.
We gave him an enema to lubricate the situation, whilst he was still sedated, and he obligingly produced one Swiss franc! The next day he was back to rabbit-chasing fitness!