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Emergency & Urgent Care
Bella David

Age: 5 years    Breed: Boxer


Diagnosis: Esophageal Foreign Body

Bella's pet sitter Kim was alarmed. The 5 year old Boxer had been happy and healthy the night before but the next day she was vomiting up her food. She continued to vomit every time she attempted to drink water. She was lethargic and depressed. Something was obviously wrong.

With Bella's owner Shellie out of town and out of reach, Kim made the decision to bring Bella to Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care to see Dr. John Baine. Since Bella did not have diarrhea, Dr. Baine was immediately concerned that she had a gastrointestinal foreign body; a possible obstruction in the intestines. Classic symptoms of a gastrointestinal foreign body are vomiting, lethargy and an inability to have a bowel movement. Kim had mentioned in passing that Bella had been playing ball with a smaller dog the night before, using a mini tennis ball. Dr. Baine initially suspected this mini ball might have been consumed by Bella and was now causing an obstruction.

The next step in confirming a diagnosis was to take digital x-rays. When the x-rays returned, a surprising and serious discovery was made. Bella had indeed swallowed the tennis ball and it was not in her intestines; instead the ball was lodged in Bella's esophagus! The ball was not large enough to obstruct her breathing but it was small enough that it was causing symptoms. It is very possible Bella's story could have had a very different and tragic ending the night before.

At this point, for Bella, time was of the essence. Dr. Baine estimated the ball had been lodged in her throat for at least 18 hours. Bella was immediately prepped for an anesthetic procedure to remove the ball. Dr. Baine used an endoscope; an instrument consisting of a long tube, a light and a video camera. Using a monitor to view the camera footage provided by the endoscope, he was able to locate and remove the slippery, small ball. After her successful procedure Bella stayed overnight at BRVC so she could be monitored by a veterinary technician as she recovered from the anesthesia. The next day Bella was 100% back to normal and free to go home! Shellie was thankful to return from vacation to a healthy and rambunctious dog, "I'm so grateful to your clinic for saving Bella's life. Your facility was amazing!"

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