Diagnosis: Foreign Body Obstruction
At 17 weeks, Domino is pure kitten; playful, curious, and prone to exploring! One Friday night, she found herself in a household trash can and decided to have a merry time! Domino enjoyed the rest of her evening and appeared fine…until she ate her next meal.
Despite the fact Domino was still energetic and hungry, she could not eat or drink without vomiting. Her vomiting continued throughout the weekend so Monday morning her pet parent brought Domino to BRVC to see Dr. Shann Ikezawa.
After hearing the symptoms, Dr. Ikezawa immediately suspected a foreign body obstruction. X-rays didn’t reveal much about a foreign body but did show a small patch of pneumonia developing on Domino’s lung (most likely due to aspirating vomit).
Dr. Ikezawa followed up with an ultrasound where she identified a suspicious looking object. At this point it was difficult to know if it was a piece of kibble or the source of Domino’s illness. Dr. Ikezawa and Domino’s owner decided to hospitalize her with supportive fluids, antibiotics for pneumonia, and anti-nausea medication.
After three days, Domino was still intermittently vomiting. Repeat ultrasounds continued to show the strange object in her stomach; the fact it had not passed in three days was a strong indicator that this was the cause of the vomiting. When a foreign object is stuck in the stomach it can float around in the bile; sometimes blocking the opening to the intestines or move around. This was why Domino seemed to feel fine one moment and then vomit after eating.
Dr. Ikezawa went over the three options: continue supportive therapy of fluid and medication to wait and see if the object eventually moved through Domino’s system on its own; attempt to locate and retrieve the object using an endoscope; or exploratory surgery of the stomach.
There is no guarantee the object would eventually pass on its own. In the meantime Domino’s condition continued to deteriorate. Dr. Ikezawa and Domino’s mom decided the best course would be an endoscopy procedure. The endoscope was a solid option since it’s much less invasive than exploratory surgery (which involves several incisions).
Dr. Janice Cain performed the procedure using the camera and light at the end of the endoscope and a video monitor to search for whatever might be floating in Domino’s little kitten stomach. Imagine searching for something underwater without knowing what it looks like! Using an endoscope takes patience, precision, and skill. This is how Dr. Cain was able to identify and retrieve the offending object…a solitary earplug!
Domino rapidly recovered and was back to her endearing kitten ways a mere 4 hours after her procedure! Because of the initial x-rays taken upon admittance, Domino’s pneumonia was caught early enough and never displayed symptoms. One day after her endoscopy Domino was ready to go home. While it seems strange that a kitten would eat an earplug it just goes to show we can never be too careful when it comes to our pets and what they will decide is a tasty treat!