Milly and her very dangerous stomach ache

Milly is one of our biggest patients - a 50kg Irish Wolfhound and a very gentle giant. She had been feeling unwell for a few days, off her food, not passing feaces, a few vomits and was very clingy. These are quite general gastrointestinal signs and can mean anything from a mild gastro attack from picking up an old hot dog in the park or in Milly's case gastrointestinal emergency.

Milly is normally a very laid back girl and this can sometimes mask the degree of pain and discomort a dog is feeling. On clinical examination a painful soft mass was palpated in her belly and x-rays revealed some very distended gas filled loops of bowel - a sure sign that something is causing the bowel to be obstructed. We often see bowel obstructions in dogs caused by such things as corn cobs, cooked bones eaten whole, and sometimes socks, undies, and even hair ties and small rubber balls in cats so we were all wondering what was causing Milly's obstruction.

Milly was rushed in for emergency exploratory surgery. In surgery we were very amazed to see something we have never seen before - a small band of tissue in Milly's bowel had created a ring like structure through which her entire small intestine had passed. Once reaching the ceacum (an outpouching at the start of the large intestine) a blockage was produced. The biggest problem for Milly was that this was now cutting off the blood supply to the small intestine and if it had been left for even a few hours more, the tissue of her intestine would have started to die producing fatal consequences. Once the band of tissue was cut, blood started to return to Milly's bowel and within a few minutes she was looking much healthier. After a careful examination of the rest of her belly, we closed Milly's surgery site with stitches. Everyone will be pleased to know that within a few days Milly was eating well and back to normal self.

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