Shadow is a 2 ½-year-old Shih Tzu who loves to play “catch me if you can” with items he
finds on the floor. Unfortunately he found out the hard way that this is not always fun and
games. Shadow’s owner saw him pick up a quilting needle in his mouth and he swallowed
it faster than his master could react. Shadow presented to our clinic within thirty minutes
– the needle was identified on x-ray to be in the stomach along with Shadow’s dinner. If
food had not been present within the stomach, the needle could have been retrieved with
an endoscope at a local emergency hospital. Since it is very difficult to find the needle
amongst all the food product with endoscopy, surgery was performed uneventfully.
Shadow made an excellent recovery within two weeks.
The fact that Shadow’s mom actually saw him swallow the quilting needle allowed us to
perform quick diagnostics and treatment. Unfortunately, there are many times that our
pets eat things in their environment that we never witness. Most of these items will pass
without incident, however some pets will present with loss of appetite, vomiting and painful
abdomen and it may be challenging to find the foreign body. Choosing appropriate toys
and chews for your pet, puppy/kitten-proofing your home and crating are all means of
reducing the risk of foreign body ingestion.