Zak, my youngest son was at a local dog park with Ash (his 6 month old Hound/Border Collie) who grabbed another dog’s ball. While playing “keep away” from Zak, she compressed the ball in her mouth and somehow managed to swallow it. The thin walled pliable soft ball re-inflated on its way ‘down the hatch’ into her stomach.
Yep, there’s a ball in there. “Looks like a gastrotomy is in Ash’s immediate future”. I had to console Zak and Haley, his girlfriend. “I’ve done a lot of these surgeries. She’s gonna be just fine.”
At surgery, I removed the offending ball. As long as I was in the area, I performed a ‘belt loop gastropexy’ that ensured that her stomach would not rotate post operatively. This relatively simple procedure helps prevent gastric torsion should excess gas accumulate in the stomach causing it to rotate on its axis. Gastric torsion is uncommon, but is life threatening for those dogs affected. Immediate post op picture of my patient is pretty depressing. But:
Now Ash is going after bigger balls these days, ones she can’t swallow. She is featured in the video on our website landing page 6 weeks post-op, in my back yard showing off under the watchful eye of her tutor, our Border Collie, Finn. Finn has quite a bit of experience with balls, but has yet to swallow one making him the perfect teacher. Ash, as you can see, is doing just fine.