I first met Maximus, a 4 month old beagle puppy, early one Monday morning, shortly after he had eaten his first sock. During the morning, his owners had seen him pick up the sock but had not been able to reach him quick enough to stop him from ingesting it in one swift movement. Rightly so they brought him to see us at our Trinity Gardens clinic and we administered medications to encourage him to vomit the sock back up before it could cause too much damage. It was quite quickly after receiving the medication that he vomited up a long black sock! We waited for his little tummy to settle and he was able to go home with his Mum and Dad very soon after. A situation we surprisingly see more often than you would imagine, puppies (and sometimes adult dogs) really do like to eat their owner’s socks!
We underestimated just how much Maximus enjoyed his previous sock treat until the following Saturday he represented to our Stirling clinic, as his owners were worried he may have eaten another sock! This time we tried two different methods for inducing vomiting but were unable to produce another sock, to be cautious he underwent a radiograph, but at this point as the owners weren’t 100% sure he had eaten another sock, there was no indication he had any obstruction and he was otherwise well, he was able to go home. The owners needed to keep an eye out for any signs that he was feeling unwell or not acting his normal self and call us with any concerns.
The following Monday, his owners did just that, he was brought back into our Stirling clinic as he had been vomiting. On assessment, his stomach felt very firm and Dr Steph was worried that despite the previous workup, there was, in fact, another sock causing him discomfort. With radiographs not giving us any definitive answers and Maximus being very unwell, we transferred him to Trinity Gardens to undergo an exploratory laparotomy (or ex-lap). An ex-lap is not a surgery that is recommended lightly; it is invasive and can be lengthy, as the aim of the surgeon is to search for what is causing their patient to be unwell. The surgery was successful! Not one but TWO socks were removed from Maximus’s stomach! The surgeon checked the entire intestinal tract for signs of other foreign bodies, and some alfoil and a small piece of wood were also found! He was stitched up and moved through to recovery. Maximus spent the night in hospital healing and was kept comfortable with pain relief; he was able to go home with his Mum and Dad the very next day. Through their diligent care and several rechecks, he recovered well from his surgery.
Maximus story does not quite end there though with the mischievous puppy being seen since his surgery for eating an apple core and… you guessed it, another sock! Luckily the last sock was able to be vomited back up and he avoided a second round of surgery.
Maximus and his owners certainly aren’t alone when it comes to puppies ingesting things they shouldn’t, and we recommend if you also have a puppy who, no matter what you do, still manages to get hold of things they shouldn’t, please don’t hesitate to give us a call for some advice on environmental management and basic training/behaviour.