Intussusception..Try say that 10 times fast!

Zoe came to Balfour Animal Hospital not herself. She is normally a very energetic dog who loves her food and loves digging around in the backyard. Her owners report that she is not eating at all and is quite lethargic. Zoe is panting quite heavily and her abdomen is very tense on examination making it very difficult for Dr. Bos to palpate the abdomen. Zoe is also experiencing 8% dehydration.

Dr. Bos’ assessment indicates that Zoe may have a foreign body in her abdomen. In order to get any further diagnosis the plan is to do x-rays and a barium series to see if there is a blockage in the intestines.

Zoe’s first x-ray shows an obvious mass in the stomach area.

The first barium x-ray shows the barium balling up in the same area.

As the time passes the x-rays show that while barium is passing along the small intestine it is doing so very slowly.

The next morning, 19.5 hours after the first x-ray the intestines show that there is still barium sitting in the intestines.

This final x-ray indicates that there is indeed some sort of foreign body or blockage happening and surgery is necessary.

Zoe has already been receiving fluids for the last 19 hours and she is now prepped for surgery.

Dr. Bos enters the abdomen cavity along the ventral midline in order to access the stomach. There he hopes to find what is causing the symptoms Zoe is experiencing.

Exploration of the stomach reveals that there is no foreign body there. He takes a biopsy of the stomach lining for thoroughness.

Dr. Bos further investigates the digestive system by pulling out the intestines. What he discovers is what is called intussusception.

An intussusception is the telescoping of one part of the intestinal tract into an adjoining segment of intestinal tract. It commonly involves the small intestines. Intussusception can cause narrowing or obstruction of the lumen (inside diameter) of the intestines, resulting in an acute emergency, which Zoe is experiencing.

Intussusception signs and symptoms are very similar to those of an indicated foreign body. They include vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, weight loss and abdominal pain.

Dr. Bos performs the surgical correction required by relieving the telescoping of the bowel (in some cases a resection (removal) of the affected segment of intestine is required).

In order to be thorough Dr. Bos goes over every section of the intestine to ensure that there is no other telescoping present.

He also checks the pancreas and cecum. The pancreases appear to be thickened and edematous as well so a small biopsy was taken.

Once surgery is done Zoe is put into recovery. She is introduced to small amounts of water of the next 24 hours and also given injectable antibiotics to help prevent infection.

The prognosis for patients with intussusception varies depending on the severity of the blockage, the length of time the animal has been affected and the underlying cause. Zoe has made a full recovery and is doing quite well!

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