Case Report: Surgical Removal of Skewer in Small Intestines

What puppy could resist a chicken kebab? Tucker, a sweet, adorable, 40-pound, 17-week old yellow lab puppy, presented at the Emergency Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia on August 3rd. Earlier in the evening Tucker grabbed a piece of chicken on a wooden skewer and swallowed it all—even the skewer. Tucker’s parents immediately gave him bread hoping to cushion any sharp points on the skewer. Tucker’s x-rays showed a large amount of food in his stomach, but no definitive evidence of the wooden skewer.

Tucker went to his regular veterinarian the following morning and again the day after that for follow-up x-rays. In both cases, no identifiable foreign body was seen and Tucker remained playful, eating well, and no vomiting. It seemed all was well with this cute boy.

On August 11th and 12th Tucker was seen again at his regular veterinarian because he had begun to feel badly and had started vomiting. Once again no definitive evidence of a foreign body was seen on x-rays. On August 14th Tucker returned for a recheck at the Emergency Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia because the owner believed he was becoming painful and lethargic. Tucker was hospitalized overnight for monitoring and IV fluids. An ultrasound examination was scheduled with the Internal Medicine Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia the next day.

The ultrasound exam showed a foreign body (suspected skewer) in the small intestines with perforation leading to peritonitis. Surgery was performed immediately at the Surgical Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia. Dr. Bradley performed the surgery and removed the 5” wooden kebab skewer that had caused two perforations in the small intestines. There was peritonitis and free fluid present. It was amazing that the skewer was able to make it through the stomach and into the small intestines at all!

Tucker did extremely well throughout the surgery and in recovery overnight. He was not allowed to have anything to eat until midday the next day and he was VERY hungry. He was allowed small, bland meals several times throughout the day and he managed to keep them down. Since Tucker did so well through the day he was allowed to go home that evening.

Tucker is well on his way to a full recovery after this unfortunate incident. Let’s just hope he learned his lesson!