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Toffee: Ingestion Of Foreign Object

Education > Patient Stories 14th September 2020

Toffee’s family caught him gobbling up a surgical mask! He was taken to Mount Pleasant Vet Centre (North) and examined by Dr Kasey Tan.

Toffee was given a dose of apomorphine, a drug that stimulates specific dopamine receptors in the brain that induce vomiting. What you might find interesting is that apomorphine can be given topically on the eye (under the eyelid in the conjunctival sac). Within 10 minutes, Toffee was vomiting and we were relieved to retrieve a very soggy mask.

Our dogs are curious and fast - especially puppies. Sometimes, they shock us with the odd objects they eat -- coins, needles, balls, socks, pacifiers, corn cobs, tampons.

Face masks are a common item in our households nowadays. Whether in or outside of our homes, store and dispose of our masks properly. If your dog is a known scavenger, always pick up your socks and other clothing. Make sure the garbage is taken out or kept in tight-lid bins. Keep all toys away unless you are home to supervise.

If you suspect your dog has gobbled up a foreign object, watch out for excessive salivation, facial pawing, gagging, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, abdominal pain.

If a foreign object becomes lodged along the digestive tract, it may impair the flow of nutrients or blood, cause damage to internal tissues and become a life-threatening obstruction. Radiographs and ultrasound help to determine the location of the objects and let our vets know if it is feasible or necessary to remove them.

Some small blunt objects can pass through the GI tract without causing damage. For sharp or toxic objects, do not “wait and see”. Take your dog to the vet immediately for surgery or endoscopic removal.

If an incident happens after normal clinic hours, call our 24/7 emergency service at 6251 7666. Do not induce vomiting without first speaking to your vet.