Little Suzie, a ten-pound, ten-month-old terrier mix, had been warned on several previous occasions to keep her snooping snout out of the bathroom wastebasket.
Like any self-respecting terrier, Suzie had never been a good listener. So it was that on this most recent occasion (a day when her mom knew exactly what she’d added to that little wicker basket in the bathroom) little Suzie took matters into her own hands — or rather, into her mouth.
When Suzie’s mom found the wastebasket empty she assumed one of her [human] roommates had done an uncharacteristically good deed. It wasn’t until Suzie turned her nose up at dinner that the household stared at one and another of its members in horror. Could it be?
Then the vomiting commenced. And a sleepless night ensued, as the three women took turns praying over little Suzie’s retching frame. But Suzie’s efforts were all in vain: she never managed to disgorge the missing items.
Finally, Suzie’s mom, wracked with shame and guilt, brought her to the vet (make sure it’s the female vet, she whispered conspiratorially to the receptionist).
By the time I saw Suzie she appeared completely unchanged by her disgusting meal. No fever. No dehydration. No pain. She was perfectly peppy, in fact (in spite of her reported dyspepsia).
So we took an X-ray. In her belly we found lots of amorphous stuff. I couldn’t tell you for sure what they were due to the limitations of X-ray technology, but it was a fair bet our missing items were in there .
So what's next? Endoscopy — grasping the items with a robotic arm attached to a tube snaked down Suzie's throat? Or would it be the dreaded gastrotomy — a surgical procedure to cut open her stomach and fish out the clumpy, non-digestible stuff?
But here comes the good news: since the ingested material was presumed to be soft and cottony we’d try and have her throw it up. But how do we manage that? She’d already given it the good college try all night long, so what made us think we’d manage to succeed otherwise?
Well, I’m the vet, right? I have a few tricks up my sleeve. So after the use of a miraculous drug called apomorphine (a teeny pill I dissolved and dispensed under Suzie’s eyelid), she heaved her guts up big-time.
And there they were: three large-ish, nasty-looking, feminine sanitary devices. Now, I have to assume that Suzie’s mom had never before been so happy to see three used tampons. But hey, I’m a vet, so I’m used to a bit of over-excitement over some pretty gross stuff.
Dr. Patty Khuly