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“Dr C, help me! My male dog looks like he’s having a baby!”

dvm360dvm360 March 2023
Volume 54
Issue 3
Pages: 9

A story from Adam Christman, DVM, MBA

maxoidos / stock.adobe.com

maxoidos / stock.adobe.com

You never forget those wild cases you see. They include foreign bodies, odd presentations, and stories upon stories we can share with the next generation.

I’ll never forget Marmaduke, a handsome and goofy 2-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever. The presenting complaint in our appointment scheduler read, “Mom thinks the dog is pregnant.” I remember walking up to the client service representative (CSR) and asking, “Are you certain this is the correct patient? The Marmaduke I know had

his testicles removed 6 months ago.” My CSR looked up at me and said, “Dr Christman, I triple-checked, and even Mom thinks this is very bizarre.”

I continued to go about my day seeing my appointments but couldn’t get this case out of my head. My wonderful veterinary technician examined the dog and told me, “Marmaduke is completely stable, wagging his tail, normal temperature, normal gum color, doesn’t look like bloat. And yeah, he looks pregnant, doc!”

I knew this dog parent very well, and we had had good, productive, and educational conversations before. When I walked into the exam room, she said, “Please tell me this is one of those amazing oddities that you have never seen before, Dr C.”

I looked at this handsome, tail-wagging, goofy dog and performed my physical exam on him. As I began to palpate his abdomen, I asked, “Did he happen to leave your site at all today?”

“Yes! The golden retriever across the street is in heat and he ran out to see her! Is it possible?” she said.

I knew I had struggled with theriogenology in veterinary school, but the last time I had checked, this was by far impossible. And yet I had to stop and think about this. As soon as I did my abdominal palpation, I knew this goofball had gotten into something his mom wasn’t ready to comprehend. His abdomen was severely distended (I could see why everyone thought he looked pregnant), very firm, but not painful.

I went ahead and delved a little deeper into the history about this supposed miraculous conception that may have occurred across the street. I asked her, “Where exactly did this interaction occur?”

“In the garage, why?”

“I believe your boy got into Gorilla Glue.”

“Gorilla WHAT?”

“Gorilla Glue. Just a small amount of consumption can cause significant expansion in the abdomen and make dogs look as if they are pregnant. Let me take an x-ray and see what this looks like.”

Not only had this gorgeous goofball ingested gorilla glue, but he had also swallowed 60 one-inch nails! How in the world was this boy wagging his tail and jumping around the exam room, acting so proud of what he got himself into? Well, after I spent 5 hours peeling the incredibly expansive glue from the stomach mucosa and retrieving the nails buried within the glue, Marmaduke recovered beautifully from his procedure. When I called his mom to notify her he was out of surgery and doing well, she jokingly asked me, “Are you sure you didn’t see any cute labra-goldies in there?”

I share this case with you because National Poison Prevention Week is from March 19 to 25. Toxicology can present and manifest in so many ways. In fact, toxicology is so challenging because of the many different clinical signs our patients may exhibit. Some signs may be instantly observable, whereas some signs may take days to manifest themselves.

I also share this case because of the importance of history-taking. Veterinary medicine can often be a detective game, which makes it rewarding but challenging. Everyone on my team that day played a vital role. The CSR knew that something was up and needed to be seen right away (Mom was initially going to wait and see whether the swelling went down). The veterinary technician examined the dog beautifully, knowing bloat was not the issue but that something was up. As veterinary professionals, we chiseled away at the etiology to identify a diagnosis with a great outcome.

So in case anyone was wondering, yes! Gorilla Glue causes problems! The ingestion of isocyanate polyurethane adhesives (Sika, Selleys, Gorilla Glue, etc) can result in serious gastric complications in dogs. If swallowed, these glues can expand to a size that may cause an obstruction of your dog’s stomach, and emergency surgery may be necessary.

Keep out of reach of children, including pets, especially if their name is Marmaduke.

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