Ultrasound and CT key to revealing the mystery behind a dog's sore left side

August 16, 2016

A dog named Cash back in the hunt thanks to advanced imaging.

Cash, like the famous singer he was named for, was singing the blues after a food indiscretion at a family gathering. (Images courtesy of BluePearl)You know this type of case-an older dog that just isn't acting like himself. The particulars in this one: Cash, a 9-year-old hunting dog, had a decreased appetite, was lagging behind on walks and showed discomfort on his left side. Radiographs taken by his veterinarian at VCA Chanhassen Animal Hospital in Chanhassen, Minnesota, revealed nothing. How to help this dog named for the inimitable Johnny Cash?

Cash was referred to BluePearl in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where an advanced imaging series brought the culprit to the surface. An ultrasonographic examination revealed an enlargement of Cash's left kidney along with fluid buildup in the organ. On to a computed tomography (CT) scan, which revealed a wooden skewer lodged in the stomach-Cash had likely swallowed it accidentally at a family gathering. The radiographs obtained by the referring veterinarian didn't help in this case since wood is typically radiolucent.

The extent of the damage? The skewer had punctured the intestine, had blocked the left kidney and was poking out of Cash's chest, just not through the skin.

Postoperative picture of Cash.Surgery performed at BluePearl to remove the foreign body, repair the intestine and drain the fluid was successful, and Cash is ready to go back on the hunt after recovery.

The guilty skewer after removal.