A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another: Jade's Story

There are dogs who are picky eaters and turning down one meal won't get you reaching for the car keys. There are dogs who might have a chronic condition, such as Jasmine did, and refusing a meal every now and then just meant that her inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was acting up.

With most dogs, though, walking away from a full bowl is a big red flag.

A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another: Jade's Story of Intestinal Obstruction

Jade is a young, vibrant Doberman. Active and always hungry. When one morning she refused her breakfast, it was a big red flag.

Jade is three years old, and this has never happened before.

You can still assume that something didn't agree with her and that once she gets it out of her system, she'll bounce right back. One turned-down meal may or may not send you to a veterinarian.

Then, however, Jade didn't want to go for her regular walk either.

Any one of these things would have had Jade's dad concerned but two? Something was seriously wrong. Jade's dad did not hesitate and brought her to a vet right that moment.

During an examination, Jade did look dull and dejected, but there were no apparent clues as to why.

Her abdomen seemed uncomfortable, but that could be caused by a number of different problems.

Blood work didn't show much out of the ordinary either, except generic clues of inflammation.

How likely, at this point, would your vet be to send you back home with "some stomach medication" to see what happens?

How likely would you be to follow that recommendation? In how many cases, say out of a hundred, do you think that would be a good thing to do?

Jade's veterinarian, fortunately, continued to look for a definite explanation.

He took Jade for x-rays. Jade's intestine was much fuller of gas than would be normal and in the middle of all that there was a suspicious shadow, measuring about 3 x 5 cm.

Jade's intestine was fully obstructed by something she has eaten but shouldn't have.

Jade needed immediate surgery. The offending object was wedged in place so firmly, her intestine had to be cut just to get it out.

Naturally, it's extremely important to suture everything water-tight to avoid any leakage of the intestinal content; otherwise, you'd be looking at the danger of a life-threatening peritonitis. This could happen days following the surgery. Jade's veterinarian did a meticulous job, though.

What was the object blocking Jade's intestine?

Corn on the cob. Believe it or not, corn on the cob is one of the most common causes of obstruction in dogs. This stuff does not digest, and the shape and rough surface seem ideal for plugging things completely.

Jade has recovered fully.

But she also might have died. The only clue her dad had was one skipped meal, and one skipped walk.

Know your dog, seek answers. And keep corn cobs away from your dog.

Read Jade's original story here.

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What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards: