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Dog ate maxi pad.

Species: Dog
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Age: 5-8 years
My wife and I left for a 24 day holiday. Three of our kids remained at home. Our cocker we think within a a couple days of us leaving got into our daughters trash and ate a maxi pad...at the time the kids just saw some kleenex strewn on floor and did not realize what was eaten. A few days later she began to vomit and not eat mlmuch. She went to the vet and was given amoxill for what he thought was a throat infection. She perked up a bit. We got back last Friday and she had been occasionally vomiting a bit. On Saturday she vomited twice and then on the third one a very large mass came up.....you could see the plastic and quilting of the pad but a hard greenish mass had formed. I was amazed at the size considering our cocker is 28lbs.

We have been to the vet the last 3 days...each day he has given Tessa to anti biotic shots and given her 500 cc of IV fluid. He took blood today and did an xray that showed nothing. Tessa is not eating or drinking....she sleeps all day. we are naturally very concerned....she is peeing and tries to poop but just a clear slime comes out.....her temp today was 103.6...Sunday was 104 and yesterday 103. Do you think we should proceed with surgery or give it a bit more time. Her last food was Sat. and we are using a syringe to give her water through the day....thank you! Kevin


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It always surprises me what animals will eat. I have seen a few dogs who have eaten a maxi pad and then passed it through. For some reason the dogs whom I have seen do this in the past were Golden Retrievers. Obviously these dogs were much bigger than Tessa.

What you have described has me very concerned.

The type of material that is in a maxi pad may not always show up on xray. Sometimes we do a special type of xray called a barium xray. This is where we give a liquid that shows up really well on xrays. If there are pieces of maxi pad in there, then they would suck up the barium and it would be very visible on xray. However, there are risks with giving barium because if we end up having to do surgery then having extra barium in the intestines can make surgery very difficult.

From what you have described, if this were my case I would be doing surgery right this minute. We have knowledge that she ate a maxi pad, and it sounds like not all of the pad came up in the vomit. This means there is a good chance that there is still some in there. She is trying to have a bowel movement and not able to. This supports the theory that a foreign object is in there.

What really has me concerned is the fever. I really hope that the fever is not because of intestinal perforation. The pad obviously doesn't have sharp edges but if it gets stuck in the intestines, the intestines can eventually lose blood supply and can start to break down. This would cause infection that can cause a fever.

The other cause for a fever could be pain.

Now there are other possibilities other than a foreign object such as a condition called pancreatitis. However, we really should see significant changes on bloodwork if this is the case.

Your vet will likely advise you on what is best to do, but if they are at all thinking about doing surgery I would definitely do this as soon as possible. I have had a couple of cases where we have waited too long to do surgery. If we wait too long and the intestines have perforated then the dog may not survive. Unfortunately I have seen this happen.

If, for some reason there is no foreign object, then there is no harm in doing surgery. Yes, you will have spent more money, but Tessa will recover just fine. I have also had several cases where we did surgery and did not find anything, but somehow the dog recovered after the surgery was done. This happens so commonly that vets joke that the "change in air" in the abdomen can cure a dog.

I really hope that your dog does ok!

Dr. Marie

(p.s. I just got your email wondering where your response was. I had a lot to say...and can only type so fast. Sorry it took so long, but I wanted to get a lot of points in.)


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Sorry to be impatient waiting. Thanks very much for the reply...we do have the option of surgery tomorrow and will go ahead with it. Your reply, while not easing our worries at this time, were most informative and certainly opened our eyes to having Tessa examined inside as soon as possible. We know this illness is very serious and we just are hoping and praying that Tessa will be able to be saved at this time. Thank you again...Kevin


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome! Feel free to reply again tomorrow if you have more questions before or after surgery.

I pray that everything goes well!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Dr. Marie....I just thought I would update you about our Tessa. When they did surgery on Wednesday things seemed very grim. We met with the vet early in the morn and he was very concerned as her liver blood counts were off the board. When they went in they found though her liver looked quite good but her gall bladder was the size of an egg. It was removed and no other blockages were found. He said it was the first gall bladder he had removed in years. Tessa has remained on IV since and receiving antibiotic shots. Her breathing is quite rapid and shallow.....hopefully her body can get rid of the toxic wastes and gradually get back her strengths. Thank you for your well wishes. Kevin


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Interesting. Thank you for the update. I wonder if the gall bladder issue was connected to the maxi pad ingestion at all.

It sounds like she is in excellent hands. I hope she does ok!

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.