Bailey the Labrador had been losing her appetite for two days.
Within a few minutes of eating any food it was brought back up again.

We had two reasons to be very concerned about her symptoms:
1.  Labradors hardly ever lose their appetite!
2.  There was a possibility she was regurgitating the food rather than vomiting it back up.

When patients regurgitate food it comes up with no abdominal effort … undigested food almost falls back out of the mouth. In contrast, vomiting involves active contraction of the abdominal muscles and a ‘heaving’ effort. Regurgitation is a serious symptom as it often signifies disease of the esophagus (the tube taking food from the mouth, through the chest, to the stomach).

A chest x-ray showed an obstruction was present in her esophagus.

S= Spine

T = Trachea (wind pipe)

H = Heart

Dots = Outline of obstruction

This was a dangerous condition for Bailey as the esophagus is quickly damaged by obstructions and is not an easy area to approach surgically due to it’s location adjacent to the heart and lungs.

Fortunately VetCare Tauranga is equipped with endoscopic facilities to enable retrieval of obstructions via the mouth. Bailey was anaesthetised and a flexible fibre-optic scope (endoscope) passed into her mouth and down into the esophagus. A large chunk of beef hip (ball and socket joint) was jammed tightly into the lower part of the esophagus.

With patience and care, a large pair of extracting forceps was used to gently retrieve the bone. The scopes video camera allowed fine manipulations to be made during this retrieval to ensure the esophagus was protected from further damage.

Bailey felt hugely relieved when she woke up and was ready to run home the next day.
She was put on medication to help the tissue heal and had several days on a water diet before being allowed food again.