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Boxer w/ Internal Blockage

Boxer Dog Stomach and Intestinal Blockage

What Can Happen When a Boxer Dog Swallows Something


You already know the basics of keeping your Boxer puppy or dog safe; however the following is a harrowing story of just what can happen when a Boxer swallows something that causes blockage. This can range from swallowing a non-food item such as a sock or a large chunk of food that was not properly chewed or is hard to digest. 

Here are some things that you should know:

1) This can happen to a Boxer of any age. Owners of new puppies are always told 'puppy proof the house!' however one reason for placing this article is to warn you that a Boxer of any age and any weight is fully capable of swallowing something that can cause dangerous and sometimes fatal blockage.

2) A Boxer dog is 100% capable of mouthing and then swallowing (either accidentally or on purpose) the most bizarre items that you could imagine. 

The most common item that this breed mouths and somehow swallows that causes serious problems is socks. Why this is, one can only guess. However, nothing is off limits for this breed.

3) Ahead you'll read an article by a guest writer whose Boxer dog suffered quite a bit after ingesting something that caused blockage in his stomach and intestines. He almost lost his life.
Then, we're going to go over some steps that you should take to help prevent this sort of thing from happening to your puppy or dog. 

Cornell AKA the $4500 Dog - Written by owner Karen Richmond

August 2014 - Our story begins here. Our Cornell was a happy, healthy 73 lb., 4 year old Boxer, sharing our house with 3 Boxer siblings. 

August 15th - I left WV for TN to attend my sister’s wedding. Daddy was left in charge of the furbabies!

August 18th- I arrived home to find some bathroom items chewed up all over the floor. There wasn't anything that caught my attention as being significant, so I cleaned up the mess and didn't give it much thought. I asked hubby what they got into and he said he didn't know. (We had a cabinet in our ½ bath and the bathroom door was left opened- a big no no- and the dogs must have pried the cabinet door opened).
Boxer dog right before blockage
August 25th- As I came downstairs in the morning I noticed a sizable puddle of clear fluid all over the floor. Since I have 4 Boxers, I had no idea who the culprit was. I cleaned it up and took them out to do their business. I noticed Cornell was having difficulty pooping – just little drops of a thick, black goo. 

Cornell and Bella have been known to eat Daddy’s socks when he doesn't pick them up, so I thought maybe that was the problem. I called our vet to see what they thought I should do. Of course they told me to bring him right in. (We only live a few miles from the office). He hadn't been acting sick, but the fact that he wasn't chasing the cats was a clue that he wasn't his true self.

Dr. Jones examined him and sent him to the back for x-rays. The x-ray showed a large gas bubble in his stomach and several boomerang shaped bubbles in his intestines. There was no way to see what exactly the cause was. They drew blood and took a stool sample. While waiting for results, he threw up again, literally flooding the exam room floor with clear, foul smelling fluid. 

They asked to do surgery – and I left my sweet guy there. Before surgery they did a procedure to see if barium would pass through his system, which it didn't, so they knew there was blockage.

Editor's Note: Take note that this Boxer appeared to have swallowed the item causing the blockage 7 days before showing the first sign that something was wrong. 

The time that lapses between mouthing something, swallowing it and having it cause blockage problems can vary from almost immediately to up to 10 days later.

7 PM - Surgery began around 7 PM. I anxiously waited for a phone call. It was after 10 PM before Dr. Jones called. Cornell had swallowed a partial roll of medical tape. The roll was lodged in his stomach. A section (over 12” long) had entered his intestines and pulled them in accordion style. It took a very tedious, lengthy process to “weave” tape through his intestines and out the incision. They then flushed out his abdominal cavity with two bottles of a solution and sewed him up. It would be touch and go.

Editor's Note: As you can see, if a Boxer swallows something like this, it can cause blockage not only in the stomach, but also in the intestines as it winds its way through the dog's body. This could have happened with any item that is able to lengthen after being swallowed.
Boxer dog on medications
The next morning I went to the vet to see him. He was resting on a heated bed. He was on morphine, antibiotics and other medications. 

That evening they told me his incision wasn't looking good. 

If it wasn't better by the next day, they would have to do further surgery.
Boxer dog resting after surgery
My Boxer dog was miserable. He kept crying out. I just pet him and cried with him, it was so sad.
August 27th - Dr. Jones called me late afternoon on the 27th and said she really needed to open him back up and see what was going on. So she went back in. She called me that evening and said he was ravaged with infection and they didn’t expect him to make it through the night. They didn’t re-stitch the incision, but put a mesh body suit on him to keep the bandages in place. She took cultures and sent them out to see if they could pinpoint the cause of the infection.
I texted everyone I knew and went on FaceBook- asking everyone to pray for my boy. I know that God created him and loves him more than I do.   

I would visit him several times a day, encouraging him to fight, placing my hand on his stomach and praying for healing. The vets were amazed that each time they checked on him he showed a little more improvement! He wasn't able to eat, because every time they gave him pain medicine, he would vomit. So we played the waiting game.

August 29th - On Saturday, August 29, they said he was doing so well that on Tuesday (they were closed Labor Day) they might be able to sew him back up. Monday was a tough day. We couldn’t visit. I didn’t want him feel abandoned and get depressed.

September 2nd - Tuesday morning, September 2nd, Dr. Jones called and said that she was going to close him up. It was a miracle – I couldn't believe his improvement. I went to visit him pre-op. He wouldn't even look at me! But I didn't take offense... 
Boxer dog resting after blockage
Boxer dog after blockage surgery
Cornell was pretty out of it after surgery. Bless his heart! Dr. Jones said he looked much better, but his insides were so ravaged by infection, it was like sewing hamburger together! 
September 3rd- Still sleepy, but improving. They did not bandage the incision this time, so it could drain. The poor kennel workers had to change his bedding many times each day. 
September 4th - This was the first day of walking. And it really seemed to boost his morale.  

The only problem with the walk the first few days was his seepage. The dear workers had to follow us with a mop to clean up the mess. He actually pooped the first time I took him out, which was a very good sign. 

The cultures came back on the 4th. He had two infections. The first was being treated with the IV antibiotic. However, the 2nd needed a very strong medication that was only in pill form.  So, they took him off pain medication and started food. 

At this point, he hadn't had anything to eat in 10 days and lost at least 13 lbs. However, now he tolerated food with no complications, so they began the pills that evening. The change was amazing. 
Boxer dog walking
September 5th - Cornell’s incision began to dry up. 

Later that day he had to take on 'The Cone', as he was feeling pretty spunky and found his stitches. 

He caught on to the fact that when I took him for a walk he was released from the cone, so he always tried to escape when the kennel door was opened. 
His appetite came back and he was being fed several times a day.
Boxer dog with cone
September 7th - On Sunday the Vet’s office is only opened for one hour. I went to visit and he was in his kennel with no IV’s (the machines were gone) and he was looking so happy. Dr. Jones came in and I asked “Going home?”… YES!  

We are forever grateful to the Parkersburg Animal Hospital in Parkersburg, WV for working so hard to save our baby. 

Dr. Jones said that no one there (6 vets in all) thought Cornell would pull through. He shouldn’t have made it by all medical standards. Dr. Jones was especially dedicated to my Boxer and his recovery. She even went in after hours and on her days off to check on him. 
She called me several times a day as well as talked with me each time I would visit. Dr. Jones is our hero!
Boxer dog recovering
September 9th - His stitches on September 9th. Healing nicely. His antibiotic was so potent that I had to wear gloves to handle it.
September 11th - 14 days after his initial surgery, Emily (my niece) and I took the pack for a walk at the City Park. He so enjoyed it.
September 13th - Looking so much better. He wasn't messing with the stitches, so he was relieved of the cone. Other than fur missing from his belly and his legs (where IV’s had been taped), he looked wonderful.
Boxer dog is better
We had a small scare in October when he began vomiting, but it turned out to be gastritis. A few days on an anti-nausea pill and the problem was gone.

Then the first week in November, I had to take him in due to a swollen paw. He had stepped on something and it was infected (ugh). I told Cornell he was just making up reasons to visit all his girl friends at the Vet’s office! He is definitely a staff favorite now. While at this visit for his paw, Dr. Casto checked his stomach. 

She said she couldn't believe how “normal” it felt. She expect lumps or knots. (Said she would love to take a peek inside and see what it looks like, but that isn't an option)!!!!!
So, that is our story of Cornell, the $4500 dog (that was the final bill). We’ll be paying on that for several months.

Editor's Note:

From the time that this Boxer dog swallowed the tape that caused the terrifying blockage, it took 7 days to show signs and then an additional 3 weeks of treatment, surgery and recovery.

We want to thank Karen so much for sharing this story of her awesome Boxer - along with all of the photos - in order to let all of you know just what a Boxer puppy or dog is capable of swallowing and the scary aftermath of what can happen. Thanks, Karen, you rock! 
Cornell today! A bit over 70 lbs. and 4.5 years old.

We can't decide if he looks guilty or innocent, but there's no denying how incredibly cute he is!

It feels great to see that he's doing so awesome!

Don't let your Boxer suffer through this same type of horrifying experience. 

Let's read on below to see exactly what he ingested and steps you can take to keep your own Boxer puppy or dog safe from internal blockage. 
What a Boxer is Capable of Swallowing

Karen was kind enough to take a photo of the exact object that her Boxer ingested. Here you will see that this roll of cloth medical tape is 1 inch wide and about 2 inches in diameter. 

As we mentioned above, this breed can ingest anything at all that is able to fit in his mouth.

Keeping Your Boxer Safe From Blockage

Boxers are super curious and even if they have the company of other dogs - as Cornell did in this case - a Boxer puppy or dog may still have an urge to rummage through cabinets or find anything that he can on the floor. Again, nothing is off limits! 

Here are some tips to keep your dog safe:

1) Never assume that items are out of the way just because they are placed in a cabinet. If a drawer, cupboard or any other container is within reach of a Boxer he is able to reach what is inside if it is not locked tight. 

For any items that can physically fit into his mouth, place them up high enough that they cannot be reached. If things need to go into lower cabinets, use baby-proof locks.

2) If you notice that things look disturbed and your Boxer may have gotten into something, assume that your Boxer swallowed something until proven otherwise.

Even if he is not showing signs of blockage or any problems, the item may be in his stomach and perhaps on its way to his intestines. Do the best you can to take count of what may be missing. Watch him very carefully for any symptom that something is wrong.

3) In this Boxer's case, the first sign of trouble was vomiting clear liquid. This may or may not be the first sign with other dogs. It will vary depending on where the blockage is- stomach or intestines - and if it is a partial or a complete blockage.

Here is a list of symptoms that a dog has a blockage. A Boxer dog may have just 1 of these signs, some of them or all of them:
  • Vomiting - This may be food, a combination of food and fluids, colored fluid or clear fluid.
  • Restlessness - The Boxer dog may be unable to relax, may pace, and/or have trouble sitting or lying down. 
  • Bloating - There may or may not be abdominal bloat.
  • Trouble having a bowel movement. There may be straining and any feces that do come out may look abnormal.
  • Diarrhea, Bloody Diarrhea and/ or Weakness -  These symptoms are often due to damage to the lining of the intestine and/or bowel ischemia - a condition in which blood flow to the bowels is restricted. This can cause a high level of toxins to be flushed into the Boxer's blood stream which then causes severe weakness and/or diarrhea (often with fresh blood visible in it).
Take your Boxer to the veterinarian or closest animal hospital the moment that you suspect that he may have swallowed something and could have a blockage. Every second counts and it's better to be safe than sorry. 

A Final Thought 

If Karen hadn't called the vet and brought her Boxer to the office when she did, he may have not survived. As you read, not only did he need to fight through the surgery, he also had a slew of infections afterward.

This is such a serious potential danger for your Boxer, who is fully able to swallow ANY non-food item that fits in his/her mouth. Please take the time - today - to go over each room in your house to permanently find a new home for all potential problems. Reorganize your cupboards and obtain locking mechanisms for cabinets as needed.

This holds true for a Boxer of any age: Puppy, adult or senior. Since this is one medical emergency that can be prevented in many cases, let's all agree to do what is needed to keep our Boxers from safe from blockage.
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