Case of the Month: Sand Ingestion
This 12 year-old dog presented to us last summer for being very lethargic and having severe, uncontrollable, bloody vomiting and diarrhea. Upon examination we discovered that he had a fever of 103.5 and had spent a considerable amount of time on the beach in the last 48 hours. He was nearly unresponsive and his prognosis was guarded.
A lateral radiograph of his abdomen gave us insight into why he was so sick. The blue areas highlight large pockets of air within the loops of his small intestines. The red areas show us just a few of the sections of his small intestines that were filled with sand. The purple areas show what we later found to be small pieces of coral.
This VD radiograph shows red areas of sand and blue areas of air in the small intestines. The patient was hospitalized and placed on IV fluids. He was treated with three separate antibiotics, an acid reducer for the stomach, and an anti-emetic (to stop his vomiting). His treatment was aimed at controlling his infection, stopping his vomiting and diarrhea, and allowing his GI tract to heal.
After 3 days here at the River Road Veterinary Clinic, he was finally feeling better. He made great strides and was able to stand, walk, and wag his tail! He passed 2 small pieces of coral in his stool, his temperature returned to normal and he stopped vomiting. His diarrhea subsided and he was allowed to eat very small meals of a bland canned diet.
His final radiograph showed a much smaller area of air (in blue) and sand in the large intestine (in red) indicating that it was passing out of his body. He was sent home on oral medications and continues to improve at home. This patient’s fun trip to the beach ended in a very scary situation for his owners, as well as a very costly bill! Luckily he is making a full recovery, and hopefully his story will serve to teach others about the dangers of sand ingestion.