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Case File

‘Gorilla Glue’ Ingestion – a sticky situation

by Mario Amaral DVM PGCertSAM MRCVS

 

George a curious and very energetic French Bulldog, was brought to us on a Friday evening, because he was off his food and vomiting, then retching and trying to vomit unsuccessfully. His owner reported that he had been chewing a small ‘Gorilla Glue’ bottle a couple of days before. This raised immediate concerns to us of a possible gastrointestinal blockage.

Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane glue commonly used in households as adhesive in DIY projects. When in contact with moisture it expands and hardens.

It has a sweet smell and taste that can be attractive to dogs. If ingested when it reaches the stomach it reacts with the gastric juices, expanding and hardening, creating a large foam foreign body, which cannot be ejected by vomiting, causing a gastric blockage that requires surgery to be removed. It is particularly dramatic as a very small volume of the glue expands to a significantly more sizeable foam, which then sets solid.

We advised the owner of our concerns and immediately admitted George for abdominal imaging (Xrays). The Xrays confirmed our concerns, revealing the presence of a gastric foreign body, which meant emergency surgery (gastrotomy) to remove it.

We are pleased to say that surgery was successful, we managed to remove a complete foam mould of George's stomach, and after an overnight stay in our ICU, he was discharged and we are delighted to report he made a full recovery. Here is a picture of him on his last post-op check to remove his sutures, wondering what all the fuss was about!