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Case File

Max and his blockage

by Amy Parsons BVSc MRCVS

Max presented on a Friday afternoon with acute diarrhoea and pain on eating. As part of her examination Amy did a rectal exam which revealed a massively distended colon.

The decision was made to X-ray Max and the results were quite impressive. Max's stomach was extremely large, so big that we almost couldn't see anything else on the Xray, there was also a gravel like appearance to the contents. This gravel like appearance can indicate a blockage and so Max was prepped for surgery straight away. Examination of the intestines showed no blockage, however there was no movement in the intestines (peristalsis). This condition is called Ileus. Amy decided to open the stomach and clear the contents, these included some straw, wood chip, a stone and a lot of food, all of which may have caused a partial blockage but didn't quite explain the clinical signs.

Once the contents were emptied the abdomen was flushed with 3 litres of saline to try to reduce the risk of peritonitis. Max was given medication to treat diarrhoea, to encourage peristalsis of gut, to treat any acid reflux from regurgitation, and strong pain relief and antibiotics. Max's recovery was extremely slow and he was in daily for blood tests to make sure he was not loosing protein from the gut, he was on IV fluids for 4 days and strong pain relief. Several blood tests were sent away to try to determine what may have caused the Ileus as conditions such as Addisons or Hypothyroidism may be underlying. All of Max's tests came back clear.

Max has since been on a food trail of a hypoallergenic food (one which he can't have an allergic reaction to) for two weeks now and is gaining weight, his owner reports that he is the happiest he has seen him a long time, leaving us to suspect that an underlying Irritable Bowel Disease may be the cause.