NOTE: GRAPHIC PHOTOS of Simba's operation below.
When Simba showed signs of tummy pain and vomiting, we feared the worst: an intestinal obstruction from something he must have swallowed. Now Labradors LOVE to investigate EVERYTHING with their mouths … often, unfortunately, going that little bit too far and swallowing whatever they were chewing!
An ultrasound confirmed our fears and I performed an emergency exploratory laparotomy on Simba.
Here is Simba and mum after his stitches have been removed - fully healed and fully recovered. For a full pictorial of Simba's operation, and of the object removed from his intestine - see below.
What I found certainly intrigued us: a partially curled large piece of hard rubber. It had well and truly lodged in Simba's intestine and caused severe damage necessitating the removal of that section of intestine containing the unusual object. The two cut ends of the remaining healthy intestine is then carefully stitched back together again, making sure the two sides are perfectly aligned, and the stitches very close together (approx 1.5mm apart) so that there is no leakage from the join. To further protect the area of the joined intestine, the web-like omentum (see pictures below) is draped over and around the surgery site and stitched in place.
The omentum is an amazing structure. It is the 'guardian' of the abdomen - if there is a leak in the bowel, damage to an organ or through the abdominal wall, the omentum 'sticks' to this area. The omentum then delivers antibodies and disease fighting cells, thickening dramatically into a solid tissue as it defends against bacterial infection and any foreign material, both of which cause life-theatening peritonitis. It is a great 'back-up' for all surgeons performing abdominal surgery to help ensure an excellent result by adding a protective wrap over surgical sites.
When Simba's mum was shown the offending object, she immediately identified it as SImba's partly destroed Kong toy! Now this is HIGHLY unusual - Kongs are the toughest of toys for dogs and I still recommend them constantly to pet owners. My dogs have always enjoyed them and my new puppy has a Kong - of course!
Simba made a full and uneventful recovery !
Below are a series of photographs taken throughout Simba's operation.
Once the distended, firm section of intestine is identified and 'exteriorised' outside of the abdomen, the section containing the foreign object is removed.
The ends of the intestines are brought together (anastamosed), aligned correctly and painstakingly stitched from the side attached to the mesentery (the fleshy sheet-like structure containing blood vessels and which attaches the intestines to the back abdominal wall), right around.
Here I am holding up the web-like Omentum and wrapping it around the anastamosed intestine to ensure any contamination is contained, thus further protecting the rest of the abdomen from possible peritonitis.
After I have completed the full surgery and Simba begins his recovery, I incised the swollen removed section of his intestine to finally see what-on-earth Simba had swallowed. The removed piece of rubber was unidentifiable to us, but Simba's mum recognised it immediately: Simba's Kong (or more accurately, a major part thereof!).