Eye on the Ball


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Recently, an acquaintance of ours stopped by for a visit.  He told us that he had
just had his collie put to sleep, and that it was one of the toughest decisions he
had ever made in his life.  The Collie has been a much loved family pet and had
always been healthy: the family just couldn't understand why she had gotten so ill
so quickly.   He explained that they found the dog in the kitchen vomiting one morning,
and that the vomiting continued through the day. That evening, they took her to the
veterinarian,  who checked her over, gave them some medication for the vomiting,
and sent her home.  Thinking that her condition needed to run its course,  the family
gave her time to recover.  However, things got worse: every time she ate or drank, 
she was sick  A second trip to the veterinarian for a series of tests and x-rays turned
up nothing.  Since she was quite dehydrated at this point, she was given intravenous
fluids for the next two days. The family picked up their collie on Friday, expecting that
all was well. That was not the case.

By Saturday night, the vomiting returned, and she would only lie still on the kitchen
floor. Signs of severe weakness were becoming apparent.  Since it was the weekend,
they took their dog to the emergency clinic on the other side of town.  Again, the tests
and x-rays; again no diagnosis.  Because of her dehydrated and weakened condition,
the clinic hospitalized her until her regular veterinarian opened on Monday.

Since no diagnosis could be made, the veterinarian suggested exploratory surgery.
They were warned that there was a great possibility that their collie wouldn't make it
through the surgery because she was very weak. There was also the added expense,
perhaps up to $700, to consider. A decision had to be made - a decision that wouldn't
be easy to live with.  Yes, they very much loved their pet, but the possibility of her
recovery was slim. They very sadly said good-bye to their companion of many years.
Because this case was so strange, the veterinarian asked permission to do an autopsy
at no cost to the family.

We talked to him a couple of days later; as dog owners, we, too, were curious about the
results.  The veterinarian found a ball lodged in the intestine of the dog, totally blocking
any passage of food or drink.  Because of it's consistency, it did not show up on the x-ray.
My friend told us that they were quite confused by this discovery: they never played
ball with their dog and they did not even own a ball. She had not only found a ball, she
had swallowed it , and it became lodged in her intestine.

Ball playing is a daily game with our dogs. we pick up the ball, throw it, and the dogs
bring it back. When we eventually tire, the game stops.  But what about the ball?
Our dogs love balls, and they have been allowed to roam

freely with their favorite ball in their mouths. But no more.  If this could happen to a dog
who never played ball, how easily could it happen with a dog that plays ball daily?
We won't take the chance of the same tragedy happening to our dogs that this poor collie
suffered. There are still lots of ball games at our house, but as soon as the games are over,
we're keeping our Eye on the Ball.                                            Written By: Karen Dunaway


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This site was last updated 05/21/10
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