GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rex the beagle chased a rabbit into the woods and came back with little more than a sneeze.
The culprit: a stick nearly five inches long, lodged deep inside Rex’s left nostril.
It all began in April, when Rex’s owner Mark Kovicak took him to Hillcrest Dog Park in Grand Rapids. Right outside of the park, Kovicak’s 2-year-old beagle sprinted away from him, chasing after a rabbit. Rex came back with a nosebleed and began sneezing.
Kovicak took Rex to a veterinarian who prescribed antibiotics and looked in Rex’s nostrils to see if anything could have gotten caught inside. Nothing was visible. The antibiotics helped somewhat, but Rex continued to suffer sneezing fits and nosebleeds every day.
Rex received more medication after visiting Sharpe at BluePearl’s Grand Rapids hospital in May. It helped somewhat, but the sneezing continued. Sharpe suggested a CT scan to see if any “foreign body” might have gotten stuck inside Rex’s snout.
Although X-rays are great tools for viewing metal objects – think of a dog who swallows a penny – a CT scanner does a better job at viewing non-metallic, organic objects. CT scanners are sophisticated imaging machines that were developed for human medicine, and which are now used at many BluePearl hospitals to provide an advanced level of veterinary diagnostics.
In this case, the results were dramatic. Using the CT machine, Sharpe saw what appeared to be a long straight object inside Rex’s nasal passageway. With Rex under anesthesia, he also conducted a rhinoscopy, using a small tube with a light and lens, to view the object from inside the nostril and also from the very back of Rex’s throat.
Sharpe then used a tool called a “nasal biopsy forceps” to remove what turned out to be a stick. The problem had been solved.
Sharpe gave the good news to Kovicak on Friday Oct. 1. “I felt like hugging him,” Kovicak said. “Honestly, I had tears of joy.”
Just a few days later, Kovicak said Rex already seems happier and bouncier, like his old self. “He is an absolute machine when he’s playing. He will go in circles and circles, soil flying everywhere. All the dogs want to play with him.”
Sharpe said he and all his colleagues at BluePearl are happy they helped make Rex better.
“There often can be a good prognosis when dogs display the signs that Rex had,” Sharpe said. “Sometimes it takes these bigger diagnostics to know for sure. We’re just glad that Rex can now return to a good quality of life.”