That time a veterinarian’s dog swallowed a 7-inch wooden skewer

BLAINE, Minn. – Veterinarians all know that trouble enters dogs’ mouths – they’ll eat just about anything.  But for Dr. Donnell Hansen and her colleagues, it took several days of detective work to understand why her 2-year-old dog Cricket had suddenly gotten so sick.

Doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners finally learned that Cricket’s pain began with lefcricket1tovers of chicken sate, brought home from a Thai restaurant.

And the problem was not the chicken itself. It was the 7-inch wooden skewer that Cricket, a pit bull mix, swallowed along with it.

Hansen, who is board-certified in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery, noticed on Saturday and Sunday that Cricket was feeling down, seemingly in pain, her body hunched over. Her husband, who is a private practice veterinarian, did an X-ray.

Nothing conclusive showed up. A metal skewer would have been visible, but the wooden one was not.

Hansen brought Cricket in to her colleagues at BluePearl, looking for additional clues.  On Wednesday  Dr. Andrew Jackson of BluePearl conducted exploratory surgery and discovered the problem: The wooden skewer.

When Hansen saw it, two thoughts immediately flashed through her mind. The first was: “Oh my gosh, that’s really horrible and painful.” Her second thought was: “I know where that skewer came from.”

cricket3Hansen had eaten lunch at a Thai restaurant with friends on the previous Thursday – nearly a week earlier. She had brought home some leftovers as dinner for her children. No one saw exactly what happened. But one way or another, the skewer – and quite likely, some of the tasty chicken – wound up inside Cricket.

The skewer went all through Cricket’s stomach and punctured her spleen.

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending. Cricket is now doing much better and is ready to go home Friday evening.

And Hansen said the whole episode provides an important lesson for everyone who has a dog: Be careful of what they might get into.

“Just be very aware what you eat, and throw away your leftovers, because they’ll take it and gobble it up,” she said.