Every veterinarian has an imposing list of objects eaten by dogs that caused trouble, if not death. First, let us clear the air about ground glass, which over the years has been thought to be a cruel method of killing dogs. Just as ground glass will not kill dogs, so too a myriad of unusual objects pass through the digestive system unobserved. Most rocks, wood splinters, pins, needles, and safety pins seldom create serious problems. However, all of the above have been reported to cause obstruction or harm on occasion. A needle with a piece of thread is not as dangerous as one without, since the thread tends to leave the stomach first and pull the eye end of the needle on through the system without problem.
Foreign Bodies in the Mouth. Dogs frequently get hones or sticks wedged across the top of the mouth so tightly that proper forceps and considerable strength are necessary to dislodge them. Bone chips forced between the teeth sometimes cause gum ulceration. It is not un common to find a dog unable to close its mouth and, upon examination, discover that a tooth has been driven through the center of a short ham bone in such a way that the bone has become a long cap protruding above the tooth. The bone is often so firmly lodged that it is difficult to remove.
One of the more bizarre cases occurred at the University of Pennsylvania Emergency Clinic when a dog was brought in that, on a radiograph, showed in its stomach a long wooden – handled butcher’s knife. It was removed without complication.
Any object that can expand after ingestion is more dangerous than like little roosters’ combs protruding from their clefts and almost touch – in across the back of the throat. It is no wonder that dogs with chronically enlarged tonsils vomit frequently, even though they may not run fevers. They must feel as we would if we were to tickle our own throats with a feather.
But merely finding redness instead of the proper pink color, or small deep red areas perhaps only as large as pinheads, or enlarged tonsils is not a diagnosis. These conditions do not tell you why there is such inflammation or enlargement. To determine the basic cause, one must also have a complete knowledge of temperature, history, and other symptoms. The treatment depends on the disease that is causing the symptoms in evidence. Chronically enlarged tonsils can be removed safely; tonsils enlarged from upper respiratory diseases may not be removed as safely, since the surgery may provide access to the bloodstream for viruses and bacteria, which are ordinarily confined to the mucous layer of tissue. Once in the blood they may do further and more serious damage.
Your veterinarian will prescribe drugs if he or she is sure that the condition is of bacterial origin or if it is necessary to prevent bacteria from developing in the tissue damaged by viruses. But virtually no known drug can cure true virus diseases. Don’t expect it any more than your would expect your doctor to cure your cold or influenza. In both cases, however, some alleviation or easing is possible.