Dog needs emergency surgery after taking game of cat and mouse too far

Shih tzu Elmo sits in a kennel at Blue Cross Grimsby animal hospital

A dog visiting his feline friend needed emergency treatment after taking a game of cat and mouse too far.

Three-year-old shih tzu Elmo was having such a great time playing with the cat’s toy mouse that he didn’t want the fun to end. Instead of dropping the toy when his owner tried to retrieve it, Elmo gulped the fluffy doll down instead.

Tracy Nicholson, Veterinary Nurse at Blue Cross Grimsby animal hospital, said: “Elmo had been visiting his owner’s friend when he spotted the cat’s toy mouse. He grabbed it in his mouth and swallowed it whole!”

Worried that the toy could do Elmo some damage, his worried owner rushed him to our Lincolnshire-based animal hospital where we examined him straightaway. Although it was a weekend, our Grimsby team are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and our doors are always open to pets in an emergency.

Testing times

“We gave Elmo a general anaesthetic so we could locate the toy without causing him any distress. To do this we X-rayed Elmo and also used a special camera on a thin tube, called an endoscope, to take a good look inside his stomach,” explained Tracy.

If we had left the toy where it was, it more than likely would have caused a blockage in Elmo’s digestive system rather than passing through naturally Tracy Nicholson, Veterinary Nurse at Grimsby animal hospital

Because the mouse had made its way into Elmo’s stomach where it was irretrievable, our veterinary surgeon had to open up his stomach to get the toy out.

“If we had left the toy where it was, it more than likely would have caused a blockage in Elmo’s digestive system rather than passing through naturally,” said Tracy. “Elmo’s really lucky that his owner was so quick-thinking in bringing him to us for help, as sadly blockages in the gut are very serious and can be fatal.”

Mouse toy eaten by dog Elmo
The mouse toy was still intact when we removed it from Elmo's gut

Round the clock care

We monitored the little dog closely while he recovered from his ordeal, placed him on a drip and gave him antibiotics to fight off any potential infection. He wasn’t out of the woods quite yet, and we made sure he got the intensive nursing he needed to get better as quickly as possible.

Poor Elmo was quite sick immediately after his operation, and was off his food for a time, so we kept him in for an extra night so we could keep a watchful eye on him. Elmo’s owner popped in to visit him, which gave him a real boost.

Tracy said: “Thankfully it wasn’t too long before Elmo began to appear much brighter and more active, and we were able to call his worried owner to take him home.

“He is now back to eating and enjoying food again, but we have given him strict instructions to avoid eating mice!”

— Page last updated 15/09/2016