2013 X-ray Contest Winners: They Ate What?

California vets win top honors in the 2013 They Ate What? contest.

California vets win top honors

The name of Veterinary Practice News’ annual radiograph contest—"They ate WHAT?”—is especially appropriate this year. The dog in one of the two winning radiographs ingested a long piece of metal that no one could identify.

"The owner had just moved into that house and didn’t know where it came from,” said Ivan Mayor, DVM, of Humane Veterinary Hospital of San Diego in Spring Valley, Calif. "Penelope, a 6-month-old female pit bull, was by herself all day. The owner found her with a rigid neck and drooling when he got home.”

The second winning radiograph found a 10½-inch serrated bread knife in a 6-months- to 1-year-old Jack Russell pup, Maya. The X-ray was submitted by J.R. Hight, DVM, and S.L. Svarvari, DVM, of Sunny Brae Animal Clinic in Arcata, Calif. The knife was surgically removed without incident. Maya was surrendered to the clinic and placed in a safer environment.

Sound-Eklin of Carlsbad, Calif., sponsored the contest. It will award the two winners digital single-lens reflex cameras. The staff of Veterinary Practice News judged the contest.

Another amazing radiograph showed something quite long in a 16-week-old pit bull puppy that had been vomiting pieces of wood. The owners said the only thing missing at home was a back scratcher.

Sure enough, Yoda had eaten the back scratcher, ball-end first, so it slid all the way in. It was removed in surgery.

Trends seen in entries

Veterinary Practice News Editor Marilyn Iturri said that this year’s radiograph contest entries showed some trends.

"Two dogs nearly choked to death on balls,” she said.

"Luckily, one ball was made with a lot of holes, which let the dog keep breathing. The second ball had one hole, which was enough that the dog could breathe. Luckily, the owners got the dogs to their vets quickly and both survived.”

Both dogs were German shepherds.

Radiographs of hair ties in cats are a contest mainstay. The contest receives several such entries every year, and this year was no exception. But there were two twists on the theme.

"One X-ray found what turned out to be 70 hair ties in a dog’s stomach,” Iturri said. "Having a dog with the ties was a first for us.

"In another case, owners took their cat in for its annual exam, and the vet found a hard mass. The owners said OK to an X-ray, which showed something indiscernible. But instead of allowing surgery to check it out, they opted for euthanasia. The veterinarian did a necropsy, and the ‘mass’ turned out to be hair ties.”

Iturri said all the entries were great, and good reason for owners to keep closer watch on their animals. Some of the emailed copies were not of high enough resolution to reproduce well in the magazine, she said. So some X-rays might not appear here only for technical reasons.

"Many thanks to readers for sharing their radiographs with us,” said Chrissy Laughlin, director of marketing for Sound-Eklin, sponsor of the contest. Sound-Eklin has sponsored the contest since its inception in 2005.

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