They Ate What? Pet X-Ray Contest 2012 Winners

Find out who won the Veterinary Practice News 2012 “They Ate What?” Pet X-ray Contest.

Follow Veterinary Practice News on Twitter at @vetpetnews

It’s that time of year again. Veterinary Practice News puts out the call for radiographs relating to animals that have eaten weird things. And veterinarians have responded in kind.

As usual, the entries didn’t disappoint. Veterinary Practice News team members, who judged the contest, selected Gary Sloniker, DVM, of Spooner Veterinary Clinic in Spooner, Wis., as this year's grand prize winner. He submitted a radiograph of a Lab puppy who chowed down on a fishing pole.

"This year’s entries show once again how important radiography is to the veterinary practice,” said Greg Stoutenburgh, director of marketing for Sound-Eklin of Carlsbad, Calif., contest sponsor.

Dr. Sloniker wins a digital single lens reflex camera and the two runners-up each win a digital point-and-shoot camera. Be sure to check out all of the winners below.

And if you enjoy this article, please check out these other contest winners:
They Ate What? 2011 Pet X-ray Contest Winners
2013 Pet X-ray Contest Winners: They Ate What?

Grand Prize Winner

Gary Sloniker, DVM
Spooner Veterinary Clinic
Spooner, Wis.

The clients brought in 6-month-old black Lab Bailey, saying the dog had eaten something. They didn’t know what it was, but said they said they could see it poking out by its ribs. The radiograph seemed to show a small fishing pole.

We sedated the dog and pulled the jig pole back up and out its mouth.

The puppy went home the next day and back to its normal puppy life. The owners reported the pole was their most expensive jig pole.

X-ray of dog who ate fishing pole
X-ray of dog that ate fishing pole
Dog who ate fishing pole


Barry A. Lissman, DVM

John Corso, DVM

Howard Camay, DVM

Joseph Palmeri, DVM

Sachem Animal Hospital
Holbrook, N.Y.

A 52-pound, 1–year-old mastiff was presented to Sachem Animal Hospital. The dog had been adopted from a shelter the day before. It had severe diarrhea and coughing, was very thin and not thriving. Abdominal palpation revealed a large, firm foreign body.

Radiographs revealed a large metallic foreign body along with another metallic foreign body.

In surgery, an 8-inch ratchet wrench was removed along with the separated rachet pieces. The dog recovered and improved.

X-ray of dog who ate wrench
X-ray of dog who ate wrench
The swallowed wrench


Harvest Kruggel, CVT
Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center
Medford, Ore.

Our emergency clinic received a call from an owner stating that she believed her 3-month-old bull mastiff had swallowed a very large toy bone. Radiographs revealed an 8-inch by 3-inch rubber bone, plus a handful of rocks in his stomach. We then referred the client to her regular veterinarian, where surgery was performed to remove the items. The puppy recovered, and the owners now keep a very close eye on him.

Dog who swallowed toy bone
Dog who swallowed toy bone

Honorable Mention

Kjerstin Jacobs, DVM
Metropolitan Veterinary Center

Owners noted their 21/2-year-old cat playing with a 40-inch steel guitar string. They left the room briefly and upon return could not locate the string. Dr. Jacobs said, "I can only imagine the effort required on the cat’s part to ingest the whole thing!”

The guitar string spanned the GI tract from the gastric lumen to the ileocolic junction. Surgical removal performed via a single enterotomy was uneventful, and the patient is doing well.

cat who swallowed guitar string
Cat who swallowed guitar string

Honorable Mention

Kim Rue, manager
Dalton Animal Care
Dalton, Ga. 

A 9-year-old female bull mastiff was presented with the owner reporting that the pet had not eaten or drunk water in three days. Upon exam, she was depressed and salivating excessively. Her stomach and intestines were full of air. Doctors suspected that she might have a possible esophageal irritation or stricture and decided to do rads. Upon review, someone on staff exclaimed that the dog had eaten an alien.

This is not an actual object that had to be removed, just a coincidental image that caught our attention. The "alien” appears just above the intestines.

Is that an alien?

Honorable Mention

Kathleen Byrnes, DVM
East Marietta Animal Hospital
Marietta, Ga.

A 3-year-old spayed female Maine coon presented for gagging and vomiting for one week. Exam of the caudal pharyngeal area revealed a small piece of string. Exam of the tongue revealed a 1 mm metallic point protruding from the mid-body of the tongue. X-rays revealed a sewing needle embedded from the root to mid-body of the tongue. The string was cut from the needle and a 12-inch piece was easily removed from the esophagus. The needle was pulled rostrally from the tongue. The patient recovered with no problems.

Cat who swallowed sewing needle
Cat who swallowed sewing needle

Honorable Mention

Joshua Erde, VMD
Pitman Animal Hospital
Pitman, N.J.

A 10-month-old male neutered mixed breed ate a pin cushion with about 40 pins in it. One was stuck in the oropharynx and was pulled out during intubation. We thought we got all the pins out, but post-op rads revealed five pins in the GI tract. As the patient was starting to destabilize under anesthesia, the dog was awakened observed for passing the pins. Over the next two days, the puppy passed all five pins, confirmed by repeat radiographs, and is doing fine.

Dog who swallowed pin cushion

Honorable Mention

Molly Cable, DVM
Christine O’Leary, DVM

Indian Creek Veterinary Hospital
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Cosmo is an 8-year-old male neutered Bichon. He presented for vomiting after ingesting a whole rib bone two days earlier. The cranial abdomen was painful on palpation but all else was within normal limits. Radiographs revealed an intact rib bone extending from the diaphragm to the cranial abdomen. Perforation of the duodenum was of concern. Cosmo was taken into emergency surgery; no perforation was noted. The rib bone was contained completely within the very distended gastric lumen. It was removed easily and Cosmo is doing well.

Dog that swallowed rib

Honorable Mention

J. Elaine Fowell, DVM
East Ventura Animal Hospital
Ventura, Calif.

George, a 10-year-old Australian shepherd, presented for gagging. Radiograph showed the patient had swallowed tweezers, which were successfully extracted using an endoscope.

Dog whow ate tweezers

Honorable Mention

Katie Domann, DVM
Hillside Veterinary Hospital
Salt Lake City, Utah

A client said her dog, Daisy, had vomited a few nails while riding in the car. Radiographs revealed that Daisy had a lot of nails in her stomach and a few in her small intestine. More than 100 finishing nails were removed via two gastronomy incisions. Post-surgical radiographs showed a few nails had escaped detection, but these passed and Daisy recovered uneventfully. The nails had been put into her water bowl (by a naughty neighbor boy), and the unsuspecting Daisy lapped them right up.

Dog who ate nails
Dog who ate nails

Honorable Mention

Dana Ellis, practice manager
Neartown Animal Clinic
Houston, Texas

A 46-pound English bulldog swallowed a 9-inch screwdriver. Dog did very well after cranial laparotomy and gastrotomy. However, after he woke up, he promptly ate his intravenous injection port.

Dog who ate a screwdriver
Dog who ate a screwdriver

Honorable Mention

Jeff Sutton, DVM
Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital
Biloxi, Miss.

Kitty Kitty, an 18-month-old neutered male domestic short-haired cat, presented for possible electrocution. The owner found him lying near the electric cord of a floor lamp. He had defecated on the floor and the electric cord had bite marks on it.

On presentation he was quiet, alert and responsive. He had burn marks on his tongue and was hyper-salivating. A digital radiograph revealed a radiodense material in his esophagus, stomach and proximal small intestines. The wires were removed in surgery, and recovery was normal with no complications.

The swallowed electrical cord

Honorable Mention

Elaina P. Starman, DVM
Banfield Pet Hospital
Aurora, Colo.

An eight-month-old Basset hound ate a treble hook, which was removed by endoscopy.

Dog who ate a fishing hook
Dog who ate fishing hook

Honorable Mention

John Sowerby
Kingsdale Animal Hospital,
King City, Ontario, Canada

Dogo Argentina was presented because of anorexia and lethargy; no vomit or diarrhea. The question is, whose turn is it? Answer: Black, because Black just lost its knight.

Dog who ate chess piece

Honorable Mention

Alexander E. Munroe, DVM
The Animal Emergency Clinic of Mid-Maine
Lewiston, Maine

The patient is a 5-year-old, three-quarter-pound male bearded dragon named Spanky. The owner was feeding Spanky his usual meal of calcium dusted grubs when a 2-inch-long foam Nerf dart caught his eye.  Spanky must have thought he was staring at the Jabba the Hutt of meal worms, snapped it up and swallowed it whole.  Spanky was brought in to us a few hours afterward. The next day he was transferred to the VCA in South Weymouth, Mass., where the offending dart was easily removed endoscopically.

Bearded dragon

Honorable Mention

Michael Reed
VCA Animal Care Center of Sonoma County
Rohnert Park, Calif.

Little Loni is a 12-pound, 5-year-old poodle mix who presented with lethargy, inappetance and disuria. The referral films were dark and suggested possible foreign bodies. These are, to date, the largest stones taken from the smallest dog at the practice.

Dog who ate stones
Stone eaten by dog

Honorable Mention

Eve Sheridan, DVM
Brooks Road Animal Hospital

A terrier mix puppy presented with acute gastrointestinal signs of vomiting and retching. After radiographs of the abdomen and thorax, we asked the client: Do you have kids who play with Nerf arrows?

Dog who ate Nerf arrow

Honorable Mention

Nanette Overway, LVT
Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Smore is a 3 year old golden retriever that was 60 days pregnant with 11 puppies. She presented with 5 large rocks in her intestinal tract. A cesarian and foreign body surgery were performed to save both Smore and all 11 pups. The radiograph shows puppy spines, skulls, and all 5 rocks.

Pregnant dog who ate rocks

Honorable Mention

Jessica Zelnik, DVM
Oquirrh Hills Veterinary Center
Herriman, Utah

A two-year-old male neutered Siamese mix presented for vomiting and weight loss. Exploratory laparotomy was performed and approximately 50 elastic hair ties were removed from the stomach.

Cat who ate hair ties

Honorable Mention

William V. Ridgeway, Jr., DVM.
Long Beach Animal Hospital, Inc.
Long Beach, Calif.

Sam, a 19-week-old, male Yorkshire Terrier-Chihuahua mix presented for on and off vomiting. Abdominal radiographs revealed a sharp pointed 4-pronged, oblong metallic object, which Sam passed with the assistance of 20 mls/hour of I.V. fluids, 2.7 mg of Anzemet, 5 mg of Famotidine, and multiple enemas.

Dog who ate metallic object

Honorable Mention

Laura Klar, DVM
Animal Medical Center of Marquette
Marquette, Mich.

Sicily, a five-year-old domestic short hair, was dropped off with a three day history of vomiting, lethargy and anorexia. Her owner was graduating from college that morning (with a radiology tech degree), so we started with radiographs and quickly proceeded to surgery. 

We took bets on how many hair ties were inside Sicily. They were chewed into pieces, so we couldn’t get an accurate count.

Anotehr cat who ate hair ties
Cat that ate hair ties

Honorable Mention

Mike Funk, DVM
Terry Animal Hospital
Rockville Centre, NY

Mylo, an eight-year-old male neutered boxer, presented with intermittent vomiting not associated with ingesting routine scheduled meals. Right lateral abdominal radiograph showed multiple soft tissue opacities within the gastric lumen. Mylo was referred out where 12 baby pacifiers were successfully retrieved intact by endoscopy.

Dog that ate pacifiers

Honorable Mention

Brian J. Green, DVM
Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Spaz, a one-and-half-year-old male golden retriever presented with vomiting. Rads revealed what appeared to be an intestinal obstruction with something that contained a safety pin. It turned out to be a bathrobe tie. 

Dog who ate a bathrobe
Dog who ate a bath robe

Honorable Mention

Amanda Mullins, RVT
Fairview Animal Hospital
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Henry, a one-year-old doberman pincher, presented acutely vomiting, not unusual for a dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However on radiography, six hook-like figures were seen in the stomach.

After a quick guessing game of "What is that!?" and surgical retrieval of the foreign body, a bra was found to be the culprit.

Dog who ate a bra

Honorable Mention

Heather Becker, DVM
Animal Emergency Care Centers, Inc.
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Sophie, a two-and-a-half year old female, spayed bassett hound, presented for acute onset of vomiting and acting painful in her abdomen. After owners viewed radiographs, they stated that their neighbors had just had their roof replaced. 

Sophie was taken to surgery and a gastrotomy and two jejunal enterotomies were performed. Thirty nails were removed from the stomach.  A rabies tag was removed from the first enterotomy, and a nail was removed from the second enterotomy site.

Dog who ate tag and nails
Dog who ate tag and nails

Honorable Mention

Kevin Brumfield DVM
Northwood Animal Hospital 
Tallahassee, Fla.

A gray rat snake presented at the hospital for ingestion of a family heirloom egg. Apparently the owner of the egg was using it in the nest of her hen to encourage nesting. We surgically removed the egg. Surgery went well and both snake and egg are doing well.

Snake that ate an egg
Egg eaten by snake

Honorable Mention

Heather Becker, DVM
Animal Emergency Care Centers, Inc.
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cash, three-year-old male, neutered boxer, presented for two hour onset of vomiting, diarrhea, and acting uncomfortable. After radiographs were taken, the owner stated that she did not recognize the object, but believed the neighbor’s dog played with those toys. 

Dog that ate a toy

Honorable Mention

Dr. Katti Strahsmeier-Stoller
Metropolitan Veterinary Center
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Agnes, a six-year-old, spayed female, Old English sheepdog, presented for chronic vomiting of a three week duration. Abdominal radiographs showed a very large amount of metal wire in the stomach. 

A gastrotomy was performed to remove approximately 20 feet of sharp, Christmas cranberry wire tinsel from the stomach. 

Dog that ate tinsel

To see the winners of last year's They Ate What contest, click here.

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