Last February, a Portland veterinarian did surgery on a three-year-old, 140-pound Great Dane in order to remove a mysterious blockage. It didn’t take the vet too long to figure out what was causing the obstruction, as she soon encountered 43.5 half-digested socks in the belly of the beast.
“We opened up his stomach and kept removing sock after sock of all different shapes and sizes,” said DoveLewis Animal Hospital’s Dr. Ashley Magee.
The gigantic doggy had had a hankering for raw sock before, but his owners and vet didn’t realize that his hunger had become so problematic until he got sick. And, of course, until the X-rays revealed a belly chock full of stinky footwear.
“Signs of a digestive system blockage in dogs can include inappetance, abdominal pain, unproductive retching, vomiting, lethargy, and either diarrhea or a lack of stools,” says Dr. Karen Kennedy, owner Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital. “If left untreated, intestinal blockage can result in perforation, sepsis, likely resulting in the death of the pet. It is important to recognize and treat obstruction early in the process.”
DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital spokeswoman Shawna Harch said that they released the dog the following day, and that he’s since made a full recovery.
Harch also noted that this case was perhaps one of the strangest incidents the hospital had ever encountered in its entire history, prompting the vets to enter the pooch’s X-rays into Veterinary Practice News’ annual “They Ate WHAT?” contest.
The contest winners were announced at the beginning of September, which is why the curious case of the sock-hungry canine is just making news now.
Surprisingly, the Great Dane only placed third. Second place went to a German shorthaired pointer who’d eaten a shish kabob skewer, while first place went to an exotic frog whose munchies prompted it to eat 30 of its cage’s ornamental stones.
Although the vets removed the puzzling blockage and the dog made a full recovery, one question still remains unanswered: what the heck happened to the half of that 44th sock?