Nala was in urgent need of veterinary care

Nala the Shepapoo puppy is no stranger to Lort Smith. When she had been surrendered to our donor-funded Adoption Centre in Campbellfield, her fur was matted so severely that the skin had become infected. After she had fully healed, Nala was adopted by her new loving family.

But just a week later, she swallowed a sock…

A curious and playful puppy, Nala saw her opportunity to snag a new toy from a pile of clothes on the floor and in the blink of an eye, Nala had raced out of the room, sock in mouth.

By the time her new family caught up with her, the sock had vanished. On the surface, Nala didn’t appear to be sick. She wasn’t choking or vomiting. But Kerry and her husband, Nala’s owners, weren’t taking any chances so they travelled the distance from Geelong to Lort Smith’s Emergency Department in North Melbourne for urgent help.

If a pet swallows something they shouldn’t, they may be in grave danger. Objects like socks can easily become lodged along the gastrointestinal system, causing issues such as severe dehydration, perforation, blockages, septicaemia or even death. So, it is important for vets to act as quickly as possible.

When Nala arrived, the emergency team sprang into action and performed an ultrasound. It quickly confirmed that she had in fact swallowed the sock and it was still in her stomach. After induced vomiting was unsuccessful in removing it, Dr. Tristan ordered an endoscopy.

An endoscopy involves carefully manoeuvring a small flexible instrument with a camera at the tip, called an endoscope, down the oesophagus and into the digestive tract to give a clear image of the inside of the body. The vet can then operate a small tool positioned at the end of the endoscope to gently grasp and remove objects while the animal is under general anaesthesia.

“We see multiple foreign body cases a day in cats and dogs. It’s very common and most of them get taken to surgery because the object has already moved past the stomach” says Lort Smith Vet, Dr Tristan Rich. “The endoscopy was much better for Nala because it is less invasive and reduces the chance of an infection. It’s far less traumatic and takes much less time, which is often better for the recovery of the patient.”

At Lort Smith, we believe all animals deserve equal access to treatment. Whether we are caring for the animals in our shelter or pets who are brought to our hospital, we need the right equipment on hand to provide the best possible outcomes and reduce the need for costly surgeries or treatments that force many families to surrender their pets, particularly in tough economic conditions.

“We took Nala home that same evening and literally, the next day, she was good as gold,” says Kerry.

Lort Smith does not receive any ongoing government funding but thanks to the generous and compassionate gifts of our community of supporters we are able to stand ready with the latest equipment and facilities needed to act quickly to get the best possible outcome for our patients. Having the right tools can be the difference between life and death for many animals like Nala.

Donate today to help us stand ready with the best possible care animals like Nala urgently need.