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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1264
Experience:  13 years experience in small animal medicine/surgery
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Intestine blockage - Irish Setter - Labrador cross

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Is it acceptable to wait from Monday to Friday to X-Ray and operate on a dog with suspected blockage?


On Monday, we brought our six year old dog to the vet because he was vomiting.



The vet said it was either gastroenteritis or a blockage in the intestines, and that our dog was dehydrated and kept him in.



They put him on a drip. The next day, Tuesday, we were told that our dog was eating and may be able to come home on Wednesday.


On Wednesday, they said that they rather keep an eye on him for another day.


On Thursday afternoon the vet phoned and said that our dog was vomitting again and that he needed an Xray as a matter of urgency.

Should they go ahead? We said of course, and that they should do whatever it takes.


When we phoned on Thursday evening for the results, they told us that they had not been able to x-ray him, because another dog, an emergency, had come in for X-Ray.


On Friday, they did the X-ray and found that there was an obstruction in our dogs bowels and operated. They removed a stone. We were told that the dog was recovering.


On Saturday, we phoned at numerous times but were told by the receptionist that the vet will phone back. In the evening a vet phoned and told us to prepare for the worst, and then 10 minutes later, he phoned again and told us that the dog was dead.


He explained that he probably died of Sepsis, because he went downhill so quickly, and that there are bacteria on stones which are alien to a dog's system and may have caused the sepsis.


I am terribly upset and feel that if our dog had been X-Rayed and operated on when we first brought him to the vets, he may be still with us. My question: is it acceptable to wait from Monday to Friday to X-Ray and operate on a dog with suspected blockage? I just want to know for peace of mind.  Thank you very much, Karin

Dr. Bruce :

Hello Karin. This is Dr. Bruce and I would like to help you with Bello.

Dr. Bruce :

First of all, please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. I'm so sorry to hear about his passing.

Dr. Bruce :

The short answer to your question is no, it is not acceptable to wait 4 days to x-ray a suspected blockage. However, there may be other issues that I am not aware of. Did your vet discuss the option of x-rays earlier in the week? Perhaps you and your vet decided to wait and see how things went with the conservative care. That is something I don't know from your letter.

Dr. Bruce :

What I don't understand is how your vet was unable to x-ray your dog even though another emergency came in. Once the decision to x-ray Bello was made on Thursday, I can't see the reason for waiting until Friday to do the x-ray just because there was another emergency. Of course, I do not know the full situation at your vet's practice, so I don't want to comment too much, but it seems strange to me.

Dr. Bruce :

Typically, sepsis occurs from foreign bodies in the intestinal tract when the intestines start to die off. This can happen at any time when a foreign body is present, but the odds of this occurring definitely increase over time. Does this mean that if Bello had been operated on earlier in the week, he may have survived? Maybe, but it is not possible to say for sure. I can only say that his chances would have been better if the surgery had been done sooner.

Dr. Bruce :

Again, I am so sorry for your loss! If you would like to continue this chat, please reply to this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.




Thank you very much for your help. It is very useful and answers my question. The vet did explain to my husband on Bello's admission that he would rather wait with an X-Ray. We thought that to X-Ray a dog may be stressful for the dog and that the vet therefore wanted to delay this procedure. I now feel that I should have put this to this forum at the time. I would have insisted on an X-Ray straight away, had I known what I know now.


Thank you very much again for your kind help,


Best wishes,



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