Part One of Three: Socrates is a dog. In fact he is my grand dog, my first born grand dog. Bless his heart, Socrates has never been right. His red brindle color fools strangers into believing he is a miniature boxer rather than a Boston Bull Terrier. Each eye looks to its own side of his head so you can’t look him in both eyes at the same time. I am sure if he could write “dog” it would come out “god” suggesting he is dyslexic and not mentally impaired. He must have spent his former life as a Hoover vacuum cleaner because he sucks every small object into his mouth and down his throat. It is this behavior led to our company formation.
Since puppyhood, Soc has had a very sensitive stomach. Periodic vomiting and diarrhea were the norm. As his vet it, was easy to assume this irregular pattern of upset was due to some inanimate object trying to pass and much of the time his stool did contain more than poop. As he grew older, he still had the problems but much less associated with intestinal objects. I began to suspect that maybe diet may be playing a role so we tried a series of “premium” pet foods. Each time he got relief for a brief time and then it was back to vomiting and diarrhea. Finally my son and daughter-in-law brought him in as an emergency because the vomiting and diarrhea were now explosive.
His x-rays were suggestive of an obstruction of the intestines. Rather than do other tests, the kids elected that I do surgery and take out the object causing the problem or solve the mystery of his constant battle with stomach and intestinal problems. When I opened his abdomen on the surgery table, I was not ready for what I saw.
As I cut through the last layer of tissue that separated Soc’s abdominal contents from the outside, I could not believe it. His entire intestinal tract was undergoing continual violent, unsynchronized spasms or cramping. The intestines looked perfect other than this weird movement.
I called my veterinary colleagues into surgery to ask their opinion of the action. Over 100 years of veterinary experience had no answers. Intestines normally contract in a rhythmic, sequential pattern in order to move food down the intestines and finally to the colon for removal. This random pattern of Soc’s intestines meant nothing moved normally so he would vomit everything in the front part of the intestines and spew everything from the back part in watery diarrhea. This explained why the x-ray looked like he was obstructed by something although his intestines were absolutely normal with no evidence of foreign objects. Further testing was unlikely to solve this problem. His intestines were reacting to a perceived threat. I reasoned that this threat must be his diet.
Dr. Ken Tudor,
THE DOG DIETITIAN