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Wheaton Terrier Eats a Sewing Needle

September 20, 2009
Wheaton Terriers Make Great Family Pets

Josh the Wheaton is Relieved of his Sewing Needle

Appetite for a Needle

Josh is a 6 year-old Wheaton Terrier, beloved by all.  I received a frantic call on a Wednesday morning, “Josh ate a straight needle!  What do I do?”

“When did he eat the needle?  And by the way, are you sure?  And by the way, you sew?!”

“Last night, when my husband was watching him.  He saw him eat it!  I don’t know how I have time, but sometimes I sew.”

Now, I’m not at all shocked that a curious, rambunctious Wheatie will eat a sewing needle.  I was very surprised, to say the least, that a busy mom, dental hygienist, running her husband’s dental practice, had a sewing room!  People are amazing.

“Bring him right over, I’ll take an x-ray.”

There it was — 2 inches of Made-in-China steel — straight needle.  The funny thing was, it had made it through 17 feet of intestine and was just inches away from being pooped out uneventfully.  Which it was the next morning.  Problem solved.  Dad off the hook (er, needle.)

Not to make light of the situation, a hole in your innards from a needle, or a needle loose in your insides doing what it wants can necessitate emergency surgery.  But you’d be surprised how often things work out, in spite of the vet.

What to do if Your Cat or Dog Swallows a Needle, Nail, Pin, or Other Sharp Object

Addendum.  December 16, 2010.  Today, someone searched for “Cat swallows sewing pin what to do?” and came to this page.  If a cat or dog swallows something like a needle or pin, you must monitor for bad side effects and wait for the thing to pass.  If you see

  • vomiting,
  • lethargy,
  • fever,
  • feeling hot to the touch,
  • not eating or less eating or only licking the juice from the food without eating the food,
  • or blood in the stool,
  • or pale pink or white looking gingiva (gums), or a painful abdomen, call your veterinarian.

Signs of abdominal pain in a cat or a dog include:

  • Panting for no reason
  • “Prayer position” for dogs, stretching out the front legs with the head low and the rump in the air is “prayer position” and means abdominal pain.
  • Not eating
  • Tight muscles on the abdominal wall, especially is they flinch or cramp up when you touch
  • For cats especially, sitting and staring at nothing, like a glassy-eyed inward stare

If you see the signs, get an x-ray at the vet’s office.  If your pet seems fine do not induce vomiting.  Actually, anytime your pet eats something sharp or something caustic (like soap, lye, bleach), do not induce vomiting or you will cause more trouble than you can fix!

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