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Dog Undergoes Surgery After Eating Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Glue sitting on shelf at store
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Veterinarians hear stories all the time about dogs eating things they shouldn’t: shoes, toys, clothing, and even their own beds. If you ask any vet, they’ll tell you that they’ve seen it all. But one Australian vet got the surprise of her life when she recently had a one-and-a-half-year-old Kelpie come into her office in need of emergency surgery. 

Dr. Lucie Manifold from Mount Barker Veterinary Clinics said the owners brought the dog in after it stopped eating, was vomiting and exhibiting signs of being in pain. The culprit? A tube of Gorilla Glue the owners had found their pet chewing on just days before.

A Life-Threatening Situation

The dog’s owners had no idea that their Kelpie consumed such a large amount of glue. But an X-ray showed that the dog’s stomach was three times the size of what it should have been. This prompted the veterinary team to rush the pup into surgery.

During the operation, a 10-centimeter rock of Gorilla Glue was removed. The glue had hardened inside the dog’s stomach and was preventing food from moving into its small intestine. If left untreated, the dog would have died of malnutrition.

The Danger of Glue for Dogs 

Glue in particular, can be a serious hazard to a dog.

“Expanding wood glues are polyurethane adhesives containing isocyanates that react with water to produce an expanding foam-like mass that is many times the volume of the original glue,” explains Dr. Doug Mader, a triple boarded veterinary specialist and author of “The Vet at Noah’s Ark.” “The hardened mass can cause lethal blockage of the gastrointestinal tract and the heat during the hardening process can damage the inside of the stomach.”

And pets don’t have to ingest a ton of glue, like the Australian Kelpie did, to incur some damage. “As little as 0.5 ounces of glue have been sufficient to cause gastric obstruction,” says Dr. Mader. He explains that if a dog chews into a tube of glue it can harden onto its teeth. Inhalation of glue fumes may cause rapid breathing, coughing, sneezing, or airway obstruction. If the glue gets into the eyes it may lead to corneal ulcers or eyelid adhesions. And even just getting glue on the skin can cause dermal irritation. 

Keeping Dogs Safe By Pet Proofing

When it comes to avoiding situations like this, a little pet proofing can go a long way. Dr. Mader says dogs can be curious and may eat novel objects – even things like glue, which taste sour on the way down. 

“The best prevention is to keep the glue out of reach just as you would any item that may be dangerous to children in a household,” he explains. And if your pet comes into contact with anything that’s not something he should be chewing on – especially a tube of superglue or Gorilla Glue – get him to the veterinarian immediately. 

“Do not induce vomiting,” says Dr. Mader. If the ingestion is a very small amount, the glue mass may be able to be removed with a gastroscope. Larger masses, however, will typically need to be surgically removed. “These do not dissolve and will not pass out on their own,” adds Dr. Mader. 

That was the fate of the glue-eating Kelpie, who thanks to the owner’s swift action, was able to have surgery to have the blockage removed. The dog recently had its stitches taken out and is fortunately on the mend.

Editorial image credit: DCStockPhotography / Shutterstock.com