Name The Foregin Body

Last summer, I examined a dog for lameness.  The owner noticed something in the dog’s back paw and brought her in.  Look at the pictures closely.  Name the foreign body and describe how you would remove it.


Diagnosis:  Lawn Mower Spring

According to the owner, the foreign body is a spring from his lawn mower.  The end of the spring appears to have penetrated the outer aspect of the dog’s paw and then continued to ‘screw’ through her toe.  The spring cut through her skin down to the tendons.  I cannot imagine how painful this must have been.  She almost lost her toe.

The most important principal to follow in removing any foreign body is to first “do no harm.”  After placing the dog under anesthesia, I planned to cut the spring into pieces before removal to minimize damage.  Unfortunately, the spring was tougher than my bolt cutters.  I bent a pair without leaving a dent on the spring.  I had to slowly thread the coil back out of the toe.  After it was removed, I flushed the wound, sewed up the lacerations and bandaged the foot.  The dog went home on antibiotics and pain medication.  She seemed much happier when she left, even with a bandage on her foot.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.