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Look What the Dog Swallowed!

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It's been said that dogs will eat anything, whether it tastes good or not, and regardless of whether it is edible. Some dogs not only eat weird things, but they eat as much of it as they can. Here are eight recent stories that illustrate that point.

Rubber Duck

Ozzie is a Staffordshire terrier from Cubbington, England. About a year ago, he was tussling with another dog over a rubber duck. Ozzie established his rights to the toy by swallowing it whole. The vets couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the x-ray, since most dogs chew their toys up before swallowing them. Ozzie required surgery to remove the duck, but made a rapid recovery.

Fish Hooks

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Toby is a rescue dog who had been abused and abandoned before being adopted by Brian Sales. Sales keep his fishing tackle box high off the floor, but curious Toby managed to get into it and swallow a dozen fish hooks, which on this occasion were loaded with bait. Sales rushed Toby to a veterinary clinic. Doctors said that the greatest danger would have been if the hooks caught in the dog's throat, but they had instead passed to the stomach. Because of the shape of fish hooks, they were able to pass through the dog naturally, and in record time because Toby is allergic to the fish that the hooks were baited with!

Cell Phone

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Nero is a Great Dane-Doberman crossbreed. The rather large dog from Pretoria, South Africa snatched a cell phone from his owner's daughter's hand and swallowed it in the blink of an eye. Nero was immediately taken to the veterinary clinic, where he was x-rayed and then had surgery to remove the phone. The vets found stones in Nero's stomach along with the phone. Nero recovered, but the cell phone never worked again.

Rocks

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Chester, who lives in Bangor, Maine, was attracted to the rocks around the family barbecue, because of those delicious drippings splattered on them. So he went a little overboard. Instead of swallowing one or two rocks, Chester ingested a total of six pounds of rocks! The vet said he's never seen anything like it. Chester was able to pass the stones naturally, so no surgery was necessary.

Homer Simpson

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A ten-year-old Dalmatian named Dixie lost her appetite and behaved strangely, so her owner took her to a veterinary clinic in Aberdeen, Scotland. An x-ray revealed that Dixie had swallowed a plastic egg with a plastic Homer Simpson toy inside. The goods had originally been inside a chocolate egg that Dixie got hold of. Vets removed the figurine from the dog's intestine, and she is fine now.

Dog

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Joanne Dutton of Wilmsly, England took her dog Alfie to the vet when he became ill and wouldn't eat. The x-rays showed there was a dog inside the dog. Alfie had stolen a miniature dog figurine from a dollhouse belonging to Dutton's daughter Madeline. Vets performed surgery to remove the toy.

Joanne said: "Alfie is back to normal again now - running around like a lunatic."

Golf Balls

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Bertie is pointer/bloodhound mix who lives in Great Totham, England. His owner, 12-year-old Ben Jewell saw him eat a golfball and so Bertie was taken to a clinic. X-rays revealed this was not the first time Bertie wolfed down a golf ball. A total of nine balls were inside the dog! During surgery to remove the balls, veterinarians found a completely unrelated surprise: a bullet was lodged in the tissue of Bertie's abdomen, indicating he'd been shot at some time. The bullet was removed as well as the golf balls, and Bertie has recovered.

Arrow

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Just last week, Betty, an 8-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier somehow managed to swallow a plastic toy arrow that was almost as long as her body! Her owner Emma Watson (not the actress) noticed she was sick a day later and took her to Thamesmead PDSA PetAid Hospital, where the arrow was found by x-ray. The arrow was 10.5 inches long, and extended from her throat to her small intestine. It was removed surgically, and Betty was on her feet in no time. But Watson had to keep a close eye on her.

'She doesn't appear to have learned her lesson because as soon as she got home she tried to eat the TV remote control so we're keeping a very close eye on her now to prevent anything like this from happening again.'

See also: X-rays in the News and 10 Odd Things Swallowed, with X-ray Evidence.

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Medicine
Scientists Are Working on a Way to Treat Eye Floaters With Lasers
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iStock

Even people with 20/20 eyesight should be familiar with this scenario: You're enjoying a clear view when a faint doodle shape drifts into your peripheral vision like an organism under a microscope. Floaters affect almost everyone, but there's currently no medically accepted, non-invasive way to treat them. Two doctors with Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston are working to change that. As IFLScience reports, the team believes that lasers may be the solution to bothersome eye squiggles.

As Chirag Shah and Jeffrey Heier write in their study in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, lasers can be used to safely combat the underlying causes of floaters. Also known as muscae volitantes, Latin for “hovering flies,” the condition comes from physical debris leaking into your eyeball. The front of your eyes is filled with a liquid called vitreous humor, and when drops of that gelatinous substance break off from the whole, the bits cast shadows on your retinas that look like gray blobs. Because floaters literally float inside your eyes, trying to focus on one is almost impossible.

These spots aren't typically a problem for young people, but as you get older your vitreous humor becomes more watery, which increases the chance of it slipping out and clouding your vision. Retinal detachment and retinal tears are also rare but serious causes of symptomatic floaters.

Shah and Heier tested a new method of pinpointing and eliminating floaters with a YAG laser (a type of laser often used in cataract surgery) on 36 patients. An additional 16 test subjects were treated with a sham laser as a placebo. They found that 54 percent of the treated participants saw their floaters decrease over six months, compared to just 9 percent of the control group. So far, the procedure appears be safe and free of side effects, but researchers noted that more follow-up time is needed to determine if those results are long-term.

At the moment, people with symptomatic floaters can choose between surgery or living with the ailment for the rest of their lives. YAG laser treatment may one day offer a safe and easy alternative, but the researchers say they will need to expand the size of future studies before the treatment is ready to go public.

[h/t IFLScience]

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Bite Helper
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technology
New Gadget Claims to De-Itch Your Mosquito Bites
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Bite Helper

Summer can be an itchy time for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. Mosquitos are everywhere, and some people are particularly susceptible to their bites and the itching that comes with them. A new product aims to stop the suffering. Bite Helper, reviewed by Mashable, is designed to stop your bites from itching.

Place the pen-like device over your swollen bite and it will begin to emit heat and vibrations designed to quell the itch. It’s meant to increase blood flow around the area to alleviate your pain, heating your skin up to 120°F for up to 45 seconds. It’s the size of a thin tube of sunscreen and is battery powered.

Most dermatologists advise applying cold to alleviate itching from insect bites, so the question is: Will heating up your skin really work? Bite Helper hasn’t been clinically tested, so it’s hard to say for certain how effective it would be. There has been some research to suggest that heat can help increase blood flow in general, but decrease histamine-induced blood flow in the skin (part of the body’s normal response to allergens) and reduce itching overall. In a German study of wasp, mosquito, and bee stings, concentrated heat led to a significant improvement in symptoms, though the researchers focused mostly on pain reduction rather than itching.

Bite Helper’s technique "seems like a legitimate claim" when it comes to localized itching, Tasuku Akiyama, who studies the mechanisms of itching at the University of Miami, tells Mental Floss. "The increase in the blood flow may increase the rate of elimination of itch mediator from the area." However, before that happens, the heat might also make the itch a little worse in the short-term, he cautions. This seems to be borne out by user experience: While Mashable's reviewer found that using the device didn’t hurt at all, his daughter found it too hot to bear for more than a few seconds.

If the device does in fact relieve itching, though, a few seconds of pain may be worth it.

Bite Helper is $25 on Amazon.

[h/t Mashable]

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