Look What the Dog Swallowed!

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
Charles Dickens Museum Highlights the Author's Contributions to Science and Medicine

Charles Dickens is celebrated for his verbose prose and memorable opening lines, but lesser known are his contributions to science—particularly the field of medicine.

A new exhibition at London’s Charles Dickens Museum—titled "Charles Dickens: Man of Science"—is showcasing the English author’s scientific side. In several instances, the writer's detailed descriptions of medical conditions predated and sometimes even inspired the discovery of several diseases, The Guardian reports.

In his novel Dombey and Son, the character of Mrs. Skewton was paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak. Dickens was the first person to document this inexplicable condition, and a scientist later discovered that one side of the brain was largely responsible for speech production. "Fat boy" Joe, a character in The Pickwick Papers who snored loudly while sleeping, later lent his namesake to Pickwickian Syndrome, otherwise known as obesity hypoventilation syndrome.

A figurine of Fat Boy Joe
Courtesy of the Charles Dickens Museum

Dickens also wrote eloquently about the symptoms of tuberculosis and dyslexia, and some of his passages were used to teach diagnosis to students of medicine.

“Dickens is an unbelievably acute observer of human behaviors,” museum curator Frankie Kubicki told The Guardian. “He captures these behaviors so perfectly that his descriptions can be used to build relationships between symptoms and disease.”

Dickens was also chummy with some of the leading scientists of his day, including Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, and chemist Jane Marcet, and the exhibition showcases some of the writer's correspondence with these notable figures. Beyond medicine, Dickens also contributed to the fields of chemistry, geology, and environmental science.

Less scientifically sound was the author’s affinity for mesmerism, a form of hypnotism introduced in the 1770s as a method of controlling “animal magnetism,” a magnetic fluid which proponents of the practice believed flowed through all people. Dickens studied the methods of mesmerism and was so convinced by his powers that he later wrote, “I have the perfect conviction that I could magnetize a frying-pan.” A playbill of Animal Magnetism, an 1857 production that Dickens starred in, is also part of the exhibit.

A play script from Animal Magnetism
Courtesy of the Charles Dickens Museum

Located at 48-49 Doughty Street in London, the exhibition will be on display until November 11, 2018.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Health
Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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