Theo presented to us last month after several episodes of vomiting, inappetence and withdrawn behaviour. Upon examination, Dr. Isabelle noticed Theo was quite hunched in appearance and painful upon palpation of her stomach. X-rays of her abdomen revealed an increased amount of gas within her intestines and a large amount of faeces present.

With the x-rays being somewhat inconclusive, Theo was administered an anti-nausea injection and a Microlax to help with toileting. A small capsule of BIPS (Barium Impregnated Polyethylene Spheres used in conjunction with x-rays to detect blockages and motility problems in the stomach and intestines) were administered, with the plan to re-xray Theo the next day.

X-rays the following day showed there’d been no movement of the BIPS and gas was still present within the intestines. With suspicion of a potential blockage, Theo was admitted for an exploratory laparotomy under a general anaesthetic.

In preparation for surgery, a preanaesthetic blood profile was run, an important measure to ensure Theo was fit to undergo surgery. With blood results returning normal, intravenous fluids were placed and a premedication was administered.

While under a full anaesthetic, an incision was made into the abdomen. This allowed Dr. Tracy to make an organised inspection of the abdominal organs – where she came across an unusual (and serious) finding. An intussusception was present – a condition whereby the intestines are essentially sucked into themselves, resulting in swelling and blockage. It was no wonder those BIPS had failed to move! Theo’s intestines were very inflamed, red and black in colour and part of the intestines were close to rupturing!

With everything else appearing normal, Dr. Tracy elected to carefully remove the affected portion of the intestine and prepare Theo for recovery.

Theo spent the next couple of days recovering in hospital under close supervision. Once eating, drinking and toileting well, Theo returned home to her family. We’re pleased to report she’s had a fantastic recovery!

Intussusceptions are commonly associated with those conditions that cause inflammation of the intestines. These can include intestinal parasites, protozoal, viral or bacterial infections, foreign bodies, abrupt dietary changes, intestinal masses or complications after a surgical procedure involving the intestines.