Xylazine IM injection normally causes a dog to vomit. But nothing happened in this Jack Russell that ate swallowed half of his mistress' white tablet (around 2.5 cm in diameter). "This Japanese-made tablet is to keep my medication dry," the lady in her 30s wrinkled her nose and her brows.
After waiting 10 minutes, the dog dozed off inside the crate. Not a tinge of vomit. When I do not want a dog to vomit after xylazine sedation for anaesthesia, it will vomit. Now, this Jack Russell does not vomit. This is the second case it happened to me. The recent case was a case of the dog swallowing a condom.
What to do? I got some salt from the restaurant behind my surgery as I had run out of stock and such cases are rare in my surgery.
"What to do now?" I asked my assistant Mr Saw and intern Ms Lai. Both shook their heads in amazement as to why I need salt.
I wanted my assistant to be hands on. "Put some salt at the back of the dog's tongue," I said. But easier said than done.
"What if the dog bites me?" Ms Lai stood back a bit and did not volunteer. Male Jack Russells can bite and his long canines are sharp and brand new. He is around one year old but is actually a gentle dog.
"How to put salt at the back of the tongue?" I asked. I took out a dropper which is used for eye drops. No use as not much salt could not stay inside. In any case, how to drop salt to the back of the tongue?
"Can you get a long spoon?" I asked Mr Saw. He could not find one.
"Just pinch some salt, open the dog's mouth and rub the salt onto the tongue," I advised. It is easy to advise. However, I wanted to train Mr Saw to do it. Hands on experience is the only way for him to learn if he wanted to start his own practice in Myanmar. He had never heard of this method nor the use of salt and so he did not know exactly what to do.
"The dog is tranquilised," I told Ms Lai. "He will not bite." But I did not want Ms Lai to do it as she looked worried. Mr Saw tried. No reaction. "Try again," I said. He placed more salt at the back of the tongue. Nothing happened.
"Rub the throat a bit," I said. I demonstrated. "Then give 2 ml of water in a syringe." Ms Lai walked away to fill a syringe with water. The dog was outside the surgery on the table.
After what seemed like an eternity, she returned. Mr Saw squirted the syringe of water inside the dog's mouth. The dog swallowed. We waited. Nothing happened.
"This will take time," I said to the two people whom I hope, had trust in my professionalism. "Give another 2 ml of water."
This was dutifully done by Mr Saw. We waited. Holding our breath. Both of them must think I have a whacky way of inducing a dog to vomit.
After a minute, the dog gurgled and wrinkled his muzzle. Mr Saw put his head downwards. The dog vomited three times, the last time being white froth. Brown rice grains and pieces of white tablets spilled over the grey table where the dog was positioned.
I showed them to the lady owner and she was happy. She had gone home first as she noted that the dog had not vomited after tranquilisation with xylazine 2% but I asked her to come back to see the evidence and bring the dog home. I had initially wanted to put the dog on an IV drip to dilute the poison but this was now not necessary as the dog had swallowed the half tablet only 2 hours ago.
Does salt work? Well, it does. It is not an elegant way and is quite messy. In times when xylazine does not work, I used this method effectively and I remembered this strange incident. Once a young lady bought in a dog who had swallowed a condom. I gave a xylazine injection IM as usual. No reaction. The dog blinked at me.
The young lady said: "I am responsible for this. What if the condom jams up the small intestine and the dog need an operation to get it removed?"
"Please don't worry, " I said. I just placed salt on the back of the dog's tongue as what Mr Saw did today. I rubbed the back of the tongue with my finger three times. I syringe in a bit of water for the dog to swallow. The lady was pleased on seeing the condom out of the stomach.
Veterinary medicine is full of surprises. There is never a dull day and challenges presented. I read a lot of inducing vomiting in dogs. With all those modern drugs for vomiting, a simple solution of using salt may be used. Don't try this if the dog has swallowed bones or stones. X-rays and surgery will be highly recommended.