Veterinarian removes 21 pacifiers from dog's stomach

An Oklahoma veterinarian extracted the soothers from a Shar Pei named Dovey, calling it the most fascinating surgery of his career.
The missing pacifiers can be seen inside Dovey's stomach in this X-ray. (Gentle Care Animal Hospital)

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An Oklahoma family found themselves dealing with two unusual problems of late: several of their newborn baby's pacifiers had gone missing, and their dog, Dovey, was showing signs of an unusual illness.

The Rogers had no idea that the two were related, until an X-ray at the veterinarian's office revealed that Dovey had been swallowing the soothers for months on end.

When all was said and done, Dr. Chris Rispoli surgically removed 21 pacifiers from Dovey's stomach. But it took some time to get there.

"I've seen Dovey since she's been a puppy," Rispoli told As It Happens host Carol Off. "Last July, she came in with a snotty nose and a cough and she was vomiting periodically."

All 21 pacifiers are laid out after being removed from Dovey's stomach. (Gentle Care Animal Hospital)

He originally thought Dovey was simply ill with a respiratory bug that had been going around and treated her with that in mind.

But a few weeks ago, the Shar Pei started to eat less food. She started vomiting again. Finally, she barfed out a pacifier.

"And that's when everything we kind of came together," said Rispoli.

The Rogers had recently had a baby. The infant's grandmother, who had been babysitting, once noticed Dovey run up to a countertop where they kept the pacifiers and grab one.

At the time, Dovey had the pacifier in her mouth. The grandmother plucked it away.

Over the next few months, the Rogers family noticed that pacifiers would go missing, but didn't think much of it. Binkies tend to disappear, after all.

An X-ray, however, revealed at least seven pacifiers in Dovey's stomach. She'd apparently made a habit out of swallowing them whole.

At the end of the operation, Rispoli was shocked.

"I expected to be pulling 7 to 9 binkies out. By the end of the surgery, we had 21 binkies on the table," he said. "And they were good, extensive, thick, rubber pacifiers."

Dr. Chris Rispoli calls Dovey's pacifier predicament the strangest case he's ever seen as a veterinarian. (Gentle Care Animal Hospital)

Rispoli said he thought the pacifiers would have slowly made their way through Dovey's digestive tracts and eventually excreted. But, instead, they built up in her stomach and started blocking her system, leading to the vomiting.

Perhaps even more surprising: at the end of the ordeal, Dovey didn't seem to be in pain. Rispoli says she went out with the family and played with the kids in the yard every day. 

Dovey appears to have recovered well, according to Rispoli. "Within 12 hours after the surgery, her skin was back to normal. She was back to being Dovey," he said.

Rispoli calls this the strangest case of a pet swallowing unusual items he's ever seen in his 20 years as a veterinarian — and he's pulled some weird stuff out of animals over the years.

"I've seen pennies, I've seen socks, I've seen wash rags or child's toys that may have gotten blocked, but never 21 binkies."