Douglassville Vet in the News
Douglassville Vet in the News
Berks County can add another television celebrity to its roster.
Sure, it’s not his own reality show – but local veterinarian Dr. Geoff C. DeWire of the Douglassville Veterinary Hospital is being featured on two episodes of the new National Geographic Wild program “My Dog Ate What?”
As you’d guess from the title, the show chronicles the unusual items sometimes eaten by the type of dog who inhales its food rather than chews it, along with the lifesaving measures taken by vets to remove these dangerous objects.
In last week’s episode, viewers saw a dog eat a cow’s tongue studded with pins – left in a New York City park in what law officials on the program call a voodoo curse – several fishing hooks, and a metal soup spoon.
Or rather, they saw re-creations of those incidents, as well as the sometimes graphic surgery and other measures taken to remove the offending objects.
They also saw DeWire discuss a past case involving Sophie, an adorable pug who managed to swallow a jagged piece of bone, and her worried owner, Patsy Kreamer of Birdsboro.
It wasn’t DeWire’s television debut – a former football player with Amherst (Mass.) College, DeWire said he’s seen his share of cameras.
But he doesn’t particularly crave the spotlight: DeWire said he took part in the program mostly to educate owners.
DeWire said some owners are reluctant to bring their dogs in immediately for the kind of vague symptoms that can signal the dog has eaten something harmful: lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Some owners have waited as long as two weeks after their dogs began vomiting to bring them in.
“That’s about one and a half weeks too long,” he said.
A foreign, indigestible item in the GI tract can cause a rupture, leading to an infection that can kill the dog.
“It can be a major health risk,” he said. “You really don’t want to wait.”
That point is amply illustrated in the show: Several owners rushed their dogs to the vet immediately after seeing them eat something harmful, and the vets were able to induce vomiting rather than surgically removing the item.
Of course, not all owners witness their dog eating something strange, having to deduce it from later symptoms.
And sometimes, even when owners witness the dog eating something odd, surgery is the only option.
That was the case for an Amity Township family whose segment with DeWire will be broadcast on Tuesday’s episode.
The Carr family’s yellow lab, Riley, managed to swallow a 6-inch corncob – with a metal skewer still embedded in one end of it.
Recalled mother Ann, “He had engulfed the whole thing in one swallow.”
The incident is re-created on the show – but with a fake corncob made from fondant, Carr recalled.
Filming the two segments was grueling, DeWire said.
“I had no idea what I was getting into,” he said, laughing at the memory. “It was a marathon. It was like 12 hours of filming.”
Whether or not the show can remain fresh after the novelty of its premise has worn off is an open question.
But the show isn’t likely to run out of stories to tell, if DeWire’s descriptions are accurate.
He and his mother, JoAnn, whose practice DeWire joined about three years ago, ticked off some of the items commonly ingested by canines: fiber fill from stuffed toys, tinsel, coins, tampons, pantyhose, socks, underwear, squeakers from toys.
Besides Riley’s corncob, this week’s episode also sees several pairs of underwear, a 5-foot leather leash, 27 pacifiers and $800 all disappear down dogs’ throats.
And while these dogs’ exploits make for interesting TV, most owners would rather avoid the experiences seen on-screen.
DeWire has some advice on that end: audit what you have around the house, and if your animal is acting strangely, bring it in.
“If you have concerns, just don’t wait,” he said.