Another Canine Emergency – Dogs on Steroids Eat Things That Aren’t Food

Monday dawned with a full-blown anxiety attack hovering. Seeking just an hour of quiet, an hour or solace, an hour of something other than work or worry, I headed out to the greenhouse. Big mistake. An unsupervised and steroid-fueled Lilly helped herself to a non-food snack. There went my day.

When Tom left for work around 9 am, I asked, “You don’t think she’ll eat her diaper. Do you?”

Here’s a tip, friends. If you ASK a question like that, it’s best to go crate your dog right then.

I did not.

When I got inside, Lilly’s diaper remained on her and intact. It wasn’t until I headed back toward the master bathroom that I realized the problem. First, I saw some shredded tissues in my office. I noticed a bit more trailing and torn tissue in the “hall” between the bedroom and the master bathroom.

And, then, it hit me. I ran to the trashcan. Gone … gone. gone. gone.

Lilly had eaten not one, but TWO TAMPONS (sorry, fellas!). 

[Thank goodness our veterinary team is almost entirely women. Seriously, seriously embarrassing.]

Following the protocol set when Lilly last went on a dangerously big steroid binge (eating half of a cotton canvass totebag), I gave Lilly more food, then dosed her with a mixture of peroxide and water.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie in crate

"That wasn't food?"

She threw up, but only once … and with no sign of the potential blockage. (Looking back, my mistake was using kibble not canned food, and not giving her enough food as ballast. I probably could have solved this on my own, if I had stayed calm enough to think straight.)

Nonetheless, I called our family vet to report what had happened and my failed attempt, and the instructions were to come as soon as I could.

Remember, I went straight from bed to greenhouse, so I wasn’t even really dressed yet … I threw on jeans and a somewhat clean t-shirt, and Lilly and I raced down the mountain to our regular veterinary practice (about 30 minutes away).

We arrived by 10:30 am, where I learned an important lesson:

  • Tampons do NOT show up on x-ray.

So, we didn’t take any and went only on my detective work at home to make the decision to go ahead and induce vomiting (again) in a more predictable manner — what’s known here as The Magic Vomiting Shot (apomorphine … right into a vein) … first used with Lilly after the paintball poisoning incident.

Our vet told me that she’s seen dogs eat 10 tampons and be fine and others eat 1 and not be. Surgery, she warned, was a poor, poor option for Lilly in her current state.

Yes, we risked Lilly throwing-up her many morning meds (which isn’t good … since, you know, they keep her alive), but we had no choice.

So, we got to work making surgery unnecessary:

  • The veterinary team fed her a HUGE bowl of canned food, then waited about 15 minutes.
  • Our veterinarian gave Lilly the apomophine into a vein in her front leg (bonus that her IV spots from hospitalization in August have NOT grown back).
  • Within minutes, our little canine heroine yakked up everything she had in her, including (as our veterinarian joked) “dos tampones.”
  • We waited another 15 minutes or so to make sure Lilly was done, then our veterinarian gave her some anti-nausea meds sub-Q.
  • About $88, and we were on our way by around noon.

CRISIS AVERTED ! Lilly is fine, but I sure could have done without the extra stress and worry.

Tom met us at the veterinary hospital and stayed until it was clear Lilly was going to be OK before going back to work.

I wanted to pick up some takeout on the way home, but Lilly had — on top of everything else — peed all over my jeans.

So, the question became … just how yucky can a dog mom look but still go into a non-veterinary setting?

The answer … pretty yucky. No shower. Face not washed. Teeth not brushed. Glasses on. Urine-soaked jeans. I was a sight!

Yes, I could have hit a drive-thru, but fast food creeps me out lately. So, I raced into a local grocery store and got something from the deli instead. No one seemed bothered by my appearance, so there you go. Maybe I didn’t look too hideous.

I came home. Changed my clothes. Ate lunch. Took a nap … because by 1 pm, I’d already had ENOUGH of a Monday.


So, emergency aside, Lilly is set for her neurology recheck appointment tomorrow (Weds – Oct 10) and her next cycle of 4 cytarabine injections (Sat / Sun – Oct 13-14).

Our family vet admitted that when she heard we were on our way that she “didn’t know what to expect” in terms of how Lilly would look. She was THRILLED (and probably a bit surprised) to see how well Lilly is doing … considering all she has been through in recent months.

Our girl is nowhere near 100%, but she really is doing pretty well right now, so we’ll take it … as long as it lasts … and assuming we can keep her from eating something that will kill her.


To add comedic relief to my life, Ginko decided to help himself to some fruit while Lilly and were gone. We found banana stems and peels all over the living room.





11 thoughts on “Another Canine Emergency – Dogs on Steroids Eat Things That Aren’t Food

  1. Sam
    October 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Oh yikes! That would have panicked me – we’ve known a few dogs that weren’t so lucky!

    Sam recently posted..Something’s up…My Profile

  2. October 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m glad it turned out okay or Lily, and reasonably-priced for the vet’s visit, as well. Brooks is on steroids and he pees like a racehorse. Always hungry too but so far hasn’t eaten anything he shouldn’t (except that corn cob, which resulted in a $3000 vet bill)
    Peggy Frezon recently posted..10 Tips on Ntl Pet Obesity Awareness DayMy Profile

    1. October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Oh, Peggy. That’s one PRICEY corn cob. Indeed, it seems Lilly has a *thing* for cotton because of the steroids. Weird. Even as a puppy, she never ate things she wasn’t supposed to.

  3. October 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    So glad that aside from a ruined day nothing worse came out of it.

    You’re right – when you’re asking the question whether something it’s going to be ok, you already KNOW deep inside that one way or another it won’t be. Been there, done that (though of a different variety)
    Jana Rade recently posted..Billy’s Bladder Stones Did Not Remain SilentMy Profile

  4. Dog-geek
    October 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Good heavens! And then Ginko eats the bananas. I’ll say it again – good heavens! I’ve definitely got no qualms about looking pretty scary while grocery shopping, although I don’t think I’ve ever gone out in urine-soaked clothing. I’m certainly not going to judge though – I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Glad Lilly is doing okay, minus dos tampons!

    1. October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Well, Dog-Geek … you can now use ME as a reference point. You can say to yourself, “At least my jeans aren’t soaked in urine!”

  5. October 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Ruby was on steroids a couple of months ago. She kept eating rocks. One night in the middle of the night I heard crunching. I got up to take the rock away, and it was a RAT!! Quel Surprise!!
    rottrover recently posted..Beach DayMy Profile

    1. October 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      You win! That’s MUCH worse … though Tom did once find Lilly feasting on a maggot-infested rabbit carcass in the pasture. Ick!

  6. Jen
    October 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Holy smokes, what a day/morning. I don’t blame you for going back to bed.

    It’s a hallmark of dog ownership, I think, to leave the house having forgotten certain personal grooming things. At least once, I’ve walked Elka in the morning without rebraiding my slept-on hair. Of course, I didn’t think of it ’til I got home.
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    1. October 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      I once went to the vet in my slippers. Completely forgot to change my shoes!