Case I from Piyalak Intongkum, DVM, Lomita, CA
"Cookie" is a 10-year-old NM Llhasa Apso mix. Recently he was lethargic and not quite himself. The dog was painful on neck flexion to the right and left at extension. The neck x-ray was normal finding. Cookie is Wood constitution. His pulse was strong, and the tongue was purple. He tended to seek cool at home. He was diagnosed with neck injury and Cervical Qi Stagnation. An acupuncture session was schedule in 5 days.
On August 21, 2014, I needled GV-14, GV-20, BL-11, BL-23, Bai-hui, Jing-jia-ji (he did not allow me to do SI-3, LI-4 and LIV-3). He swallowed a #34 x 0.5 inch needle when I placed it at LI-4! X-ray found the needle in his stomach with a lot of food. The vet who was responsible for the case gave him Apomorphine injection IV to induce emesis. He vomited twice but the needle was still in the stomach. He was fed immediately and we recommended the owner to give Psyllium 200-250 mg per meal and plenty of water.
I consulted Dr. Xie immediately since I was so terrified. He said the needle would come out in 3-5 days with high fiber diets (Dr. Don Thompson also suggested feeding small bits of cotton that seems to wrap itself up with the needle would help), and I should take a deep breath and smile... Believe me I tried... And finally I had a really big smile on Aug. 23rd, when I saw the re-check x-ray showed no needle in the body. The owner reported her dog was doing well and had a bowel movement. He was still tender on the flexion to the right. He got the second acupuncture session with the muzzle on.
12 day after the 3rd acupuncture session, the owner reported that her dog’s neck was still stiff but the pain had much improved on September 11. No abnormal signs regarding the needle swallowing had been observed.
Dr. Xie’s Reply to Piyalak
Thanks for sharing this scared experience. I am glad that you finally had a big smile. This would be the 12th canine cases that had been reported to swallow the acupuncture needle. All these cases had successfully delivered out the needle from the Gi tract within 3-5 days. -- Shen
Case II from Sara Beall, DVM, Arlington, TX
On September 16, 2014, I had a Golden Retriever swallow an acupuncture needle that was placed at ST-36. He was very quick and we were not able to get it out of his mouth before he swallowed it. We gave him a vaseline sandwich (vaseline between two pieces of bread) and he vomited it up two days later. I know what someone means about the big smile. I had one when I heard that he vomited it up.