Gorilla (Glue) gives pup a pain

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Paris Goodnight

Salisbury Post

Another day, another animal in distress story.

This time, Dixie got into a tube of Gorilla Glue and just about got stuck.

Laurie and Frank File knew Dixie chewed up the small tube, but didn’t realize what it was doing to her insides.

But when Dixie stopped eating and drinking, then started vomiting and getting dehydrated, it was time to head to the veterinarian. Dr. Mari Maristany had to perform surgery Wednesday at the Salisbury Animal Hospital, which is part of The Animal Care Center of Salisbury.

Maristany said young labrador retrievers like Dixie don’t show it, even when they’re in pain or distress.

The mass that Maristany removed looks like one of those human brains that a mad scientist might hold up in a movie, except for the brownish color. “It’s bigger than an animal brain,” she said.

The Gorilla glue, which foams and expands with moisture, solidified in the shape of Dixie’s stomach. “There’s no way it was going to move,” Maristany said.

The trouble comes with that brand of glue. “Gorilla Glue actually tastes good to dogs. It’s a known thing, so you have to keep it away from them,” Maristany said. “But it’s great glue.”

Laurie File said Dixie, who was born in March, got the glue off a brick wall in their garage. Her 16-year-old son, Austin, found the chewed up remains of the bottle outside, but they couldn’t read anything on it to find out about toxicity.

“It’s such little bottle. It’s crazy,” she said. “We thought she’d just pass it.”

But after the glue expanded inside Dixie, she started lying around right before Christmas.

Even though the glue is nontoxic, a foreign body of that size inside an animal isn’t very forgiving. It also isn’t simple to remove.

“The difficult thing was the size. I had to pull the stomach out of the abdomen, so it wouldn’t contaminate it,” said Maristany, who has been at the Salisbury Animal Hospital for 18 years. It took a large incision because the mass was pliable. “It wasn’t stuck to any particular part.”

Dixie won’t be able to eat or drink anything for 48 hours because of the stomach incision. The only thing going in by mouth is a protectant for her stomach. She was still groggy Wednesday while getting plenty of pain medication by IVs, too.

The veterinarian said Dixie will be on a special diet for at least a couple of weeks, but may get to go home by Saturday. She expects a full recovery for the Lab.

That’s good news for the Files, who live on Scout Road in eastern Rowan County and have one other dog, a golden retriever. Laurie File said Austin is training Dixie to be a duck hunter. He’s got a lot of training left before next duck season — starting with what to chew on.

But that’s the life of a puppy. “She’s curious. She’s a sweet dog — and her personality,” Laurie File said. “She chews on other things.”

Contact Paris Goodnight at 704-797-4255 or pgoodnight@ salisburypost.com.