Miracle Puppy Swallows Knife and Survives

ByABC News via logo

Sept. 25, 2005 — -- Puppies will eat anything -- socks, laundry, you name it. But a carving knife?

It sounds incredible, but a 6-month-old St. Bernard puppy named Elsie swallowed a 13-inch serrated knife, which is almost the length of her body. Even more incredible is that she's still alive to bark about it today.

Jane Scarola, Elsie's owner, knew something was wrong when the puppy was acting "depressed" and started trembling. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident panicked and dragged the dog to the veterinarian, Dr. Jon-Paul Carew, in the middle of the night.

Dr. Carew, who knows Scarola is prone to overreacting whenever any of her seven dogs is sick, thought she might be overreacting again. But an X-ray showed a knife was lodged in Elsie's stomach.

At first Dr. Carew thought that the X-ray was a hoax.

"My first reaction was that the technicians were playing a joke on me, that they had superimposed a knife underneath the dog," he said. "I made them take more X-rays to make sure it wasn't a joke."

But the next set of X-rays showed the same thing. Elsie had swallowed the knife handle-first, so it didn't puncture her stomach. The knife was so long that it couldn't make the turn to go down her small intestine, so the tip was stuck in her esophagus.

Dr. Carew performed surgery on Elsie, a two-hour procedure where he went in through the stomach to pull the knife out by its handle. Apart from an eight-inch scar, Elsie is doing just fine.

How did Elsie get the knife in the first place? Scarola thinks that one of her other dogs may have knocked the knife off the counter top, where she had placed it after carving a turkey, and that Elsie somehow got her mitts on it.

Elsie has "definitely not learned her lesson," Scarola said. "We had [the knife] sitting on the table and she found it again. I'm going to have to throw it away."

Elsie requires a lot of attention, said Scarola.

"I have to cage her or be with her 24 hours a day," she said. "She'll eat anything."

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