Vets discovered 46 short ribs in 6-pound puppy’s stomach and intestines, rescuers say

An x-ray shows the dozens and dozens of short ribs in the puppy’s stomach and intestines, which were surgically removed last week, rescuers said.
An x-ray shows the dozens and dozens of short ribs in the puppy’s stomach and intestines, which were surgically removed last week, rescuers said. Sacramento SPCA

A puppy who survived surgery to remove nearly 50 short ribs from its tiny stomach and intestines has now died, California animal rescuers said Sunday.

Sacramento’s SPCA wrote in a Facebook post on the dog’s death that “despite everything we try, some stories do not have the happy ending we would like.”

In a Facebook post last week, the SPCA first shared the dog’s story along with a request for donations to help cover the medical treatments he needed. Rescuers said the dog was brought to the shelter after eating dozens and dozens of ribs, but it wasn’t clear if he’d been fed the bones on purpose or if he had been scavenging to find them himself.

The dog’s owners first took the animal to a private clinic last week to be treated for acting sluggish, but didn’t want to pay for treatment, so the clinic took the dog to the shelter on Wednesday, ABC10 reports.

“We kind of had a pool to, you know — how many would we find?” Dr. Laurie Siperstein-Cook, who performed the surgery, said in an interview with ABC10. “The highest guess was 22, and it turned out to be 46. And we’re going, ‘How does a little six-pound puppy eat 46 of these?’”

Sacramento SPCA

Siperstein-Cook said the dog weighed just six pounds.

Sacramento SPCA

The SPCA told McClatchy over Facebook that the dog did not come to the shelter with a name, and that its foster family had been “in the process of picking one.”

At first, the surgery appeared to be a success, rescuers said.

“He is currently in a foster home recovering from surgery and starting to eat a tiny amount,” the SPCA said on Friday.

But then the dog’s health took a turn, according to the SPCA.

“After having a really good day after surgery, he began to go downhill over the weekend,” rescuers wrote. “Our veterinary team provided him with additional treatment, but unfortunately his little body could not quite catch up.”

The SPCA said the surgery would have cost $2,000 at an average veterinarian’s office, ABC10 reports. As of Sunday afternoon, the SPCA had raised more than $700 through Facebook to help cover that cost.

“Our thoughts go out to the medical team and his foster parent who gave him a second chance and lots of love,” the SPCA said on Facebook.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.