BoBo - Endoscopy Study
"BoBo" King, a 1.5 yr old neutered male papillon presented to the VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists emergency service for lethargy and anemia. The packed cell volume or hematocrit was only 16% (normal = 36 -60). The referring veterinarian performed abdominal radiographs which revealed suspect coin foreign bodies in the stomach. A tentative diagnosis of zinc toxicity resulting in homolytic anemia secondary to ingested pennies was made.
BoBo was transfused with one unit of packed red blood cells and transferred to the internal medicine department service for endoscopy. The two pennies were successfully removed with the endoscope with minimal invasiveness preventing the need for surgical intervention. Please see this video of the endoscopic procedure.
Zinc is a heavy metal which is toxic to red blood cells resulting in red blood cell rupture (or lysis). The result is severe anemia due to the destruction of the normal red blood cell population. The most common source for zinc toxicity in animals is the ingestion of pennies. Treatment consists of supportive care (iv fluids, blood transfusion) and the removal of the zinc source. Most patients, as was the case with BoBo, make a complete recovery with supportive care and the removal of the zinc source.