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Keep the Change
Havapoo Coco endangers her life after swallowing pennies
April 20, 2022
Dr. Shaylan Meyer (left) and first-year Internal Medicine Resident Dr. Antonia

After witnessing some changes in the behavior of Coco, a two-year-old Havanese Poodle mix, her owners noticed irregularities in Coco’s urine. During a trip to her veterinarian, Coco’s red blood cell count was low. The vet recommended a hospital visit, so they came to Foster Hospital for Small Animals.

In the emergency room, Coco was diagnosed with anemia (lacking healthy red blood cells), according to Dr. Shaylan Meyer, an Emergency Medicine & Critical Care resident.

“The workup they had done in the ER included bloodwork, a blood smear, and tick test,” Dr. Meyer recalls, as she assumed Coco’s care in Emergency Medicine following her overnight stay. Her owner, Angel Opoku, provided a basic history of Coco and hoped she would not need a blood transfusion.

“When I took over, Coco was quiet and not feeling great,” Dr. Meyer explains. “In speaking with the owner, she mentioned that Coco was having dark-colored urine at home. That set off a flag. I asked if Coco eats things that she shouldn’t and she said, ‘Yes, Coco did.’”

Dr. Meyer had seen this once before when a dog ate a penny and it resulted in discolored urine. “I asked if she had eaten any coins and Angel said that she had pulled some coins out of Coco’s mouth a few days earlier.”

x-ray of small dogs stomach showing an ingested pennieAfter receiving permission, X-rays revealed a collection of a few pennies in Coco’s stomach. Dr. Meyer called Angel and told her that they would need to take them out via endoscopy, and she hoped it would fix the problem. “We were told that without the procedure, her chances of survival were low,” Angel shares. “We cried a lot.” The family decided to have the coins removed.

“We pulled out three pennies,” Dr. Meyer confirms, “one of them was nearly digested with quite a large hole in it.”

Coco did well in recovery and her percentage of red blood cells held for two days after the endoscopy and she was discharged.

white havapoo dog taking a picture next to a white stuffed bunnyAngel’s family was thrilled to get Coco back after the emotional ordeal. “It was a traumatic experience, but we were very happy with the care she received at Tufts and we’re so happy that Coco is back home and acting like her energetic self again.”