Styrofoam Tears

March 27, 2013

One of the best things about being a veterinarian is that every day is different, and every day presents new challenges. This week, I saw an emergency appointment with two pit bulls in the same family. The presenting complaint was “small balls coming out of the eyes.” What on earth could this mean?

Fast forward to my appointment, when the full story was provided and clarified the situation. “Molly” and “Finnegan”, brother and sister pit bulls, had destroyed a supportive back cushion while their dad was on an errand. When dad returned home, the polyester pillow cover was intact, but the pillow contents (composed of hundreds of thousands of small, styrofoam beads) were everywhere. Dad said it took more than four hours, and vigorous vacuuming, to rid the house of styrofoam balls.

Styrofoam ballsBoth Molly and Finnegan had styrofoam balls on their lips, tongues, and inside their eyelids…leading to the appearance of “styrofoam tears”. When I examined the dogs, they seemed happy and unscathed, except for the hundreds of miniature styrofoam balls in and around the eyelids (see photo of Molly.)

Gallons of eye flush were needed to clear the styrofoam from the dogs’ eyes. Lucky for the Newtown Square Veterinary Hospital¬†staff, these are some seriously cooperative pit bulls! Fortunately, both Molly and Finnegan recovered uneventfully. Their owner did report that they, ahem, defecated large volumes of styrofoam for the next few days.

Every day in veterinary medicine is an adventure! This was the first time in eight years of practice I can say I saw an appointment for “styrofoam tears”.