[Image taken from dailypuppy.com]

Q: I have a 10-year old male Maltese and he swallowed a durian seed two weeks ago. The seed is around four cm in length. We visited the vet and she said that if he does not vomit or show signs of discomfort, we can just leave it in his stomach. Even though my dog behaves normally, I am still worried for him. Can a durian seed be digested? Is it possible to leave the seed in the body without having to bring him in for surgery?

A: Oh dear! Swallowing a durian seed is never a good thing? A durian seed of that size will most likely cause some problems as it acts as a foreign body in the stomach. It is very fortunate that your dog isn't showing any signs of discomfort two weeks after that incident. But it is still very important that you monitor him very closely. Watch out for vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or severe pain at the belly area. Durian seeds can be difficult to digest; it may take months to fully digest a seed of that size. You can try giving him some digestive enzymes, which can be added to his food, or pineapple juice, which is acidic and may aid in faster digestion. There may be a possible chance that the seed, upon digestion, can pass through the intestine and come through when he defecates. You may need to feed him more rice, potatoes or pumpkin. These foods may help the passing of the durian seed more smoothly. It is also wise to pursue X-rays once every two to four weeks to trace the size and movement of the seed.

However, there is a possibility that the seed might get stuck and it is when an emergency surgery is needed to remove it. Prolonged obstruction of the intestines can be very dangerous as it can result in trauma to the intestinal wall, and even necrosis (death) of the intestinal cells. If your Maltese is not feeling well or vomiting profusely, please bring him to see his vet immediately!