By Katie Kindelan
A Jack Russell terrier who took the phrase, “keep the change,” very literally is recovering in New York City today after swallowing more than 111 pennies.
The dog, appropriately named Jack, swallowed at least $1.11 in change last weekend while his owner, Tim Kelleher, wasn’t looking, according to Dr. Amy Zalcman, the senior emergency doctor at BluePearl Veterinary Partners who oversaw Jack’s treatment.
Kelleher took Jack to the BluePearl clinic in Manhattan Saturday afternoon after he noticed the pennies were gone and his dog was sick and vomiting.
X-rays performed on the 13-year-old dog immediately showed a collection of pennies inside his body so veterinarians performed an endoscopy, using a camera to locate the pennies. It took an internal medicine specialist nearly two hours to remove all of the 111 pennies still left in Jack’s system. The doctor removed them four to five at a time, grabbing them with the scope and placing them in an attached basket, according to Zalcman.
“I would say he’s a very lucky dog,” she told ABCNews.com. “First, that we were able to get them all out by scope and not surgery, and that he hasn’t had any secondary signs of zinc toxicity.”
Owner Kelleher told the New York Daily News his “voracious Tasmanian devil” of a pet was going after a bagel when he got the pennies instead.
“He climbed on my desk to get at the bag with the bagel and knocked the change all over the floor,” said Kelleher, who could not be reached today by ABCNews.com. “While he was licking up the crumbs, he swallowed the pennies.”
Zalcman said the zinc pennies could have caused damage to Jack’s kidneys, liver and red blood cells and eventually blocked his intestines, especially given the amount that he swallowed.
“We certainly see pennies consumed by dogs but not in this magnitude,” she said. “That’s what is so extreme about this case.”
Jack’s owner said his dog is back to his normal self after the nearly $2,500 procedure, part of which was paid for by Tampa-based Frankie’s Friends, an animal charity.
“He’s driving me crazy again,” Kelleher told the Daily News.