We have had an increased amount of foreign body surgeries with in the last couple weeks so we thought a spotlight on foreign body surgeries and prevention may be beneficial.
A foreign body is defined as a surgical procedure to remove foreign material from the gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines) that is obstructing the system. Where the obstruction is located greatly affects the signs and symptoms for each animal. Some small objects that are smooth can pass through the intestines without causing a blockage. However, large objects, such as toys, can get stuck within the intestine and stomach and cause extreme irritation to your pet. Dogs and cats with an intestinal obstruction may show but are not limited to continuous vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you are afraid your pet may have an intestinal obstruction, contact your veterinary office.
The first step to any kind of treatment for pets is a physical examination to assess painful areas, symptoms, and concerns. If we are concerned that there is a foreign material obstructing the intestinal system, we use further diagnostics to be definitive. The diagnostic tool for determining a foreign body is to take abdominal radiographs (X-rays). By using radiology we can assess normal and abnormalities in the stomach and intestines. If there is an obstruction, surgery is needed as soon as possible.
Check out a normal vs. abnormal abdominal radiographs below.