Foreign bodies in pets

By Kellie Tickner, Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital Administrator

LIKE toddlers, pets have a tendency to chew anything they can get into their mouths. This becomes a serious and potentially life-threatening problem if the objects are swallowed. We have seen various ‘foreign bodies’ ingested by pets which include toys, clothing, mango seeds, rocks and socks!

Recently, Kyza the Schnauzer was presented to the clinic, generally not feeling well. He was not eating and soon began vomiting. An x-ray revealed a foreign body in his intestine, causing a partial obstruction. After being stabilized with IV fluids/electrolytes, pain relief and antibiotics, Kyza underwent exploratory surgery. Dr Camille & Dr Lesca removed a rock from his inflamed and traumatised intestinal tract. 

The digestive tract is essentially a long tube, passing food from the mouth, down the oesophagus, into the stomach, through the lengthy small intestine, then forming a stool in the colon and out the rectum. It generally takes the foreign body from 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract. Some objects, however, can actually remain in the stomach for longer periods of time, even months.

When objects are too large to pass, they usually obstruct at the stomach outflow or within the small intestine itself. With linear foreign bodies, the continual movement of the intestinal tract can literally bunch the intestines into an accordion-like mass.

If the foreign body has managed to move to the colon, it will probably successfully pass. But, defecating a sharp object may prove painful and may even need veterinary assistance. 

Kyza remained in intensive care on i/v fluids until he was able to digest a special diet 

If you suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign body, call Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital immediately. The sooner your pet receives medical attention, the better his or her chances of full recovery with fewer complications.

Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital
Ph 4736 2027
49 Wentworth Road, Orchard Hills