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Pet Blog

Foreign Body
Foreign Body
28 May 2024

Dogs and cats are known to eat objects not intended for ingestion. For example, socks, hair bands, toys and string. We call these "foreign bodies". When swallowed, a foreign body enters the stomach. It can stay here or it can start moving through the intestines where it may get stuck and cause an obstruction. 



You may have seen your pet ingest something but if you didn't there are symptoms to look out for. These include lip licking, drooling, vomiting, not eating, tummy pain and not passing faeces. 



Examination: often there is pain in the tummy or sometimes an obstruction can be palpated. 


X-rays: only certain objects such as stone or metal show up on x rays, some foreign bodies will not be seen on an x ray although there may be other clues such as the size and shape of the intestines which may indicate a blockage. 


Ultrasound: this is also helpful and can show an obstruction in the intestines. 



Induce vomiting: if the foreign body is still in the stomach and is small and soft, the pet can be made to vomit and hopefully bring the object back up. We can't do this in sharp or large objects in case it damages or gets stuck in the oesophagus (food pipe). 


Endoscopic removal: this is performed under a general anaesthetic and is only for objects that are still in the stomach. A camera is placed into the stomach and an instrument used to pull out the foreign body. The shape and material of the foreign body may prevent a endoscopic removal being successful. 


Surgery: this is performed under general anaesthetic and is for objects in the stomach that are unable to be removed endoscopically or objects that have already moved into the intestines. The abdomen is opened and the stomach or intestine is then opened to remove the object. If the object has been blocked in the intestine for some time, it can cause the guts to die around it, in these cases, some intestine may have to be removed.  


How long will my pet need to stay in hospital? 

The patient will be treated as a day patient if we can retrieve the foreign body by inducing vomiting or endoscope. 


If surgery is required the pet will need to stay in hospital between 3-5 days.  


☎️ If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC). 
General Hotline: 2334-2334 
24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6828-6620 

General Hotline: 2334-2334

24Hr Emergency Hotline: 6828-6620


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