What is Foreign Body Removal?

A foreign body removal procedure is when your pet ingests something it shouldn’t have, the object is obstructing normal digestive functions (maybe a missing sock of yours?), and the object needs to be removed surgically. Your pet may potentially need surgery if the item is stuck or lodged within their digestion tract. It is vital to remove the item if stuck and cannot be expelled naturally, as it can prevent proper digestion, internal injury, or even restrict blood flow to other organs, causing much more serious, potentially fatal effects.

Foreign Body Removal

Symptoms of a foreign body

Eating inedible objects can lead to much more urgent issues than not having matching socks for a few days. A foreign object can cause major problems if it becomes lodged somewhere along the way. If you are aware that your pet ate something other than their food, you should contact your veterinarian right away. If you are unsure, be sure to look out for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive salivating or gagging
  • Sudden lack of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Behavioral changes, such as biting or growling

Remember, your pet may be in major discomfort or pain, so be gentle if they begin to show symptoms, and call your vet immediately.

If your pet is showing signs of difficulty urinating, it could be another issue, like a tumor, mass or bladder stone.

Foreign Body Removal

What will the procedure include?

They will typically first do a full-body examination, and may use X-ray or other imaging tests in an attempt to find the object. These tests are not perfect, and confirming the obstruction is not always possible prior to surgery. Blood, urine, or stool tests may also be conducted to determine the safest steps forward.

If surgery is warranted, the veterinarian will perform what is called an exploratory laparotomy. This is a surgical procedure meant to fully assess the organs in the abdomen, attempt to find the problem, and then resolve it.

Although surgery is invasive, an obstructed object can turn south very quickly. In these cases, time is crucial to ensure minimal damage and danger to your pet! Make sure to contact your vet immediately if you know your pet ingested a foreign object, or if they begin to exhibit symptoms.

Depending on the invasiveness of the procedure, it may be necessary to transfer your pup to a 24 hour hospital for a few days to recover. The vets will monitor vitals, ensure there were no complications during surgery, and allow your pet to rest and recover before going home!

Foreign Body Removal

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