What are intestinal & gastric surgeries?
Intestinal and gastric surgeries are performed when there is a partial or complete blockage in the digestive tract in your pet. These blockages can cause many complications, including preventing food from moving through, and a decrease in blood flow to the rest of the body. The most common cause would be a foreign body that is stuck within your pet’s stomach or intestines. A foreign body could be anything your pet ingested that they shouldn’t have - socks, jewelry, trash, towels, string… you name it! If you believe that your pet has ingested something other than food, read more about foreign body removal here.
Other causes of blockages may include abdominal bloat (GDV), intestinal twisting (intussusception), or a mass inside their abdomen. It is so important to be on the lookout for the symptoms below, as pets that experience obstruction and are not treated quickly can die within a few days.:
- Dry heaving
- Loss of appetite
- Straining or unable to poop
- Painful abdomen to the touch
- Aggressive behavior when the abdomen is touched
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.
Gastric or intestinal surgery can be an invasive procedure, but often crucial for your pet's health. 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.
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!
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