Foreign Body Removal

Foreign Body Removal

Pets are curious and they often explore with their mouths.  This can get them into trouble especially when they ingest things they shouldn’t.  Best case scenario it causes no issue, worst case scenario, they’ve eaten a string, toy, rock, sock, corncob or you name it, that won’t pass and causes an obstruction.  An obstruction can damage intestines and may even cause a perforation of them allowing leakage of infection and irritants into the abdomen risking death.  A foreign body surgery is an emergency procedure to remove the foreign object and the veterinarians at Metropolitan Veterinary Center are very, very good at it.

How Is a Foreign Body Diagnosed?
Sometimes, the foreign object can be felt during the physical examination.   X-rays will be recommended to help diagnose the foreign body obstruction.  Objects such as bones, metal and some cloth are more obvious on x-rays and other objects may be less clear.  When radiographs don’t show a foreign object, but the veterinarian is still concerned, we will recommend an ultrasound and/or barium study at Metropolitan Veterinary Center.

Barium is a liquid that is fed to the animal and is visible on x-rays.  Once swallowed, a series of x-rays will be taken over several hours to see if the barium gets “stuck” at the foreign object.

We can also perform an ultrasound to help find the foreign body as well as exploratory surgery.  During exploratory surgery, if no foreign object is found, biopsies of the intestine will be taken to help determine the cause of symptoms.

Signs Your Pet May Have a Foreign Body

  • vomiting
  • lack of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • weakness or lethargy
  • diarrhea (with or without presence of blood)

 What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Surgery?
There are always risks associated with anesthesia and surgery. Although, a foreign body surgery is an invasive procedure it is a necessary one as a foreign body obstruction can be fatal. Risks include infection, incision dehiscence (suture area comes apart),

Prompt diagnosis and surgery can help get your pet on the road to recovery.

How can I prevent a Foreign body Surgery?
The best way to prevent a foreign body surgery is to remove small or chewable objects from the floor and yard. Keep strings and hair bands in boxes or drawers, and cover wastebaskets to prevent curious pets from eating the contents.

If you think your pet has a foreign body, please call Metropolitan Veterinary Center in Chicago at (312) 583-1921.