The object was identified with an X-ray in the small intestine causing a partial obstruction, Zoe was taken to theatre where it was surgically removed. Foreign objects swallowed by animals can cause a partial or complete intestinal obstruction and are one of the most common indications for intestinal surgery. If a foreign body becomes lodged over a period of time then there may be serious complications.
Clinical signs of obstruction include dehydration, vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, lethargy and sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Foreign bodies can be identified with history, a clinical exam or by using diagnostic imaging such as X-ray. Treatment depends on the type and location of the foreign body. Sometimes it is possible to remove a foreign body by inducing vomiting, but only if the ingestion of a foreign body has been witnessed very recently and not for all types of foreign body, as objects such as batteries may cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus. This must be done under veterinary supervision. If a foreign body is present in the stomach it may be possible to extract it using endoscopy. Most other foreign bodies will need to be surgically extracted with abdominal surgery by making an incision into the stomach or intestine. It is important to prevent dogs from scavenging to avoid ingestion of foreign bodies. Make sure any toys are appropriate and cannot be easily broken by chewing.
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