What do sewing needles, socks, cell phone chargers, earphones, floss, fish hooks, and rocks all have in common? Oddly enough, these seemingly disparate objects have all been responsible for causing major problems in pets curious enough to swallow them! 

Symptoms of foreign body obstruction can range from incredibly subtle to downright scary, but when you know what to look for your pet can quickly get the help they desperately need.

Next Level Fright

We’ve seen some crazy stuff over the years. Despite the growing awareness of potentially dangerous items out there, pets will continue to find the very things destined to cause significant harm to their health. 

Why It Happens So Often

Foreign body obstruction is a common diagnosis in veterinary hospitals. Why? While we cannot get inside a pet’s head (yet), their “reasoning” usually has to do with a combination of curiosity, opportunity, boredom, and behavior. Because of this, pet owners and caregivers must always remain vigilant when it comes to an animal’s environment. Just because something wasn’t a risk yesterday, doesn’t mean it won’t look like a tasty distraction tomorrow.

The Bottom Line

Prevention is key. However, when the symptoms present themselves, foreign body obstruction is important to take seriously and handle as swiftly as possible. Please watch for any of the following red flags, and contact us promptly:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain or tenderness in and around the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble eliminating waste
  • Lethargy
  • Uncharacteristic hiding, aggression, or clinginess

The Stickiness

The very nature of foreign body obstruction is unpredictable. Sure, it makes sense that a dangerous item needs to come out STAT, but it’s not always so cut and dry. They could have swallowed something with sharp edges, or an object that is long and stringy. Both scenarios require immediate veterinary intervention. 

Ruling It Out

Foreign body obstruction requires x-rays, but sometimes ultrasound imaging is equally informative. The goal is to understand what your pet swallowed, it’s precise location, and if there is a chance they can pass it smoothly. 

The Difference

Typically, endoscopy is only possible if the foreign body obstruction hasn’t passed the stomach. It is a less-invasive approach to foreign body obstruction, and is only possible if a pet comes to us in time. That being said, however, every case is different and sometimes advanced veterinary surgery is necessary despite the foreign body’s location in the stomach.

Usually, if the foreign body obstruction has left the stomach and is moving through the GI tract, veterinary surgery is necessary to prevent further harm.

Beyond Foreign Body Obstruction

We know how scary it can be for a pet to present with a foreign body obstruction. Because a pet’s prognosis is directly related to the type of object consumed, its placement in the body, how long it’s been inside the pet, and how soon they received veterinary intervention, this type of pet emergency should not be underestimated or delayed.

If our team can assist you with questions or concerns regarding foreign body obstruction, please let us know. We’re always here for you at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center.