You might be thinking.... What is a Foreign Body? Don't worry, you are not alone in this question.
A Foreign Body is an object that your cat or dog has ingested and that is unable to effectively pass through the intestinal tract. This life threating emergency is much more common than people realise.
Veterinary Clinics are often phoned by pet concerned pet owners describing the same symptoms. While any symptom can originate from a number of health concerns, it is the accumulation of common symptoms that help the Vet or Veterinary Nurse on the phone triage your pet.
The common symptoms of a Foreign Body are:
- Inability to defecate
- Arching of the back
- Pain when the abdomen is rubbed or felt
What happens when the object is swallowed?
As our pets are curious and spend much of their day exploring the wide world around them, this all entices them to also taste the world around them.
When a cat or dog swallows an undigestable or large object, it passes through the Oesophagus and into the stomach. Depending on the size of the object it may or may not then pass into the intestines. If the object is unable to pass into the intestines then the object must be surgically removed from the pet's stomach.
If the object manages to pass into the intestines it is still at a high risk of causing an obstruction. This means that the intestinal wall is unable to expand and pass the object out through the anus and would effectively become stuck. This then causes stress and tension on that area of the intestine and reduces blood flow.
The longer than an object remains lodged, the more the blood flow is restricted to that section and the more damage occurs. If left long enough, sections of the intestines will need to be surgically removed along with the obstruction itself.
This is why it is vital to seek Veterinary attention as soon as you either see your pet ingest something potentially dangerous or if your pet is displaying the above symptoms.
Most Common Objects to cause an obstruction:
- Corn Cobs (the KFC ones seem to be a perfect size)
- Towels, Clothing, Underwear etc.
- Basically, anything large enough that seems too large to swallow
Diagnosis is confirmed through x-rays and palpation (feeling) of the abdomen.
If your dog or cat does have a Foreign Body removed from their stomach/intestines, the road to recovery is still a long and slow process. There are a number of complications that can occur from surgery on the intestines alone.
If you can remove any potential and enticing Foreign Bodies from your home, then this is the best option, but if you have a dog or cat that can find mischief in any situation or place, then keep a close eye on them and if any of the above symptoms are displayed, call your Veterinarian immediately.
I would love to hear any feedback or experiences that you have!