Description

Objects such as stones, toys, thread or bone fragments, may get lodged during their passage through the intestines and cause partial or complete obstruction of the bowels.

Urgency

Urgency level 3

Danger

Danger level 4

Course

If blockage of the bowels occurs, only small amounts of stool can be passed. As a result, affected animals show abdominal pain, refuse food, and may drink larger amounts of water. Vomiting is present in some cases. If their rectal temperature is taken, clear mucous may be seen on the thermometer.

Cause

Younger dogs especially like to chew on objects and are prone to swallow them. Reasons for this behavior are unknown. The habit usually disappears as dogs age. If an object is swollowed by mistake and it can become lodged in the intestine. If the object does become lodged in the intestine the intestinal muscles then cramp around the swollowed item–known as a foreign body–and this leads to a partial or complete intestinal blockage.

Therapy

Foreign bodies lodged inside the intestines may be seen by x-ray or ultrasound imaging. If the animal becomes anorexic and shows signs or gives utterances of pain and discomfort, surgery is warranted to remove the blockage.

Emergency measures

Small and blunt objects may pass through the intestines without causing harm. A spoonful of olive- or paraffin oil may be given with meals to lubricate the passage of the foreign body. Also, be sure to examine the stools in order to make sure the foreign body has passed. In the case the animal stops defecation completely or other suspicious symptoms appear, a vet should be consulted. Additionally, large or sharp objects pose an extra risk to the animal as they can injure the bowels and cause a life-threatening peritonitis.