Description

Any objects that a dog can swallow, risk becoming trapped inside his/her stomach. Larger fragments of bones may also act as an irritating foreign body in the stomach.

Urgency

Urgency level 4

Danger

Danger level 4

Course

If the foreign body is irritating the stomach mucosa, gastric symptoms, such as repeated vomiting develop. Affected dogs often refuse food, but drink water. They may vomit phlegm and/or blood as a result of the irritation. Nonetheless, the overall health of the animal is not always impaired. Trembling, salivation, increased thirst and fever are present in more severe cases. If the condition is left untreated, dogs develop severe abdominal pain and start to lose weight. Furthermore, as the result of decreased water intake, dehydration and shock may ensue.

Cause

If a foreign body remains inside the stomach, the gastric mucosa becomes irritated and inflamed. In severe cases the passage from the stomach to the intestines may become inadvertently sealed.

Therapy

X-rays may help to localize a foreign body inside the stomach. Endoscopy is the most effective way of finding small and non-metal objects. A specialized tool included in the endoscope allows the surgeon to remove small foreign bodies from the stomach. Larger objects will have to be retrieved through surgery. In some cases, induction of vomiting is therapeutic, provided the object was swallowed no more than 1-2 hours ago.

Emergency measures

If you suspect that your dog has swallowed a foreign body, consult a veterinarian immediately. If the object is very small and blunt, i.e., a marble or a screw, feeding the dog sauerkraut can help your dog to pass the item. This is because sauerkraut will wrap around the object, insulate it, and prevent trauma to the intestines during passage. As most dogs will not eat sauerkraut voluntarily, it may be beneficial to flavor it with some meat stock.