Oz: Swallowing the wrong thing can be deadly for your pet

Dogs and cats, especially the young ones are naturally curious and playful and tend to chew and swallow various objects.

Dogs and cats, especially the young ones are naturally curious and playful and tend to chew and swallow various objects.

The foreign object may lodge in any part of the gastrointestinal system—the esophagus, the stomach or the intestine.

Dogs have been known to swallow bones, balls, corncobs, toys, sticks, stones, pins, needles, wood splinters, cloth, rawhide, leather, string, fruit pits and many other objects. The most common foreign body found in cats is string.

Any household object your pet chews on can become a problem. Although some smaller objects can get through the gut without getting stuck, the larger pieces can result in serious gastrointestinal complications.

The presence of the foreign body can lead, not only to either a partial or complete obstruction but also a tear of the gastrointestinal tract. Ingestion can also lead to intoxication, such as with coins or batteries.

Partial obstruction allows limited passage of fluids and gas through the gastrointestinal tract, whereas complete obstruction does not allow any passage.

A complete obstruction is a very severe condition, usually with a rapid progression and poses potential severe consequences if not treated right away.

Gastrointestinal blockage can lead to impairment of the blood flow and often to a permanent damage to the area of the blockage, infection due to bacterial overgrowth and severe dehydration.

The most common symptom associated gastrointestinal foreign body ingestion is vomiting. With a complete obstruction, the vomiting will be profound and frequently will be accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite and depression.

A pet with an untreated obstruction will probably die within three to four days.

With a partial obstruction, the symptoms will be less severe and may be intermittent. The animal will lose weight, but as long as it keeps drinking, it may live for three to four weeks.

Foreign bodies are usually diagnosed by imaging. Some objects can be seen on a plain x-ray, in other cases the object itself can not be seen but the shape of the intestine reveals typical pattern that highly suggests the presence of a foreign body in side.

Sometimes a contrast x-ray is required. In this type of test, the animal is fed by a special dyeing material that helps determining if there is obstruction and its nature. Some foreign bodies can also be diagnosed by ultrasound or an endoscopic exam.

Once the diagnosis is made, treatment depends on the location of the object and the pet’s medical condition.

In many cases a surgical intervention is required. In simple cases the surgery involves only removing the object. In more complicated cases, where the blockage has caused permanent damage, the surgery is more involved and may include a partial removal of the damaged intestinal segment.

Most animals will require hospitalization, with intravenous supply of fluids until the animal gets back on track and is able to drink and eat on its own. The treatment usually also involves medication such as antibiotics and electrolytes supplementation.

Prevention is key when it comes to stopping animals from swallowing the wrong things. It is important to pet-proof your home. Keep any object your pet might ingest away from them. Make sure that the toys you give to your pets are large enough so they can not be swallowed. Also make sure that the toys are made of good quality and can not be broken into pieces easily. Some dogs tend to chew on objects more then others, I would keep away toys from these kind of dogs, better be safe than sorry.

Moshe Oz operates the Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna.




Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read