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Mission Veterinary Emergency & Specialty

Foreign Body Surgery

A foreign body surgery is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of an object from a pet's digestive tract that will not pass on its own.


It's no secret that pets, especially dogs, love to eat objects that they aren't supposed to. Items such as string, toys, cloth, rocks, clothing, leather, and plastic are common objects that your pet may eat. While some of the smaller items might pass through them, the ones that don't pass or that don't pass through easily, can cause serious damage to the digestive tract, which can lead to death. A foreign body surgery will remove the object from your pet. This is usually an emergency procedure before further injury occurs to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

How will I know if my pet has eaten a foreign body object?

If you are unsure if your pet has consumed a foreign body object, make sure to keep a watchful eye on them to monitor their body language. If a foreign body object is lodged in the esophagus, the pet might gag, salivate, or gulp as if it is attempting to swallow. If the object is in the stomach or intestines, the pet may vomit, be lethargic, or have a loss of appetite and diarrhea.

Foreign Body Surgery

A veterinarian can determine through touch or x-rays if your pet has consumed a foreign object. Depending on where the object is, the veterinarian may need to open the stomach or intestines to remove it, or will have to perform an endoscopy to remove it from the esophagus. As with any surgery procedure, there are always risks involved. A foreign body surgery can include the opening of the abdomen, chest, or esophagus, as well as making incisions in the digestive tract. It is always important to catch these types of instances early to maximize the chances of success. The best way to prevent your pet from eating foreign objects is to clean up around the house and your yard, and pick up any small toys or items that they may want to eat.

Consult your trusted veterinarian for more information.