Our four-legged friends are curious creatures, which can lead them to gulp down a wide variety of items on their daily adventures.
Below, expert vet Dr Scott Miller teaches you all you need to know about foreign body ingestions. Learn about the symptoms and what to do if your cat or dog swallows something they shouldn’t have.
Dogs love to explore the world with their mouths. So it’s natural for them to want pick up different tastes and textures, carry pieces of your clothing, or play with ribbon and thread.
While cats don’t use their mouths in the same way for exploration, they have a fondness for shiny and dangly items. Needles, thread, and small toys often entice cats and can get eaten in the excitement of playtime.
A foreign body is something your pet has swallowed that can’t be digested through their stomach and intestines.
Some of the strange items on Petsure pet insurance foreign body claims include:
So, how can you tell if your pet has swallowed something they shouldn’t have?
Common signs and symptoms of a gut blockage include:
Some foreign bodies may pass through and cause little more than an upset stomach. But if the object is an awkward shape or too large, it can lodge in the intestines. This can then get into the abdominal cavity and cause severe pain, infection, or even death.
Get your pet straight to the vet if you think they’ve eaten something unsafe or harmful.
To see if and where there’s an obstruction, your vet may:
How your cat or dog is treated depends on what they’ve swallowed and how recently it happened. Your vet will either:
Your pet will need a few days to recover from their surgery, either at home or at a vet hospital.
You’ll know your pet is on the mend as they will able to eat, drink, and pass faeces normally without vomiting.
Medication may be given if your pet’s surgery included repairing internal damage from the object. This helps to ease pain and fight off infection.
While you don’t want to stop your pet from having fun and enjoying their adventures, you also don’t want them put at risk.
So here’s a few things you can do to stop your cat or dog swallowing harmful items:
The cost of intestinal foreign body surgery varies depending on:
Prices can start from upwards of £900, so speak to your local vet clinic for their price list.
Although uncommon, there is a small risk of complications from foreign body surgery.
These could be: