STOMACH AND INTESTINAL FOREIGN BODIES

WHY COULD FOREIGN BODIES BE FATAL?

Due to the habits of eating a variety of foreign bodies, dogs and cats could develop serious complications that could lead to life-threatening conditions. The most concerning foreign bodies are linear (string, carpet, rugs), sharp (glass, skewer, etc) and metallic types. The complications associated with these materials are perforations of the intestinal lining, which lead to sepsis (proliferation of bacteria in the blood stream) and death. Other potential complications are complete obstruction of the intestinal tract, and potentially damage of the wall and sepsis.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGN OF INSTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION?

The most common signs of foreign body ingestion that lodged into the stomach or intestine are vomiting, increased salivation, decreased appetite, lethargy, and pain when the patient is held by the belly (abdomen). Other potential findings include string foreign body wrapped around the tongue or visualized at anus, and diarrhea with blood.

WHICH DIAGNOSTIC TESTS ARE RECOMMENDED?

Blood work, urine test, x-rays and ultrasound of the belly should be recommended. In very difficult cases, a surgical explore of the abdomen (belly) should be performed.

HOW DO YOU TREAT STOMACH AND INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION?

There are different ways to treat obstructions and they include surgery, endoscope, and non-surgery (fluid and medications). Surgery includes making an incision into the stomach (gastrotomy) and intestine (enterotomy) and after removing the foreign body the incisions are closed with sutures. In severe cases, the stomach and or the intestinal tract can be irreversibly damaged, therefore part of the intestine (resection and anastomosis) or stomach (gastrectomy) need to be removed.

WHAT IS THE AFTERCARE AFTER SURGERY?

The majority of the patients do very well post operatively with an excellent prognosis should be monitored for few days to ensure that the stomach and intestine incisions have healed well. A bland diet (steamed rice and boiled chicken) should be offered for two weeks before the normal diet is introduced. Exercise restriction should be implemented for 2 weeks as well as an E- collars until the incisions heal.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATION OF INTESTINAL SURGERY?

The possible complications that could develop during the recovery from intestinal incision include pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), vomiting, diarrhea, and sepsis (bacterias in the blood) due to the leakage of intestinal content in the belly.