Gastrointestinal Obstruction

It’s no surprise that pets chew on and swallow things that they shouldn’t, and we can’t always watch their every move. While some foreign objects are small enough to naturally pass, others can get stuck and cause problems. Toxic items, such as lead, can also pose a serious threat. Gastrointestinal obstruction is the most common surgical emergency in veterinary medicine, and is seen primarily in younger dogs.

Several items are particularly known for getting tangled and blocking a pet’s intestinal tract, including string, ribbon, socks, underwear, and rocks. Keeping these items out of a pet’s reach, combined with close monitoring, can prevent your pet from suffering an obstruction.

Symptoms of a foreign body impeding gastrointestinal tract: 

  • Abdominal pain. 
  • Abdominal swelling. 
  • Bloating. 
  • Dehydration. 
  • Diarrhea. 
  • Excessive drooling. 
  • Lethargy. 
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Weight loss. 
  • Vomiting.

Identifying foreign bodies

Our veterinarian can typically detect most foreign bodies with an X-ray. If the item swallowed was translucent, a contrast esophagoscopy (test utilizing biocompatible dye to show transparent articles) will need to be performed in order to determine where the item is located.

How do you remove obstructions from the stomach and intestines?

If foreign bodies are present in the stomach or intestine and cannot pass naturally, they need to be removed; articles can either be removed through endoscopy or surgery. If the item is small enough to grasp and remove without surgery, the veterinarian will sedate the canine and use an endoscope and forceps to find and remove the foreign body through the esophagus and out of the mouth. For larger articles, surgery via gastrotomy is necessary. During gastrotomy, a pet is sedated under general anesthesia so they remain completely unaware of the procedure. A small incision is then made in the stomach, which allows the veterinarian to locate the object within and remove it. Gastrotomy is a very safe surgery and does not disrupt surrounding organs.

If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of having a foreign body in the gastrointestinal tract, or you have witnessed them swallow an object, please contact our office immediately. Removing the article is very important.


Read what people are saying about us.

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We took our 5 month old puppy in to get neutered today and had a great experience. They educate you on expenses without making you feel guilty if you decide against extra options. We were able to pick him up 5 hours after dropping him off which was also amazing. Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a vet.

Chelsea G.'s

Dr. Genova has been my 4 legged daughter's doctor for her whole life (10 years). He is very personable, informative and kind. I seriously cannot say enough positive things about him.. Why else would I trust him to take care of my baby girl?

The rest of the staff is also very kind. Most of them have changed throughout the years but one thing that hasn't is that you can immediately tell how much they all love animals.

This is definitely one of this places that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to.

John L.

We had our first experience at Village at Main Veterinary Hospital today and I couldn't wait to write a review because of how pleased I was with the entire staff and environment. I arrived way early for my appointment but they took me anyway since it was open with no problem at all. As soon as we walked in the door my puppy and I were greeted with smiles and even staff that didn't run the counter came out and greeted and loved on my puppy as well which really put her at ease. Every staff member acknowledged our presence at some point. We were taken back to an exam room and we saw Dr. Tran who was warm and loving toward my puppy, she really took her time and you could easily see that she loves what she does. Dr. Tran covered all of my questions I had planned to ask as well as asked if I had any others. I would highly recommend this clinic to anybody who has had a bad experience at another clinic because it will totally make up for it as it did in our case. Thank you so much again for making us feel right at home and loving what you guys do, I will continue to drive 30 minutes just to have my pooch continue to see you guys :)

Tiffany B.

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