Pet Tips

Obstructions in Dogs and Cats – Pet tip 194

It doesn’t take much for cats and dogs to end up in surgery when they eat things that they simply should not eat. Although dogs are usually less finicky about the non-food items that they eat, cats are guilty too. It is not uncommon for cats to eat pieces of string, yarn, elastics, hair-bands and other unusual items. Why they eat these things is anyone’s guess, but it happens often. Dogs can get themselves into even more trouble and regularly eat the most bizarre things. Clothing items are often a favourite snack for some dogs and young puppies. Sometimes they will eat socks, underwear, gloves, pantyhose, towels, scarves and other clothing items. Other things they will eat include ripping apart their toys and eating them, they will also on occasion eat coins, wires, and other ridiculously non-tasty food items like rocks.

When pets ingest these types of items, their bodies will attempt to pass them out in the normal way. If the pet owner is lucky, the animal will indeed excrete what it ate without incident, and the situation returns to normal. Depending on what the pet ate though, they may not be able to pass the item through their digestive tract and thus surgery must be performed. Surgery to remove foreign objects from the bodies of cats and dogs is not cheap and will often cost between $1,000-$2,000 and more depending on the complexity of the surgery. It goes without saying, that if you know your pet ate something foreign, you must call your vet immediately or take it to an emergency hospital immediately. Although we do hear stories of pets passing weird objects through their digestive tracts without major side effects, many pets simply die because of this. Certain objects due to their shape, size and location in the pet’s body will be unable to be passed through the body. In addition, as your pet’s body tries to pass the item unsuccessfully, further damage is being done to the internal organs. Some common symptoms that your pet has ingested a foreign object include, vomiting, diarrhea, not moving around much, pain noises, and your pet just not acting like itself.

Prevention is the best solution in limiting the chance of this happening to your pet. Especially with kittens and puppies that don’t know any better, puppy proof and kitty proof your home. Get down on all fours and see the home from the point of view of a pet. Lock or deny access to places that contain dangerous items. Given that clothes are sometimes dangerous, keep them in hampers with lids that are hard to open or keep doors that contain loose clothes securely closed. Every pet is different so if this type of foreign body ingestion is something you KNOW your pet does not engage in you can relax a bit easier. If you don’t know this to be a fact though, or you’ve seen your pet nibbling on or eating something ridiculous, then you must discourage this through house-proofing or through corrective training techniques and you should discuss this with your veterinarian.

3 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Sheila Giem says:

    Today we learned of the death of our dear grandpuppy Sandy..She was 2 and a half years old..and was the most loving and sweet dog…she had been ill for a couple of days and was taken to the vet and surgery was done to remove 3 pieces of “dog treat hooves” piece had damaged her intestine so badly that they had to remove a 6 inch portion of her intestine, she was in a very weakened state when she arrived home last evening and passed away this morning…our family is devastated. In writing this I am hoping that these “treats” will be taken off the market so they do not harm other pets…

  2. Avatar C Nord says:

    If you suspect that your dog has any obstruction (partial or full), just tell the vet to do a Barium Series, because this will prove/disprove any obstructions. This will also show the presence/absence of any infection.

    My 3 year labrador is currently in the hospital at the moment undergoing surgery. Here’s what we spent so far (We live in SF Bay Area):

    Initial visit: $39
    Initia xray: $195
    Total: $234

    Blood test: $177
    Catheterization: $49
    IV set/Fluid Therapy/Fluid Pump: $124
    Total: $350

    (We were quoted $295 for Barium Test, which we did not do)

    Surgery: $1,970 (includes hospital stay, surgery, post-op, medicine, IV, etc)

    TOTAL COST: $2,554 (from initial visit to post-op)

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