The Dangers of Foreign Bodies

A ‘foreign body’ is something that gets stuck inside your dog or cat that shouldn’t be there. Something they may have picked up on a walk, or something they have chewed and swallowed or breathed in that gets lodged where it shouldn’t.

The signs that this may have happened include:

Regurgitation or vomiting; this can happen when something gets stuck in the gut, for example this large piece of bone and in another a kebab stick that got stuck in a dog’s oesophagus (the tube between the mouth and stomach) or stuck in the intestines or stomach like this battery and toy that were removed from dogs.

screw FB
Toy scan
Toy outside 2
Bone FB
kebab stick

Sneezing and discharge from the nose for example due to a grass seed which we removed from a dog that inhaled it on a walk or a twig that was endoscopically removed from a nose.

Grass seed

Coughing when it occurs suddenly can occasionally be due to something is stuck in their airways like in their windpipe or in this case a wheat head in this dog’s lower airway. If your dog starts coughing after being in the field, a foreign body into the nose is very likely.

Wheat germ
Wheat head

Early diagnosis of these foreign bodies allows us to remove them more easily using an endoscope – a long tube with a camera and forceps as this is less invasive than surgery.

Here is a scan of a toy found inside a dog, as well as the endoscope camera photo and the toy removed!

Toy scan 1
Toy inside
Toy outside
Fish hook scan

We can diagnose and find these objects using a variety of methods including scans and x-rays such as these radiographs, a CT scan or ultrasound or visually with the endoscope.

Our internal medicine team use different techniques, types and sizes of endoscopes depending on where the object is found. These include rhinoscopy (into their nose), bronchoscopy (into their airways), oesophagoscopy (into their oesophagus) and gastroscopy (into their stomach)!

By using these techniques, we have been able to remove all sorts of objects you can see in the photos. If these objects are left inside then then can migrate around your pet’s body and cause all sorts of problems such as abscesses, so the earlier you can identify this and go to your vet the better chances of removal and a quick recovery.

If you are worried your dog or cat has a problem due to an ingested or inhaled foreign body then please contact your vet immediately to discuss possible specialist referral.