Jump to section

What is Ingested Foreign Body Removal?

An ingested foreign body can cause a number of symptoms and complications in dogs, from simple nausea to a dangerous internal injury or intestinal obstruction. In cases which an object or foreign body is not passed or expelled naturally, it may be necessary to have a veterinarian remove the object manually to prevent serious illness, injury, toxicity, or infection.

The method used to remove a foreign body will depend on the nature and location of the object. In some cases, materials can be removed easily from a dog’s mouth, while a scope or open surgery may be needed in more serious cases when objects have traveled farther down the digestive tract. These procedures are commonly performed by veterinarians in general practice, though a referral to a specialist may be needed for some surgeries and procedures.

Ingested Foreign Body Removal Procedure in Dogs

The procedure used for foreign body removal in dogs will depend on the nature and location of the obstruction. In most cases, a veterinarian will assess the dog’s condition with X-rays or other imaging scans to determine the safest and most effective approach. Blood, urine, and stool tests may also be conducted to identify related complications or conditions and to determine whether the dog is fit for anesthesia, which is required for many methods of foreign body removal. 

Endoscopic Retrieval

Endoscopic retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to retrieve many materials from the upper digestive tract (mouth, esophagus, and stomach). Ideally, the patient should fast for several hours before the procedure, but in emergency cases, the veterinarian may perform a stomach lavage to clear the stomach contents before proceeding.

  • The dog will receive local or general anesthesia and be positioned for the procedure.
  • A flexible endoscope, fitted with a camera and appropriate tools, will be inserted through the mouth and advanced through the esophagus to visualize the trapped item and the condition of the digestive tract. 
  • The foreign body will be grasped and withdrawn using endoscopic instruments.
  • The endoscope will be withdrawn and the dog allowed to recover from anesthesia.

Surgical Removal

Surgical removal is typically required if a foreign object is lodged within the intestines, or if it cannot be safely removed from the esophagus or stomach with endoscopy. Open surgery is invasive and requires general anesthesia in all cases. 

  • The dog will be anesthetized, positioned, shaved, and cleaned for surgery.
  • An incision will be made in the chest or abdomen as required (thoracotomy or laparotomy)
  • The surgeon will access the esophagus, stomach, or intestine as needed via esophagotomy, gastrotomy, or enterotomy 
  • The foreign body will be removed, the site examined for trauma, and surgical repair made as necessary.
  • Incisions will be closed and the patient allowed to recover from anesthesia.
arrow-up-icon

Top

Efficacy of Ingested Foreign Body Removal in Dogs

Foreign body removal is commonly performed on dogs, and both endoscopic and surgical techniques are highly effective at preventing complications that may occur if an indigestible object or material is left within a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Failure to remove an ingested foreign object can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, making the procedure necessary in cases which a dog will not pass or digest material safely.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ingested Foreign Body Removal Recovery in Dogs

Recovery from endoscopic retrieval of a foreign body is generally uneventful. Once the effects of anesthesia and discomfort caused by the procedure and the foreign body have subsided, your dog should resume its normal level of activity quickly.

Recovering from open surgery, however, is more complex and may take several weeks. Your dog will require rest and may be prescribed medication to treat pain and prevent infection. A follow-up visit will be needed after about two weeks to remove sutures or staples and to check progress and healing. 

Depending on the presence and severity of internal injuries caused by the foreign body,  your vet may have other specific recommendations for your dog’s activity, diet, or other care to promote complete healing.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Ingested Foreign Body Removal in Dogs

The cost of foreign body removal in dogs depends largely on the type of anesthesia and procedure needed to provide effective treatment. Endoscopic procedures commonly cost between $800 and $2,000, while open surgery, such as laparotomy, may range from $500 to $2,500.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Dog Ingested Foreign Body Removal Considerations

In general, the benefits of foreign body removal clearly outweigh the costs and, in many cases, the treatment is lifesaving. Concerns that commonly arise include the risk of complications from anesthesia, internal injury from the procedure, and infection at a surgical site. These risks can be mitigated with prompt and thorough screening and treatment, as well as proper aftercare upon returning home with your dog.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Ingested Foreign Body Removal Prevention in Dogs

The ingestion of foreign bodies can be prevented by ensuring your dog has a safe living and play environment, free of objects and materials that could be harmful if chewed or swallowed. Monitor your dog to keep it from chewing on or playing with inappropriate items, such as children’s toys, string, rocks, and even dog toys that break down easily. Be sure to feed your dog a complete diet in appropriate amounts to prevent nutritional deficiencies, and notify your vet if your dog shows signs of pica-- intentionally eating unusual or non-food items-- which could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Ingested Foreign Body Removal Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

6 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My puppy ate a rubber bouncy ball on July 21st vet had us induce vomiting vomited food but no ball she said it was small enough to wait I haven't seen him poop out the ball but he has been eating, playing and pooping fine. We just got to my mothers on Aug 5th he has refused his food and has been eating her dogs food but still acting normal and pooping well an hour or so ago he vomited red liquid could this be from the rapid food change or should I worry that the ball could have not passed and been obstructed

Aug. 9, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That is concerning, and I worry that the ball is in his stomach, causing irritation. It might be a good idea to feed him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for a few days and see if he continues to vomit. If he continues to vomit, is lethargic, starts having diarrhea, or seems painful, then an examination with a veterinarian right away would be a good idea. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 11, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

Six Months 22 days

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting Red Fluid

My puppy ate a small rubber bouncy ball July 21st. The vet had us induce vomiting twice no ball came up. Fast forward we have had no issues he's eating playing pooping normal well we came to my mother's on Wednesday Aug 5th he hasn't eaten his food he's eating her dogs food but still playing and pooping well he just puked up this reddish looking liquid and I'm concerned could this have to do with the ball he ate or could it be distress from him refusing to eat his food and changing his diet to my mom's dog food so suddenly? Should I take him in to be seen at the vet here?

Aug. 9, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That is concerning, and I worry that the ball is in his stomach, causing irritation. It might be a good idea to feed him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for a few days and see if he continues to vomit. If he continues to vomit, is lethargic, starts having diarrhea, or seems painful, then an examination with a veterinarian right away would be a good idea. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 11, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Bedlington Terrier

dog-age-icon

6 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My puppy may have eaten a stud earrings, but I'm not 100% sure. Should I be worried?

July 21, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question . I would not think that a small object like that would cause any GI upset, but it is difficult to say for sure. Something that small should pass uneventfully. If you notice any vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or loss of appetite, it would be best to have your veterinarian see your puppy, but I suspect these signs will not happen. I hope that all goes well for your puppy.

July 21, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Husky

dog-age-icon

Ten Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My puppy just got surgery to remove a chicken bone from his stomach. How long till he bounces back to normal with him being so young

July 19, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Young puppies like him should bounce back fairly quickly within a few days. Since I don't know the actual details of his surgery, however, that might be a question for the surgeon that performed the procedure. They will be able to let you know if there were any complications, and what to expect as far as his post-operative care. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Betty

dog-breed-icon

American Eskimo

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Hacking

My mini american eskimo Betty had a piece of bully stick retrieved via endoscopy out of her lower esophagus. This was 4 days ago, and today after chowing down soft food along with her meds she has started to cough & hack again. She hadnt really until now. Is her throat still irritated?

Aug. 21, 2018

Betty's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

It is possible that there may be still some irritation from the object removed and from the endoscopy, keep an eye on Betty for the time being but if the hacking gets worse or you notice any other concerning symptoms you should visit a Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 21, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Patches

dog-breed-icon

terrier

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog is 5 and has shredded socks, underwear or anything clothing related since he was a puppy. My dog began having seizures 3 months ago, they have gotten worse over time. Two weeks ago I noticed he has lost weight, I blamed it on an older dog I have that’s a bully. He started throwing up so I took him to the vet. He was given a atb shot and phenobarbital and sent home. Last Wednesday I took him back to another vet because of the vomiting again and lethargy. This vet kept him overnight, did bloodwork, iv fluids and x rays. X Ray didn’t show a blockage but she wanted to do exploritory surgery. I refused, she said it didn’t look like anything stood out in the X-ray of the stomach. She said he was full of poop. I had her give him an enema and I took him home. He’s had 3 seizures since then and just began eating again. No more vomiting but he’s weak and still not himself. What do I do? I can’t risk exploritory surgery for nothing and I can’t see doing diagnostics for the seizures when they can’t guarantee I’ll find out why. Please help! I don’t want him to die or have to put him down. 😭 He’s never been sick but she said he has a rough patch on his paw. She thinks he may have had distemper before. I think I’d know if he had that don’t you?

dog-name-icon

casey

dog-breed-icon

Whippetmix

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating After Endoscopy

Casey had an endoscopy Monday, 9/2/19 late afternoon to remove part of a t-bone steak from her stomach. Casey will not eat, I have tried everything, she is drinking water. How lomg before she will eat after this procedure?

dog-name-icon

Scooby

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Panting

My dog is a terrier pit mix who had exploratory surgery wherein the vet took out a rubber piece and sewed up two tears in his small intestine 11 days ago, we had Tramadol (20 ct.) that we gave him every 8-12 hours and he seemed like he was healing fine. Now we ran out of pain medicine he is shaking when he inhales and really lethargic. He eats when he’s hungry and his bowel movements are regular. We’ve been feeding him can food so the stool has been a little wet. No vomiting and he drinks water. Should I be concerned? Can he wait a few days to go to the vet or is this an emergency?

dog-name-icon

Leila

dog-breed-icon

Pitbull/lab mix

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Regurgitation
Lethargic,

My dog was regurgitating green liquid for 2 days. She had surgery for obstruction related to eating cow hooves. She's now less than a day post op and still regurgitating a little. She won't be given food or water for 24 hrs. Her still regurgitating makes me nervous because they didn't check her esophagus, only her stomach and intestines. I pick her up Monday morning.

dog-name-icon

Kai

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Quiet

Hi my little dog swallowed a small tubi grip that i had for my thumb on Tues last week, i took him to the vet who checked his stomach which he had no signs of discomfort he is still eating drinking and playing. it has been a week past Tuesday and there is still no sign of it in his poo. does that material disintegrate or should i have concerns?

How can we help your pet?