What is Inhaled Foreign Body Removal?

An inhaled foreign body in your dog is any material which is lodged within any part of their respiratory tract such as the nose, throat, trachea, or bronchi, which are passages into their lungs. Respiratory inhalations happen when the dog inhales matter small enough to enter their respiratory tract but too large to exit through coughing or sneezing. Your veterinarian may be able to remove this foreign body with a pair of tweezers, however, in most cases, it is not seen in the initial exam and cannot be retrieved this way. Inhalation of a foreign body could block the airway in your dog which could require a tracheoscopy or a bronchoscopy. Alternatively, if scoping does not retrieve the foreign body, your veterinarian may request necessary surgery.

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Inhaled Foreign Body Removal Procedure in Dogs

Your veterinarian will request a chest or nasal cavity X-ray to view and inspect the foreign body and its location. These procedures are minimally invasive, and your dog should not require any external cutting or sutures. Your veterinarian will pull a complete blood count (CBC) before administering a short-acting anesthesia. Your veterinarian will insert the endoscope into the nasal cavity or into the esophagus to retrieve the foreign body. This endoscope will have a tiny view point or a camera to view the intrusion. The endoscope will be equipped with a retrieving device at the end of the scope such as a magnet or tweezers to grab the foreign object. Your veterinarian will watch your dog closely as he awakens from the anesthesia. Your vet may want to see your dog again within a week or two for a follow-up, but with the foreign object removed, your pet should recover quickly.

Efficacy of Inhaled Foreign Body Removal in Dogs

Removal of the foreign body with tweezers poses a small risk of not retrieving the entire object or breaking the object. This, of course, depends on how large the object is and where it is located. With the camera of the endoscope, a tracheoscopy or bronchoscopy will be thorough. As long as there are no other injuries as a result of the inhaled foreign body, your dog should recover quickly with full resolution. Either of these procedures should be curative if the blockage is, in fact, an inhalation of a foreign body.

Inhaled Foreign Body Removal Recovery in Dogs

Dogs who have inhaled foreign bodies into their respiratory system have a high chance of full recovery once the object is removed. After the scoping to remove the foreign object, your dog should rest for 24 to 48 hours as much as he can. Limit physical activity and follow your veterinarian’s instructions. After this recommended rest time, your dog can resume regular activity. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent potential infection. Removal of a foreign body should be curative resulting in full recovery quickly.

Cost of Inhaled Foreign Body Removal in Dogs

The cost of a tracheoscopy or a bronchoscopy will vary based on the location of the inhaled foreign body and the scoping necessary to remove it. Including most in-office blood tests, either of these procedures will cost between $1,500 and $1,900. Additional X-rays may increase the cost as well, but not usually more than $200. The in-office tweezer removal of an inhaled foreign body could be as simple as an office visit. And cost as little as $50 for the veterinarian’s time and efforts to remove the foreign body in a simple fashion.

Dog Inhaled Foreign Body Removal Considerations

Pay close attention to your dog’s behaviors, so you can communicate to your vet what your dog may have inhaled. Tweezer removal can be simple if the object is visible in the nasal cavity or the throat. Usually, an inhaled foreign object will be lower in the respiratory tract, requiring a scoping removal via tracheoscopy or bronchoscopy. Once the object is removed, recovery is quick.

Inhaled Foreign Body Removal Prevention in Dogs

Inhalation of foreign bodies is preventable. Keep a close watch on your dog, especially your puppy, with chew toys. Small pieces of rawhide are commonly inhaled, and larger pieces have been known to cause a respiratory blockage. Always provide your dog with safe toys. Sticks and bones can break easily and small children’s toys could be inviting to chew while posing an inhalation risk. Use a slow feed bowl to control and manage how much your dog is allowed to ingest during meals. Eating slower will decrease the risk of inhaling bits of food.

Pay close attention to your dog if you notice unusual coughing or sneezing. If your dog is also breathing heavier or having a difficulty breathing, please see your veterinarian right away.