FAQs About Foreign Body Surgery In Dogs

Posted on: 2 February 2021


Sometimes, dogs' appetites get the best of them, and they end up eating things they shouldn't — like socks, chew toys, and sticks. When this occurs, the hope is always that the item will pass right through their digestive tract without doing any damage. Unfortunately, though, this is not always how things go. If the item does not pass through, your vet will need to perform what's known as a foreign body surgery to remove the item. Here are some questions clients typically have prior to this procedure.

How is the surgery performed?

If the vet feels your dog will need foreign body surgery, the first thing they'll do is take an x-ray. This will allow them to visualize exactly where in the digestive tract the object is, which will help reduce the amount of "exploring" they need to do in surgery.

Once the item is located, the vet will give your dog anesthesia and then make an incision in their abdomen. They'll then open up the stomach or intestine — depending on where the object is located — and remove the object. Then, they will stitch up the intestine or stomach before stitching up the dog's abdomen.

How long will your dog have to stay at the vet hospital?

In most cases, dogs need to stay at the vet hospital or surgical center for at least a day after their foreign body surgery, if not two days. This is a major abdominal surgery, and this time allows the vet to observe your dog and ensure they recover from the anesthesia, do not develop an incision, and begin eating and drinking again.

Are there risks involved in the surgery?

There are some risks involved. The major risk is that your dog may develop an infection during the healing process. Keeping their incision clean will reduce this risk; the vet may also prescribe antibiotics. There is also a risk of an intestinal obstruction after surgery if the digestive tract does not heal properly. To minimize this risk, the vet will likely recommend feeding your dog a soft diet for several weeks, and also preventing them from running or jumping around in a way that could put too much strain on the intestines.

If your dog has swallowed something they shouldn't have and it's not passing out naturally, foreign body surgery is likely required. Your vet should be able to answer any additional questions you have about veterinary surgical services.