Foreign Body Removal

Murphy presented to The Floreat Vet in June after he suddenly started vomiting that morning.
His owners brought him straight down to the clinic and Dr Catherine (Catie) examined Murphy.
Given one of Murphy’s favourite past times is chewing things, Catie was concerned that he may
have a foreign body so an abdominal ultrasound was booked asap. Dr Lou Barnett from Imaging
First came to the clinic that afternoon and performed an abdominal ultrasound on Murphy. She
diagnosed him with a linear foreign body.

A foreign body is exactly what it sounds like, something that has entered the body that shouldn’t be there! Common foreign bodies that end up in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs include; bones, chewed up toys, socks and more embarrassingly, underwear. A linear foreign body is somewhat more complicated than a standard foreign body as it usually has two anchor points along the gastrointestinal tract and a piece of string joining the two, bunching along and cheese-wiring into the intestines. If foreign bodies are not promptly diagnosed and removed, they can perforate through the wall of the stomach or intestine and be potentially fatal.

To give Murphy the best chance of survival , he underwent surgery with Dr Michelle as soon as the diagnosis was made. In surgery, Murphy was found to have two separate sharp chunks of pink plastic in his stomach and intestine, tied together with a single thread of cotton and bunching up his intestines. Luckily Murphy’s owners were very quick to bring him in as the foreign body did not have enough time to do any further damage to the intestines. The foreign material was surgically removed and Murphy is recovering from surgery.
Murphy’s owners did some detective work looking through their past photos and determined the culprit to be the pink plastic of a taco toy he’s been known to chew.

Clinical signs of a foreign body include but are not limited to; vomiting, inappetence, nausea, being flat/ quiet and not passing faeces. Sometimes clinical signs are vague so if you notice any new clinical signs or are concerned that your pet has ingested a foreign body, we recommend that you seek urgent veterinary advice to allow prompt diagnosis and treatment as in Murphy’s case.

Dr. Michelle Smith

Michelle wanted to be a vet since she could talk. She graduated from Murdoch University in 2009 and started her veterinary career working in various private practices from the South West of WA to London. This was followed by five years of caring for animals in need at not-for-profits including the RSPCA. 

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