“What Did Your Dog Eat?” – Ingestion Of Foreign Bodies

Some dogs are known to gobble random objects off the ground. Bones, sticks, toys. And unexpected items like needles, tape, coins, socks. Small foreign bodies can pass through but others become lodged along the gastrointestinal tract. These dogs had the FB retrieved with the use of a flexible endoscope or surgical abdominal exploration. They are doing well because their families sought prompt treatment.

Max is a young curious boy. He was referred to Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang) when his family suspected he had swallowed a needle. He was quiet, retching and refusing food.

After X-ray confirmed location of the object, Max was prepared for endoscopic procedure with Dr Anthony Goh. The needle with thread was successfully retrieved and Max was fit to go home that very day.

Ingestion of Foreign Bodies

Some gastrointestinal foreign objects can cause systemic toxicities, or damage and obstruction to the intestinal tract. Perforation of the intestinal tract quickly leads to inflammation of the abdominal lining, bacteria proliferation and sepsis.

clinical signs

Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, appetite loss, straining to defecate – depending on type of object, location, duration and degree of obstruction.

Coins successfully retrieved from a small dog by Dr Anthony Goh. An endoscope is a flexible tube with a viewing port and video camera attachment. It is inserted through the mouth to inspect the oesophagus, stomach, intestinal tract.

3 pairs of socks successfully retrieved from a big dog.


An endoscope is a flexible tube with a viewing port and video camera attachment. It is inserted through the mouth to inspect the oesophagus, stomach, intestinal tract. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure with faster recovery time. If conservative treatment or endoscopy does not provide relief, surgical exploration is required to open the stomach or intestine to remove the objects. Any metabolic illnesses secondary to the obstruction will be treated accordingly.


Be extra vigilant if your pets are known to be “scavengers”, especially curious little puppies and kittens. Some dogs may require a basket muzzle during walks to keep them from ingesting foreign objects.

CRUZ, a rescued ex-shelter dog, was treated for bronchitis. The small foreign body was an accidental find which he managed to pass out without issue.

BAXTER on the day of surgery with Dr Anthony Goh. Linear foreign body (black tape) was observed from stomach to anus with a severe intussusception (one segment of intestine slips over another) and distension in the jejunum.

Intussusception causes abdominal pain, mechanical obstruction, compromised blood flow, proliferation of bacteria. It requires emergency surgery.

The damaged segment is surgically removed and the two healthy ends sutured together in a procedure called intestinal anastomosis. For the other smaller intussusceptions, precise incisions were made to free the trapped intestines and the foreign body carefully removed.

Baxter with Joel on the day of discharge – all better and ready to go home!

We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

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