In the run of a year, we find ourselves needing to do surgery on both dogs and cats to remove “foreign bodies” from their digestive tract because for some reason they thought they should eat things they shouldn’t! Here are some of the most common, and some of the strangest things, we have seen.
- Socks: What is it with dogs and socks? Sometimes they will vomit it up or poop it out, but unfortunately they often bite off more than they can chew.
- String: Cats love string of all shapes and sizes. Most commonly we see thread that if they swallow and have one end wrap around their tongue and the other end try to get digested, this is where the problems come in.
- Hair Elastics: This is another cat thing. The record for the number of elastics we have had to remove from one cat is somewhere around 30!
- Squeaky toys: Both the fabric parts and the squeeker parts are commonly seen eaten by dogs.
- Bones: These can be delicious, but not if they bite off more than they can digest! Both round bones and jagged edged bones show up commonly as a problem in dogs.
- Hairballs: While this isn’t technically something specific that cats eat, sometimes through overgrooming or the digestive track not moving hair through, a hairball can get too big in the stomach and block them up the same way anything else would.
- Corn Cobs: Delicious to dogs and just too big for the stomach to move through and don’t break down easily.
- Rocks: Another dog thing, for some reason some dogs like to swallow rocks and gravel. If small enough they will move through, but sometimes they bite off more than they can digest.
- Staples: One doggy ate a row of staples. Instead of breaking down and moving through the digestive track they stayed in the stomach and moved into a big staple ball.
- Bottle cap: Not usually something that dogs pay attention to, this bottle cap wasn’t overly large – but was too big for the five pound doggy who ate it!
- Needle: This goes along with the string in cats but is not often seen. But this kitty was playing with thread and there was a big sewing needle attached, and it surprisingly went down!
- Peach pit: Strange enough, once the peach pit was identified the owners could remember this dog eating it – three months ago.
- Golf Balls: This one lab had to come in three separate times over the years to have golf balls removed. Too bad he lived very near a golf course!
- Ear Plugs: Poor kitty must have thought these were special for their owner.
- Rubber Gloves: What can we say, some dogs eat anything J
In general, if your pet requires surgery to remove a foreign object, they tend to do great afterwards. The key is to identify that they have something in there early enough and before too much damage is done. Signs at home include vomiting (can’t keep anything down), diarrhea, lack of appetite, pain and of course, seeing them eat something! If we are unsure of what they ate, we will often consider an xray or sometimes will use Barium, to help us identify the problem.
Nothing that we find will surprise us at this point!