Dogs and cats may eat a variety of things that do not pass through the gastrointestinal system. Those foreign bodies can cause total or partial blockage.
We suspect foreign bodies where there is recurrent vomiting without any apparent reason. Radiographs may show the presence of the foreign body. However, not all materials show up on an x-ray – items such as paper towel, plastic, string and other light materials, for example. In those cases we can diagnose the presence of the foreign body by using Barium, a non-toxic liquid that outlines the gastrointestinal system in an x-ray.
Foreign bodies in the stomach are removed by means of gastrotomy, an incision opening into the stomach. Foreign bodies in the intestines are removed by enterotomy, opening into the intestines.