Foreign Bodies in Esophagus

Nearly every pet owner has witnessed their pet chewing on something they aren’t supposed to. Oftentimes, these objects end up being swallowed. Such swallowed foreign bodies tend to get stuck in the body, and the first place they can get lodged is within the esophagus. Bones or string are the most common objects that gets caught; other common items include sewing needles, socks, fishhooks, rawhide, and wood. Regardless of what object your pet swallows, promptly removing it before it causes further damage should be a primary concern.

Symptoms of a foreign body in esophagus: 

  • Anorexia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gagging
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Repeatedly trying to swallow
  • Spitting up
  • Weight loss
  • Pawing at the mouth

Identifying foreign bodies

When a pet owner brings in their animal either having witnessed them swallowing an article, or suspecting them having swallowed an object, most foreign bodies can be detected with an X-ray. If the item swallowed was translucent, a contrast esophagoscopy will need to be performed in order to detect the item and where it is located. This test utilizes biocompatible dyes to make transparent articles better visible in imaging.

How are foreign elements removed from the esophagus?

Once foreign objects have been positively identified, they should be removed promptly. The outlook for foreign object removal is very good, and most pets do very well. Depending on the precise location of the item, the veterinarian will advise you on the different methods of removal, and you can decide which method is best for your pet. Some objects can be removed with induced vomiting; others can be extracted with an endoscope and forceps. If the object has moved further down the esophagus, it can be pushed into the stomach with the endoscope where it will be digested and passed.

In some cases, surgery is necessary, and the object will be pushed into the stomach so it can be surgically removed via gastrotomy. Gastrotomy is a safe surgical incision that enables the veterinarian to examine the contents of the stomach and remove the foreign object without disturbing surrounding organs. If the article has punctured the esophagus, immediate surgery becomes critical. The article cannot be moved and surgery must be performed in the location of the object.

If you have observed your pet swallowing foreign items or they are exhibiting any suspicious symptoms, we strongly advise you to contact our office, and schedule an exam.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

Yolanda M

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