If your dog has a chewing and eating habit, you may be concerned about intestinal blockages. Our Stroudsburg veterinarians see this serious condition a lot. If left untreated, it can result in debilitating health problems and, in some cases, requires major surgery to save your dog's life.
How do intestinal blockages happen in dogs?
Bowel obstruction, when the stomach or intestines are partially or completely blocked, is a common cause of concern in all dogs. Blockages result in several complications. These include food and water not passing through the gastrointestinal tract.
Obstructions can occur anywhere along the digestive tract. Certain types may pass through the esophagus but not the stomach. Others may pass through the stomach but not the intestines. Or they become trapped in the intricate twists and turns of the intestines.
Foreign bodies are the most common cause of intestinal blockage. Every dog is at risk of eating unexpected objects such as toys, rubbish, and so on. String, yarn, and rope fibers can twist in the bowels and cause harm. Furthermore, lumps or tumors are major causes of intestinal blockage in senior dogs.
Can a dog die from intestinal blockage?
Yes, they can. within 3 to 7 days, your dog can die of an intestinal blockage.
What are the signs of intestinal blockages in dogs?
How do you determine whether your dog has an intestinal obstruction? Unless you have seen your dog swallow a foreign object, symptoms of dog intestinal blockage are usually dismissed as an upset stomach. Symptoms include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Straining or unable to poop
- Painful abdomen to the touch
- Aggressive behavior when the abdomen is touched
If you think your dog ingested something suspicious or they are exhibiting the symptoms listed below, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Diagnosis For Intestinal Blockages In Dogs
If you saw your dog eat a foreign object, you may be wondering how you can help. But now you shouldn't attempt it on your own. Your dog requires veterinary care.
Your vet begins with a physical examination, paying close attention to the abdomen. Further, they may perform blood work to assess if the blockage is affecting your dog's health.
Your dog will be taken to the in-house diagnostic lab for X-rays and any other imaging techniques that may be required. An endoscopy is one such exam. This entails introducing a short tube with a little camera into your dog's throat and stomach. This surgery is carried out while anesthetized.
Treatment For Intestinal Blockages In Dogs
For intestinal blockages, surgical or non-surgical therapeutic methods are available. Several things influence this decision. These include the object's size, shape, and structure, as well as its position and length of time trapped.
A veterinarian may be able to remove the foreign object using an endoscope in some instances. If this isn't possible, your vet will usually consult ultrasound or X-rays to learn the location (and nature) of the obstruction.
Certain foreign objects can pass on their own with enough time. When it comes to an intestinal blockage timeline in dogs, though, time is critical. If the object does not pass on its own and your dog exhibits any of the above symptoms, get them treated quickly.
If your vet determines that the foreign object is life-threatening, they'll order emergency surgery.
Intestinal Blockage Surgery For Dogs
Dog intestinal blockage surgery is a major procedure that requires anesthesia. Following surgery, your dog will remain in the hospital for several days to recover.
To accomplish the procedure, your veterinarian creates an incision near the blockage site in your dog's abdomen and removes the object. The length of the procedure is determined by the level of damage to the stomach or intestinal wall.
Your dog's survival following intestinal obstruction surgery is contingent upon a few factors:
- Size, shape, and location of the foreign object
- How long the foreign object has been stuck in the intestines
- Your dog’s health before the surgery
The physical exam and diagnostic tests performed before surgery will help determine how well your dog does after surgery. Naturally, the earlier surgery, the better.
You can also contact your vet for an estimate of the cost for your dog's intestinal blockage surgery.
Dogs' Recovery After Intestinal Blockage Surgery
The most critical period for your dog is the first 72 hours after surgery. If the patient is doing well after 72 hours then they typically recover well, but there are still some potential complications:
- Sepsis (blood poisoning)
- Hypoalbuminemia (low protein count)
- Dehiscence (Wound separation or opening)
The critical period for your dog after surgery is the first 72 hours. If the patient is doing well after 72 hours, they should recover, but there are still some risks:
After surgery and hospitalization, track your dog's activity and keep it at a minimum. For at least a week, limit yourself to short walks — you don't want their sutures to tear. Also, your dog will need a cone to prevent them from chewing on the healing incision.
During this time, it is critical to feed your dog small amounts of bland food before transitioning back to their previous diet. Additionally, ensure they are receiving adequate fluids to avoid dehydration.
Major surgery is a painful procedure. Your dog will not feel pain during the surgery, but he or she will almost certainly feel pain afterwards. Following surgery, your veterinarian will give your dog pain medication. Follow the instructions to keep your dog's pain under control and infections at bay.
Anesthesia can cause nausea in some dogs, and it is not uncommon for dogs to vomit. If necessary, your vet may also prescribe medications to ease your dog's nausea and vomiting.
Preventing Intestinal Blockages In Dogs
The most effective way to stop intestinal blockages is to cut exposure to non-food items.
- Putting things your dog may eat out of his reach.
- Be vigilant about items in the house and track when they are missing.
- Keep an eye on your dog while he is playing with his toys or chewing on rawhide or bones.
- Keep your dogs from scavenging through garbage and debris (outside and inside the house).
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.