If you are the owner of a dog that has a reputation of being a “vacuum cleaner” and ends up chewing on anything that it can lay its paws on, then you can rest assured that sooner or later you would certainly have something to worry about. Dogs, without any culinary indiscretions, can end up chewing on anything which range from coins, buttons, sticks, toys, socks, stones, marbles, and this impressive list can go on and on, resulting in an intestinal blockage in dogs.
When your pet dog ends up ingesting things which get stuck in the esophagus or the stomach, it may result in the food passage getting blocked and the dogs not being able to “hold down” their meals. This may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and can even be life-threatening. Although a gastrointestinal blockage may be caused by swallowing a foreign object, this might not be the only cause of the problem. Sometimes the blockage may be the result of the bowel folding in on itself, hernia, tumors, and adhesions from an abdominal surgery.
One of the most common signs of intestinal blockage in dogs is frequent vomiting. If the stomach is blocked, the food does not make it through the intestinal tract and this results in episodes of vomiting within a few hours after eating. If the intestinal blockage occurs in the esophagus, the dog will try to vomit out the obstructing object.
An intestinal obstruction is uncomfortable and can be excruciating for the dogs who display symptoms of abdominal pain and cramping. Dogs in pain may pant rapidly, whine constantly, and will generally show signs of lethargy along with a hunched posture.
Foul-smelling fecal matter along with constipation in dogs may signal a partial or complete obstruction of the intestines.
When a blockage occurs in the small intestine of the dog, the digested matter builds up behind the stoppage, resulting in gas accumulation and abdominal distension. If left untreated, stomach distension may result in the blood supply being cut off and the tissues dying away. This results in vomiting, fever, shock, and eventually death.
Difficulty in Defecating
Another common symptom is difficulty in passing stool. You may find them crouching as if to defecate, and producing little or nothing.
Whether the intestinal obstruction in dogs is partial or complete the dog will be in pain, and may assume a hunched, uncomfortable stance. A normally active dog may become unnaturally quiet or extremely irritable. This may also be accompanied by a loss of appetite in dogs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If an intestinal blockage in your dog is suspected, a visit to a veterinarian is essential. The vet may recommend an X-ray to help detect the presence of any foreign bodies. For obstructed objects which cannot be detected by X-rays, Barium in conjunction with radiography is recommended. If the object was ingested less than a couple of hours ago, the veterinarian may try to induce vomiting in dogs. However, if that is not a feasible solution then the swallowed object will need to be retrieved by endoscopy or surgery.
Intestinal blockage is a serious canine health problem that can even lead to the demise of your pet. If you have a puppy or a dog under the age of two, then it is best to keep a watchful eye on it while they play, or provide it with bones or safe chewing toys. This will not only minimize the accidental swallowing of foreign objects, but will also save you and your pet from the painful ordeal.