If your dog exhibits a chewing and eating habit, you may have concerns about the possibility of intestinal blockages. Our veterinarians in Clearlake frequently encounter this serious condition. Neglecting treatment could lead to severe health issues and, in certain instances, necessitate significant surgery to preserve your dog's life.
How Do Intestinal Blockages Happen In Dogs?
Bowel obstruction is a common cause for concern in all dogs, occurring when the stomach or intestines become partially or completely blocked. Such blockages lead to various complications, including the hindrance of food and water passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Intestinal blockages can prove fatal for your dog within 3 to 7 days.
Obstructions may manifest at any point along the digestive tract. Some may traverse the esophagus but remain stuck in the stomach, while others might pass through the stomach but encounter hindrance within the intestines. Alternatively, they may become entangled within the intricate twists and turns of the intestines.
The most frequent type of intestinal obstruction involves foreign bodies. Every pup risks inadvertently swallowing objects like toys, trash, and more. String, yarn, and rope fibers are particularly dangerous as they can become entangled within the intestines. Additionally, masses or tumors often contribute to bowel obstructions in older dogs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Intestinal Blockages In Dogs?
How can you identify if your dog has an intestinal obstruction? Unless you have witnessed your dog swallowing a foreign object, people often overlook symptoms of dog intestinal blockage as mere signs of an upset stomach. These symptoms encompass 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 is exhibiting the symptoms listed below, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Diagnosis For Intestinal Blockages In Dogs
If you've witnessed your dog consuming a foreign object, you might wonder how to assist. However, attempting it on your own is no longer advisable. Your dog needs veterinary care.
The veterinarian initiates the process with a physical examination, focusing on the abdomen. Additionally, they may conduct blood work to evaluate any impact of the blockage on your dog's health.
Your dog will undergo X-rays and any other required imaging techniques at the in-house diagnostic lab. One of these tests involves an endoscopy, where a small tube equipped with a tiny camera is inserted into your dog's throat and stomach. This procedure is performed under sedation.
Treatment For Intestinal Blockages In Dogs
You might wonder how to assist if your dog has consumed a foreign object. However, attempting to do it on your own is no longer advisable. Your dog requires veterinary care.
The veterinarian begins the process with a physical examination, particularly emphasizing the abdomen. Additionally, they may perform blood work to assess any impact of the blockage on your dog's health.
Your dog will undergo X-rays and any other necessary imaging techniques at the in-house diagnostic lab. One of these tests includes an endoscopy, where the veterinarian inserts a small tube equipped with a tiny camera into your dog's throat and stomach. This procedure is carried out under sedation.
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 perform the surgery, your vet makes an incision near the blockage site in your dog's abdomen and removes the object. The length of surgery varies depending on the extent 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.
Dogs' Recovery After Intestinal Blockage Surgery
The first 72 hours after surgery represent the most critical period for your dog. If the patient demonstrates good progress within this timeframe, they usually experience a smooth recovery. However, there are still some potential complications to consider:
- Sepsis (blood poisoning)
- Hypoalbuminemia (low protein count)
- Dehiscence (Wound separation or opening)
The first 72 hours after surgery represent the critical period for your dog. If the patient continues to recover well beyond this time frame, they should be on their way to a full recovery. However, there are still some risks to consider:
After surgery and hospitalization, you should actively monitor your dog's activity levels and ensure they remain minimal. Keep their physical exertion to short walks for at least a week to prevent any potential sutures tearing. Also, ensure your dog wears a cone to prevent them from chewing on the healing incision.
During this period, feeding your dog small amounts of bland food becomes crucial before gradually reintroducing their regular diet. Moreover, ensure they receive adequate fluids to prevent dehydration.
Major surgery can be a painful procedure, and while your dog won't feel pain during the surgery itself, they will likely experience discomfort afterward. Your veterinarian will prescribe pain medication for your dog following the surgery. It's imperative to adhere to the provided instructions to manage your dog's pain effectively and minimize the risk of infections.
Anesthesia may induce nausea in some dogs, and vomiting can occur. Your vet may also prescribe medications to alleviate your dog's nausea and vomiting if necessary.
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.