GASTRIC FOREIGN BODY

By: Dr. Keeley McNeal from CARE Animal Emergency Services

Case report 04/18/14

Patient: Leeza
Species: Feline
Breed: Domestic Shorthair
DOB: 05/09/2012
Sex: FS

Leeza was presented to CARE Animal Emergency Services on the night of March 19th with the concern of an ingested foreign body. Her owner notes that she had seen Leeza chewing on something a short time ago, but when she approached Leeza the get a closer look, she swallowed. Leeza was reported to be an otherwise healthy, indoor cat of appropriate weight.

On examination, Leeza was nervous, but otherwise normal. There had been no signs of vomiting and diarrhea, nor was there any evidence of pain in the abdomen, which is often the case with ingested foreign material. Radiographs were performed to further assess Leeza.


Radiographs demonstrated a metallic, linear foreign body in the gastric lumen (stomach).It was determined to be a sewing needle. Due to the risk of penetration of the stomach wall, it was recommended to take Leeza to surgery to remove the needle.

Leeza was admitted to the ER clinic and started on pre-surgical intravenous fluid therapy. Once prepared, she was taken to surgery to have the foreign body removed by a procedure called gastrotomy. During this procedure, an incision is made into the skin, then abdominal muscles.Once the stomach is visible, it is surrounded by sterile gauze material to minimize leaking fluids. An incision is then made into the stomach and the foreign material is removed,in this case the needle and several inches of sewing thread were removed. Once the foreign material is retrieved, the incision is closed in several layers to promote proper healing.

The remainder of Leeza’s surgery was routine and she recovered from anesthesia with no complications. She was hospitalized for 24 hours to start antibiotics, pain therapy and to be sure that she would be interested in eating and drinking post-surgery.

Leeza was sent home wearing an Elizabethan collar (cone collar) to prevent her from licking at her incision during healing.

Leeza was seen on April 2nd for removal of her stitches.

Ingested foreign material is a common reason for pets to be presented to the ER service. While many owners are unaware of the things that most pets are willing to eat, it is always very important to call or come in for an examination if there is suspicion of eating odd/inanimate material.