Eddie is a 2 and a half year old domestic short hair cat who recently spent some time in our hospital. His owners brought him to see the vet after noticing that he had not been himself for a few days. He was eating less and was very quiet. One morning he vomited a few times so his owners decided a trip to the vet was needed. Dr Bree gave Eddie a thorough examination and discovered that he was very sore in his abdomen and his intestines felt full and thickened. She recommended x-rays to examine further, in order to find out what was happening in his abdomen.
On Eddie's x-rays Dr Bree noticed an unusual shaded area in his intestines and became suspicious that Eddie had a foreign object inside him. This body could either be an item that is not food or a tumour. Foreign bodies can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract, causing discomfort, nausea, build up of gases, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is very important that the foreign body is removed. Sometimes this requires surgery. In other cases the foreign body can be passed with the aid of laxatives or an enema. Our vets decided to give Eddie a laxative and kept him overnight in hospital for observations.
The next day Eddie had still not produced any faeces. Dr Bree sedated him in order to take another x-ray to see if the foreign body was moving through the intestinal tract. It had moved a little so Eddie was given another laxative. A few minutes later he passed the foreign body! As you can see from the photo, the cause of the problem turned out to be a long piece of red ribbon! Eddie's owners were very surprised that he was able to swallow it as it was so long!
Pets will often play with, chew and swallow things that may cause an obstruction. It is important for owners to be vigilant about what their pets play with, but also to recognise the signs if their pet is unwell and to seek veterinary attention just like Eddie's concerned owners had.