VIC has seen a run of dogs and cats that have eaten unusual objects, so-called foreign bodies, resulting in obstructions in the stomach and small intestines. Animals usually have signs of vomiting, lethargy and inappetance of more than a day’s duration. The foreign bodies can be detected by skilled observers with and X-ray study of the abdomen, or a quality sonographic examination.

“We recommend getting a specialist radiologist to perform these ultrasound examinations” Dr Zoe Lenard, of VIC, advises. “Specialist radiologists have had years of training performing thousands of ultrasound exams every year and are skilled at detecting subtle changes. They also have the highest quality ultrasound equipment available. Radiologists can also review the radiographs taken by your vet to look for evidence of obstruction, with our second-opinion service.”

In the last few weeks, VIC radiologists have found hair balls, parts of a golf ball, two pieces of cork and several socks inside the intestines of dogs and cats. Stone fruit pits/pips are also common at this time of year. Timely intervention allows for the foreign bodies to be removed, without leading to perforation of the intestine, which can be catastrophic.