Dog with intestinal obstruction: recognize symptoms
Intestinal obstruction is a severe condition in dogs. If the intestinal tube is blocked or narrowed, the food no longer passes unhindered through the digestive tract, which in the worst case can lead to death. How to recognize the symptoms in time, the possible causes, and the treatment? Read here.
Especially young dogs that repeatedly swallow objects are at risk of intestinal obstruction. Small toys can block the intestinal loops and lead to a fatal condition. If you notice related symptoms in your dog, consult the veterinarian immediately.
Intestinal obstruction in dogs: what exactly does it mean?
Intestinal obstruction in dogs has divided into two types: incomplete and complete intestinal obstruction. In the former, there is a narrowing in the digestive tract, resulting in which food repeatedly accumulates in one place in the intestine and can only partially pass.
Complete intestinal obstruction is much more drastic. Here, the digested food cannot slide on and be excreted. The food mush accumulates in one place and exerts massive pressure on the intestinal wall. In this condition, immediate action must be taken. There is an acute emergency, which can lead to the dog’s death within a few hours if left untreated.
Intestinal obstruction in dogs: What are the possible causes?
The causes of intestinal obstruction can be many and varied. Especially in young dogs, they risk swallowing objects while playing, which blocks the digestive tract. Therefore, offer your charge only non-hazardous chew toys and puppy toys to play with – keep woolen strings, gift ribbon, trim, easily swallowed objects, and unstable toys from which small pieces can come off away from your pet.
Especially in older animals, causes other than swallowing foreign objects can be behind the intestinal disease. For example, tumors in the abdomen can press on the intestine and close it in certain places. But prolonged constipation or intestinal twisting can also put your fur friend at risk.
Recognizing signs: What are the symptoms of intestinal obstruction?
The symptoms of an incomplete intestinal obstruction are much milder and more complex to interpret than with complete intestinal obstruction. The dog rarely or never has an appetite and suffers from recurrent vomiting and diarrhea. The general well-being also seems to be affected: the dog appears lethargic, loses weight and stamina.
In the case of complete intestinal obstruction, the signs are more severe. Often, animals can’t stop vomiting at all, won’t let you touch their belly, and suffer from fever or low temperature and rapid heartbeat. If you connect your dog’s abdomen, it feels firm, and the mucous membranes of the mouth look bright red, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
In any case, pay attention to your dog’s digestion. If he hasn’t done his big business in a long time, you should consult a veterinarian. However, persistent diarrhea can also promote intestinal obstruction due to intestinal impaction.
Why prompt treatment is vital
Both complete and incomplete intestinal obstruction require quick action. Otherwise, large portions of the intestine may die or rupture – both life-threatening situations.
If you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, they will perform an X-ray examination and, if positive, initiate immediate surgery. The intestinal obstruction is repaired, permanently damaged parts of the intestine are removed, and the healthy parts are joined together.
Regarding post-operative care, one thing above all is on the agenda: rest. To ensure that the wounds heal well, the dog is observed in the clinic for a few days and finally sent home with a neck brace – so that he does not lick or scratch the wounds.
Act quickly, and if the operation is successful, your four-legged friend will certainly soon get back on his paws.