Foreign body cases

Case 1: Beau

Beau was always a bit of a ‘chewer’, nibbling on things he shouldn’t! Beau’s owner Clare told us, ‘My cat Beau used to nibble on anything made of plastic film - files in my office and so forth. I'd not worried about it, thinking he wouldn't actually eat plastic, but he did. I found him one day straining on his litter box and screaming, and it looked as if his bowel was prolapsing from his bottom. When I rushed him to the veterinary hospital, it turned out he had eaten an entire lightweight plastic bag, and it was on its way out. Thanks to the vet, he survived this, but he had a very lucky escape - if it had bunched up inside him, it would have killed him. From then onwards I have ensured that no plastic is ever anywhere he can get at it. I now realise that cats will eat stupid things.’

Case 2: Gilligan

Gilligan’s case is one of mistaken identity – he thought anything that smells like chicken, is chicken, including the foil the chicken is wrapped in. His owner Fai tells us what happened. ‘ While moving house recently we cooked our meals in aluminium foil - which we put in the waste basket when finished. One morning we found Gilligan acting as if he was in pain. A visit to the vet led to X-rays which showed many pieces of aluminium foil in his intestines and stomach. He had  obviously been eating the foil because it smelled and tasted like chicken. He went through some painful days and nasty tasting medicine before he was himself again. He never did learn to stay out of the waste basket, but we learned to clear up and never leave foil used to bake or grill meat where he could get it’

Case 3: Leo

Leo was a 7-month-old moggie who was into anything and everything. One of the things he like to play with was sewing cotton and he was seen playing with and swallowing some. His owners hoped it would pass through as it was only a short piece and he initially seemed unaffected. After only a few hours he started to vomit and, although he ate his breakfast the next morning, he was quiet and not himself. He was taken to the  veterinary clinic where his vet found one end of the cotton thread had got caught around the base of his tongue (figure 9a) and the rest had passed down into his stomach and intestine. An X-ray showed that his intestines were already bunching up and causing him pain and illness. Leo was admitted to the clinic and underwent surgery to remove a rather long piece of cotton (figure 9b)! He recovered very well and was discharged the next day (figure 9c). His owner (figure 9d) now shuts her sewing equipment away at all times!

...

 (Case and images courtesy of Orla Fitzpatrick) 

Case 4: Pepper

When Pepper was taken to the vets by his owners, the veterinary staff found he had a foreign body penetrating his neck. It was surgically removed and found to be the end of a plant with large spikes (10cm in total length!). It missed his trachea by mere millimetres, which was incredibly lucky. Pepper recoved well but it was very costly and stressful for his owners. The veterinary staff suspect that Pepper jumped off his garden fence and landed on the spiky plant, which resulted in his injury. They advised his owners to remove potentially dangerous plants and cacti from their garden and particularly away from fences to help prevent the same thing happening again.

Case 5: Window key

This story comes from a veterinary nurse. One day a young vomiting cat was brought in to her practice and after being examined, he was sent to be x-rayed. The x-ray revealed, much to everyone's surprise, that the cat had a small key in its stomach. The cat was taken to surgery where the vet found that the cat has swallowed a window key attached to a small piece of string. They could only assume that the cat had been playing with the string and had swallowed the key by accident, but it was a case that none of them ever forgot. 

Case 6: Kisuke

Kisuke treated himself to a 15cm piece of tinsel one Christmas. The first his owners knew of it was when it 'reappeared', having apparently gone right through without causing noticeable discomfort - very lucky for him! His owners kept an eye on him and notified their vet, but luckily Kisuke was fine. From then on, his owners always kept a much closer eye on him and the Christmas decorations!

Advice section: