Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat in Dogs. Dogs tend to eat unusual things. When a dog ingests foreign material or foodstuffs too large to pass through the esophagus (the throat), the esophagus can become blocked.
Small-breed dogs, especially terriers, are most apt to have esophageal foreign bodies. Esophageal foreign bodies cause mechanical blockage, swelling, and death of the throat tissue.
Symptoms and Types
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive salivation, drooling
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent gulping
Obstruction of the esophagus occurs with objects that are of a size, shape, or texture that will cause them to get stuck in the esophagus.
Your veterinarian will need to know your dog’s medical history in order to get a better idea of what might be causing its current condition. This includes any onset of symptoms, as well as any possible incidents that might have led up to this point.
You should also describe anything you think your dog might have eaten that could have become lodged in its throat (e.g., toys, panties, golf *****). Your veterinarian will do a physical exam, which may include an X-ray of the esophagus and chest. Another diagnostic tool that can be useful for imaging is an esophagoscope.
Your veterinarian will need to remove the object. If it is not deeply lodged in the throat, your doctor may be able to use using an endoscope, a small tube-like instrument with a camera and small tongs attached, which is as minimally invasive as possible.
If it is not possible to remove the object using this tool, or if your dog’s esophagus is severely damaged (the tissue has necrotized, or has a hole in it), your veterinarian will need to perform surgery to remove the object and to repair the esophagus.
If your dog’s esophagus is very badly damaged, your veterinarian will prescribe 10 to 14 days of antibiotics, along with some medications to treat the esophageal inflammation and pain.
Living and Management
It’s important to take your dog back to the vet several days after surgery to make sure that everything is healing properly. You should also go back after a couple of weeks for a follow-up visit. If your dog starts vomiting,
having trouble breathing, or exhibiting any other abnormal changes or behaviors during this time, you should notify your veterinarian right away. Severe complications can occur when the esophagus has been damaged.
Because dogs are known for picking things up in their mouths, either to chew on them, or because it smells or looks like food, you are the best line of defense in protecting your dog from swallowing inappropriate items.
Make sure that small objects are not left within reach of your dog. Indoors, children’s toys, and chew toys are commonly swallowed, as well as utensils, hair ties, socks and underwear.