Ingestion of foreign bodies, including string-like objects (linear foreign body), is a common presenting problem seen in feline medicine. Foreign bodies may cause partial or complete gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction, resulting in disturbances of fluid and electrolyte balance as well as dehydration. Damage to the intestinal tract may also occur. This study reviewed the records of 208 cases of GI foreign bodies in dogs and cats that presented to the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital in the UK from June 2003 to May 2007. Twenty-one cats were included in the study, with 3 cats presenting on 2 separate occasions. Twenty-five percent of the cases in cats involved a linear foreign body. The types of foreign objects included plastic or rubber objects, string, rope or fishing line, and needle and thread. Survival rates were higher with discrete foreign bodies (100%) than linear foreign bodies (63%). Increased mortality was also associated with a longer duration of clinical signs and multiple surgical procedures. The degree of obstruction and the locatn of the foreign body had no influence on survival. The authors conclude that prompt presentation, diagnosis and surgical intervention improve the outcome of animals with GI foreign bodies. [SL]
Tyrrell D, Beck C. Survey of the use of radiography vs. ultrasonography in the investigation of gastrointestinal foreign bodies in small animals. Vet Radiol Ultrasound. Jul-Aug 2006;47(4):404-408.