To establish predilection sites of obstruction and to investigate clinical factors associated with a poor outcome.
A retrospective study of 208 consecutive cases over a 48-month period from first-opinion practice.
Overall, 91 per cent of cases recovered with higher survival rates from discrete foreign bodies (94 per cent in dogs and 100 per cent in cats) as opposed to linear foreign bodies (80 per cent in dogs and 63 per cent in cats). English bull terriers, springer spaniels, Staffordshire bull terriers, Border collies and Jack Russell terriers were over-represented. In dogs, 63 per cent of obstructions occurred in the jejunum but foreign objects were encountered at all points along the gastrointestinal tract. A longer duration of clinical signs, the presence of a linear foreign body and multiple intestinal procedures were associated with significantly increased mortality. Neither the degree of obstruction (partial or complete) nor the location of the foreign body was shown to have a significant influence on survival.
Prompt presentation, diagnosis and surgical intervention improve the outcome of gastrointestinal obstruction by foreign bodies. At surgery, the minimal number of intestinal procedures should be performed to restore the integrity of the alimentary tract.