Dog Intestinal Blockage Surgery: Procedure & Recovery

Is your dog in need of intestinal blockage surgery? Our Grenada vets are ready to guide you through preparation, procedure detail success rate, recovery, and more. Don't worry; we're here to help!

Dog Intestinal Blockages

Intestinal blockage is a very serious issue for dogs. Dogs are naturally curious and tend to explore the world using their mouths. Unfortunately, this can lead to them accidentally swallowing foreign objects such as toys, robe fibers, string, or your favorite pair of headphones. - seasoned dog parents know the list of possibilities is endless. 

Roder dogs might face blockage from masses or tumors; larger dogs could experience abdominal bloat and require intestinal (abdominal) surgery

This can lead to your dog suddenly falling ill and needing immediate veterinary attention due to a common problem: bowel obstruction. 

Our veterinarians in Grenada  have encountered cases where a dog's stomach or intestines get partially or completely blocked. These blockages can cause various issues, preventing food and water from passing through the GI tract and decreasing their blood flow. 

Signs of Intestinal Blockage in a Dog

When it comes to dog intestinal blockages, symptoms can include:

  • Visible bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Straining or unable to poop
  • Abdomen is painful to the touch
  • Restlessness
  • Aggressive behavior when the abdomen is touched
  • Whining, hunching, or other signs of abdominal pain (praying position is a dog's classic sign of pain)
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry heaving or vomiting

If these signs are caught early, and you get to the vet in time for surgery, your dog should recover just fine.

Can a dog die from intestinal blockage?

Quick treatment after the incident is crucial if your dog has blocked intestinal blockage. Missing these signs of bowel obstruction and abdominal twisting can lead to very serious consequences. If Left untreated, complications often lead to fatal outcomes within 3 to 7 days. 

Unfortunately, large and giant breed dogs, including Great Danes, tend to fall ill within hours of stomach twisting. Since this is a veterinary emergency, these pups should immediately be rushed to your closest veterinarian or emergency clinic that performs emergency surgery.

Preparing for Your Dog's Intestinal Surgery

When you bring your dog to Veterinary Associates for emergency care, the vet will examine the abdomen and might take blood samples to check the overall health impacted by the blockage. 

From there, imaging and diagnostic tests will be done in an effort to find the foreign object. Endoscopy is one of these tests. During the procedure, a small tube with a tiny camera attached is inserted through your dog's throat and into the stomach while your dog is sedated. 

If the object isn't removed during this procedure, ultrasound or X-rays can help identify the obstruction's nature and location. Dehydrated dogs might receive IV fluids to help move the blockage through the intestines. 

While some foreign objects will pass on their own, others will require surgery. If your vet finds that the foreign object is putting your dog's health in immediate, grave danger, surgery will be recommended. 

The Procedure & What to Expect

When your dog is ready for surgery, a cut will be made on your dog's abdomen near the blockage area. This will allow us to see the foreign object or mess that causing the problem. We'll then make another cut to remove the blockage. This process is called "enterotomy" or "gastronomy."

Depending on your dog's case and whether the obstruction has caused too much damage or if the mass is too large, the bowel may need to be removed (resection and anastomosis). In rare circumstances, the stomach or bowels can't be saved during surgery, and euthanasia may be required. The procedure typically takes between 1 and 4 hours. For less severe cases, dogs will typically need to be hospitalized for between 3 and 7 days.

Recovery After Surgery

During the first 72 hours after the surgery, your dog's recovery is crucial. If your dog is doing well during this time, their overall recovery should be good. However, be aware of potential complications. 

  • Dehiscence (wound opening or separation)
  • Sepsis (blood poisoning)
  • Hypoalbuminemia (low protein count)

Make sure to monitor your dog closely and keep them calm while limiting their activity to prevent the tearing of the sutures. Your pup will need to wear a surgical cone to keep them from licking or chewing on the incision that's healing. 

Before your dog transitions back to his original diet, it's important to feed your pup small amounts of bland food and ensure they get enough fluids to prevent dehydration. 

During your pet's surgery, they will be given anesthesia to prevent pain. After surgery, your pet might feel nauseated and could vomit, but there's no need to worry.

While your dog won't feel pain during this major surgery, he or she will likely be in some pain afterward. Your vet will prescribe pain medication. Remember to follow the prescription's instructions carefully to manage your dog's pain at home. Along with pain medication, your veterinarian might also prescribe medications to help with nausea and vomiting if required.

What is the success rate for dog intestinal blockage surgery?

Your dog's survival following surgery to have an intestinal blockage removed depends on the following:

  • Your dog's health pre-surgery
  • The foreign object's size, shape, and location
  • How long the foreign object has been stuck in the intestines

We will assess your dog's specific case and then review the diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis with you, in addition to addressing any questions or concerns you may have.

How much does a dog's intestinal blockage surgery cost?

The cost of dog intestinal blockage surgery can vary depending on how extensive the damage is, the length of your dog's hospital stay, the types of medications required, and other factors (such as where you live). 

    How can Veterinary Associates help?

    At Veterinary Associates, we understand that unexpected health issues can arise for your furry friend. Whether it's a sudden illness, accident, or injury, we're help to help. If you do experience an intestinal blockage, rest assured that we're ready to provide the necessary emergency care to save their life. 

    We believe in transparency and want you to be well-informed about the procedures your pet may require. This included explaining the entire process, providing a clear cost estimate, and advising any follow-up or at-home care that might be needed. 

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    Does your dog have an upcoming intestinal blockage surgery? Your vet can answer any questions you may have. Contact our friendly team at Veterinary Associates to schedule an exam for your cat.