On average, removing a foreign object from a dog can cost anywhere between $1,600 to over $10,000 with surgery. Even without surgery, removing a foreign object can still cost owners between $300 to $1,200.
Dogs can and will eat anything! Puppies are especially bad at getting into things they’re not supposed to simply because they’re curious. Most of the time, dogs can pass foreign objects naturally without the help of surgery. However, intestinal blockage surgeries to remove a foreign object are still as common as needing to get your pet spayed or neutered.
Depending where the foreign object is in your dog, surgery costs can differ. The most dangerous objects to remove from dogs are linear objects like string, ribbon, or dental floss. These objects can coil and tangle in a dog’s digestive system, which can cause even more complication during surgery.
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How Do You Know Your Dog Has An Intestinal Blockage From a Foreign Object?
Aside from witnessing your dog in the act of eating something they’re not supposed to, there are some signs of intestinal blockage from a foreign object. Be sure to look out for activity in places with high-risk items such as children’s rooms and waste bins, and close off entrances to them. If you believe your dog has eaten a foreign object, look out for:
- Difficulties with bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal bloating
- Excessive drooling and gas
Can You Wait For Your Dog To Pass Foreign Objects?
Most of the time, foreign objects will pass naturally without owners even realizing until they see the “evidence.” It is safe to wait for your dog to try and pass the object, naturally. However, it’s also important to be mindful that the further along a foreign object is in the gastrointestinal tract, the higher risk of complications can arise. This also means a larger vet bill for pet owners, and more challenges your dog could face later in life.
If your dog does begin to experience more than one symptom, is passing blood, or it’s been over 10 hours since their last bowel movement, bring your dog into the vet right away. The longer your dog waits to see the vet, the more complications can arise, which can affect your dog’s survival rate of surgery.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Removing Foreign Objects?
Yes, pet insurance can cover the surgery costs to remove foreign objects. However, pet insurance does not cover anything that is pre-existing. This means that if your dog currently has an intestinal blockage from a foreign object and you need pet insurance to cover the cost of surgery, you will not have it covered. Pet insurance needs to be purchased before any accident happens.
Most pet insurance plans can cover an average of 70% of your vet’s bill. Let’s say your dog had a foreign object removed via surgery that cost a total of $1,600. With pet insurance, you would have $1,120 reimbursed to you!
This can change depending on what pet insurance plan you have. Be sure to speak with your pet insurance provider to see what procedures are covered and how much they’ll be covered.
Foreign Object Surgery Timeline and Recovery Process
When you bring your pet into the vet, your vet will likely conduct an examination of your pet. This can include a full-body investigation to see where the object is, and an X-Ray to identify the object.
Next, once the object is identified, your vet will discuss some treatment options. This can include:
- Waiting and monitoring the dog for the next 10 to 24 hours to see if it’ll naturally pass.
- Performing a non-invasive surgical procedure like an endoscopy.
- Surgically investigating and removing any foreign objects from your dog.
Smaller objects can be removed easily with an endoscopy. An endoscopy inserts a tube into your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to find and remove the object. However, if the foreign object is larger or reaches past a certain point in your pet’s system, it will have to be removed with a more invasive surgery.
After you’ve discussed procedure options, your dog will be stabilized with IV fluids and electrolytes. During this time, your dog will also be monitored for pain control and will have blood tests to ensure they’re healthy. When the procedure is done, your vet will get you a set list of instructions to follow when you get home.
Recovery After Removing A Foreign Object
Every vet is different and will have a different method and course of action for recovery. It’s important to follow your vet’s instructions to ensure your pet dog recovers fully. Recovery could also include:
- Temporarily changing diet to easily-digestible food
- Monitoring and investigating your dog’s bowel movements
- Giving your dog antibiotics and other medications
- Keeping physical activity low for a period of time
Surgery, medication, and vet visits can add up. Foreign objects can also cause permanent damage to your dog, and can lead to issues like flipped stomachs. Removing a foreign object from your dog can cost thousands, if not, tens of thousands of dollars for owners.
Pet insurance can cover a large portion of these expenses, however, it does not cover pre existing conditions. This means that in order to have your pet’s surgery, medication, or wellness check covered, you will need to purchase your pet insurance beforehand. That’s why vets recommend getting pet insurance as soon as possible to avoid any accidents with your puppy.