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Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32497
Experience:  16 years of experience in small animal internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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Help needed - cats have swallowed string and haven't passed

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Help needed - cats have swallowed string and haven't passed it after three days. Our vets are saying keep them in indefinitely until it passes, have an endoscopy under general anaesthetic or full surgery. Is there anything else we can do? Ultrasound? Barium?
Welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name is***** am a licensed veterinarian. I am currently not set up to make a live call. But, I am happy to answer your question on this thread. First I need to ask you a few questions so that I can be well informed and give you the best advice. 1- Have you been checking the stool regularly? 2- I am confused on what your vet is saying, to just observe until it passes, correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes we have checked all stools since the incident - there haven't been very many.Our vet says there are three options:
1. Keep them inside indefinitely until they either pass the string or symptoms of a blockage start, but we understand this could take up to months and unfortunately our jobs mean we are out for 14 hours a day.
2. Allow the vet to perform an endoscopy to see if they can see anything in their stomachs but we are concerned about general anaesthetic.
3. Have full exploratory surgery, but we understand this is risky so we don't want to go down this route unless it really is the best option.We are wondering if there is anything else that can be done like an ultrasound to try and see what's happened to the stringMany thanks for your help
1- How many cats?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1- Did you see them eat the string?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One of them, yes. I was playing with them with a piece of string, fell asleep on the sofa and woke up to one of them with a much shorter length hanging out of his mouth with the rest nowhere to be seen
To make sure I got this right, you know for sure 1 cat but not the other, correct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Give me a few minutes to type your answer. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Friend, I would not recommend exploratory surgery unless the cat is clinically ill or we are seeing evidence of the string being obstructed in the gastrointestinal tract. I would not take the wait and see approach either. You see, ingestion of a string can cause what we call a "Linear Foreign body." Meaning that the intestines will actual sequester the string within the lumen. When this happens there will be lots of inflammation and eventually rupture of the bowel. It may take days to weeks before the cat becomes ill. By the time we get to it the damage is so extensive that recovery is nearly impossible. For this reason it is best to not wait.I would recommend you discuss with your vet about doing a barium study, this will allow your vet to look for defects of the entire gastrointestinal tract to see if the string is obstructed. The endoscope will be good only for the upper or lower GI but not the middle. Ultrasound is another option but may not show much in the early stages. So, I would start with barium or an ultrasound. In the meantime, change the diet to rice and boiled boneless chicken or ground beef. The idea is for the rice to bind the string and help pass it in the stool. Please do not forget to rate my answer - I hope you found it to be excellent. If there’s more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know. It’s my goal to provide you with excellent service." Thank you for your business and I hope to work with you again soon! Dr. Peter
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Do all vets do barium studies? My vets haven't offered it so I assume it's not something they can do
Yes, a barium study is very common in any veterinary practice. You're welcome.
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