For 25 years, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince has practiced as a board-certified veterinarian to small animals. Focused particularly on soft tissue surgical procedures, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince draws on a detailed knowledge of gastrointestinal foreign bodies as a health risk to dogs.
A gastrointestinal foreign body is any object that a dog may consume that does not pass easily through the digestive tract. These objects may cause a number of problems, from toxicities within the system to inflammation and bacterial contamination. Although some foreign bodies will naturally pass before causing any such symptoms, many will become stuck.
Blockage causes food and bodily fluids to accumulate behind the trapped object. This in turn imposes pressure on the blood vessels, which cannot supply the digestive tract with sufficient nutrients. This causes death of the gastrointestinal tissue and may lead to a tear, which allows for the spill of gastrointestinal contents into the abdomen and can cause a life-threatening condition known as sepsis.
The most common symptom of a gastrointestinal foreign body is vomiting, which occurs as the stomach contracts in an attempt to expel the offending item. Dogs may also display abdominal discomfort, diarrhea or difficulty passing stool, and a general lack of energy. These symptoms typically prompt a veterinarian to order blood tests and scans to assess for the presence of a foreign body, which he or she is likely to then remove surgically.
Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince has been practicing veterinary medicine for nearly 30 years. Board-certified in small animal care, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince maintains a particular focus on orthopedic care.
Dogs need their joints to stay healthy and whole so that they can run and jump without pain or hindrance, but the structures and the tissues that protect them can degrade with time, just like those in humans. Dog owners can help to counteract this process by making sure that their pets get plenty of exercise, particularly in their formative years (provided that this exercise is not so forceful that the dog is subject to injury).
Owners must also ensure that their dogs get all of the nutrients that they need to keep their joints strong. These nutrients occur naturally in a raw diet that contains bone matter, but most commercial dog foods today do not fall into this category. This being the case, supplements of glucosamine and hyaluronic acid can help to keep joints lubricated, while chondroitin supplements can support the repair of crucial cartilage.
Even with supplements, dogs need nutritious food in the correct quantities to prevent obesity, which can strain joints. If joints do become damaged, however, owners should seek treatment for their pets immediately to prevent worsening of the condition in both the short and the long term. This involves not only veterinary care but also adapting the environment, including the introduction of pet stairs and ramps if necessary, so that the dog can rest its joints as much as possible during recovery periods.