Oesophageal Foreign Bodies

Priced from $1,600 - $2,600
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What is an oesophageal foreign body?

This is the name given to an object that has become lodged within the oesophagus after being swallowed. The objects tend to be reasonably large and most commonly become lodged within the mid oesophagus area (as it narrows to pass over the heart and under the aorta). In our experience, the most common objects that become stuck are large pieces of bone that a dog has eaten.

What are the symptoms?

In general, only partial obstructions occur (which means that fluids, such as water, can still be swallowed). When your pet eats, however, the undigested food tends to be regurgitated back up quite soon afterwards. You may also notice your dog swallowing repeatedly, which is their way of trying to move the foreign object along their oesophagus.

How are they diagnosed?

A simple x-ray of the chest is all that’s needed to diagnose the presence of an oesophageal foreign body in dogs and other pets.

How are they treated?

Known for being difficult to treat, in most cases we enter the stomach via the abdomen and will be able to feel for the foreign object using our fingers. A gastric tube is used to apply gentle pressure whilst the oesophagus is moved an manipulated over the object, helping it to pass into the animal’s stomach. Once this occurs, we’re able to remove the object and close up the stomach. This method is preferred, as it avoids direct surgery on the delicate oesophagus.

Procedure cost

Depending on the complexity of the surgery and the length of hospital stay required, these sorts of procedures usually cost between $1,600 and $2,600 at Melbourne Pet Surgery. Compare this to a referral centre where you would likely see a bill of between $4,000 and $5,000 plus additional costs for any time spent overnight.

Optional pre-anaesthetic blood test available for all surgeries (additional cost)

Recovery and aftercare

Bella, Labrador, 7 Years old - After surgery

Your pet is generally sent home the day after the surgery. They will be prescribed pain relief and antibiotics, as well as antacids and gastric protectants (which help to reduce complications, like scarring on the oesophagus). For the first few days, your pet should be fed a liquid diet. Over the next one to two weeks, they will be able to move back onto moist food and then their standard diet.


Bella, Labrador, 7 Years old
Dr. Scot Plummer

Meet Dr. Scot Plummer


Dr Plummer has always had a deep love for animals and graduated from the University of Queensland with Honours. in his Bachelor of Veterinary Science. After the success of his Brisbane clinic, Dr Plummer has launched Melbourne Pet Surgery with the goal of lowering the cost of high-quality pet care for all Melburnians.

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