Gastrointestinal foreign bodies in pet pigs: 17 cases

J Vet Intern Med. 2022 May;36(3):1185-1189. doi: 10.1111/jvim.16429. Epub 2022 Apr 28.


Background: Pigs have an indiscriminate eating behavior placing them at high risk of developing foreign body (FB) obstructions.

Objectives: Describe the clinical and diagnostic features, treatments, and outcome of pet pigs diagnosed with gastrointestinal (GI) FBs. Medical and surgical treatments, pig outcomes, and post-mortem findings were also investigated.

Animals: Seventeen pet pigs.

Methods: A multicenter retrospective study was conducted. Gastrointestinal FBs were defined as swallowed objects that became lodged within the gastrointestinal tract distal to the cardia identified during exploratory laparotomy.

Results: Common clinical signs were anorexia/hyporexia, tachypnea, vomiting, dehydration, tachycardia, and ileus. Diagnostic imaging identified the presence of a FB in 4 cases. Upon celiotomy, the FBs were in the stomach and small intestine in 17 cases and large colon in 2 cases. Types of FB included fruit pit, diaper, and metallic objects. Of the 17 pigs, 15 (88%) were discharged from the hospital and 2 (12%) were euthanized.

Conclusion and clinical importance: Clinical signs of GI FB were similar to those reported in obstipated pigs. Diagnostic imaging has limitations for detection of FB. Surgical removal of FBs in pigs carried a good prognosis.

Keywords: exploratory laparotomy; mortality; obstipation; survival; vomiting.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deglutition
  • Foreign Bodies* / diagnostic imaging
  • Foreign Bodies* / surgery
  • Foreign Bodies* / veterinary
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / diagnostic imaging
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases* / diagnostic imaging