Close X

What Should I do About a Needle in my Dog’s Stomach?

Recently while visiting the vet with my 1 year old lab for Urinary infection the vet suggested taking an x ray to rule out stones...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Nov 1st 2010


Recently while visiting the vet with my 1 year old lab for Urinary infection the vet suggested taking an x ray to rule out stones or gravel. None where found BUT we did find a small needle in the dogs stomach. When she swallowed it no one knows. My vet said if she is not showing (which she is not) any discomfort or vomiting to wait and see if it will pass. Is this the wisest decision?

Thanking you in advance.

Penny
Manteo, NC

It is not unreasonable to give the needle a chance to pass naturally. But I wouldn’t wait too long. I usually recommend repeating X-rays after 12 and 24 hours. The needle should move within a day if it is going to move.

Your dog may have eaten the needle months ago, but it could cause problems at any time. Needles can punch through the stomach or intestines and cause serious abdominal infections. Thread attached to the needle can cause the intestines to bunch up. Either complication can be fatal.

If the needle doesn’t move within a day, I’d recommend that an attempt be made to retrieve it endoscopically. Endoscopy is less invasive than surgery, and it is the best way to eliminate the risk of serious problems down the road.

Photo: Pavel Krok.