Intestinal Obstruction

If you are like me, you follow the National Zoo on one of their social media sites. The day after Thanksgiving, the panda cub Bei Bei had to have emergency surgery for a blockage in his intestinal tract. Although, this is a rare condition for pandas, it is rather commonly seen in our pets. Both dogs and cats can have an intestinal obstruction. An intestinal obstruction is an item that prevents digested materials from passing normally through the bowel. This is very painful and if left untreated can lead to death.


Dogs and cats can develop an obstruction by ingesting objects that cannot be broken down through digestion. Items like rawhides, bones, cloth material, toys and hair ties are just a few items that have been found stuck in their digestive tract. Tumors, gastroenteritis and pyloric stenosis (narrowing of the pyloric sphincter) are other reasons pets can develop an intestinal obstruction. Dogs (especially deep chested breeds like Labs, Dobermans and Great Danes) can also develop Gastric Dilatation Volvulus – more commonly referred to as Bloat – which is the twisting or flipping of the stomach.

Symptoms of intestinal obstruction can include:

  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • straining during bowel movements or the inability to defecate
  • diarrhea
  • tarry stools
  •  lethargy
  • burping
  • excessive drooling
  • abdominal bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • restlessness

If you notice your pet with any of these symptoms or they are not acting like themselves – you need to contact us immediately at 717-477-8938.


Due to unforeseen computer issues, we cannot accept emailed appointment request at this time. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office during our normal business hours at 717 - 477 - 8938.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.