New study highlights success of endoscopic foreign body retrieval in cats

A new study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice (JSAP), suggests that endoscopic foreign body removal in cats was associated with good overall outcomes and a low complication rate.

Endoscopic retrieval of gastric and oesophageal foreign bodies in 52 cats1was undertaken by Dollo et al. at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital, Akron, Ohio. The study was retrospective in nature, searching medical records from a single private veterinary referral practice for instances of foreign body endoscopy. 52 cats with oesophageal foreign bodies (OFBs), gastric foreign bodies (GFBs), or gastro-oesophageal foreign body (GOFB) were included in the analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to report demographic information, clinical signs, location and type of foreign body, radiographic and endoscopic outcomes, length of hospitalisation and major complications.

Vanessa Dollo, lead author of the paper said “The study supports the use of endoscopy for the retrieval of foreign bodies from the oesophagus and stomach of cats, demonstrating a high success rate (94.2%). Whilst overall complication rate was low (15.4%), major complications including oesophageal stricture formation and cardiopulmonary arrest may occur. Cats with OFBs were more likely to experience major complications than those with GFBs.”

There are two limitations to this promising study. Firstly, the cats were treated by one referral practice and this population may not be representative of other practices. Secondly, six clinicians performed the endoscopic procedures and so there may have been some descriptive bias introduced. The authors of the study addressed this issue by retrospectively applying uniform grading criteria to images obtained during the procedure to assess the severity of oesophagitis and gastritis.

Nicholas Jeffery, editor of JSAP concluded: “Endoscopy is often the preferred treatment method in retrieval of OFBs and GFBs as it avoids the need for surgical intervention and associated operative pain. It is encouraging, therefore, that the results of this study appear to show a good overall outcome for affected cats.”

The full article can be found in the January issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice which is free for BSAVA members. It can also be read online here:

For more advice relating to minimally invasive techniques including endoscopy, BSAVA advises vets to consult a text such as the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Endoscopy and Endosurgery.

For information on how to become a BSAVA member visit

1V. Dollo, G. Chambers, M. Carothers (2019) Endoscopic retrieval of gastric and oesophageal foreign bodies in 52 cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 61 (1). Available at: