What is a foreign body?

Our question this week was:

My neighbor said her dog might have a foreign body. I don't know what this is? Is it contagious?


John D.


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking what is a foreign body? A foreign body is term that refers to something being where it should not be. This can be in the skin, eye, respiratory tract, or gastrointestinal tract. It is NOT contagious.

For example, a foreign body can be in the skin – e.g. a piece of metal. Or…foreign material can blow in the eye causing eye irritation.

Most commonly we call a "foreign body" something that an animal eats and cannot digest or pass. It is not contagious. Many pets require surgery to remove the undigestable object. Examples of common "foreign bodies" are socks, rocks, string, toys, underwear, etc.

An article that might be helpful to you is Gastrointestinal Foreign Body in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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