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The TV remote control fell on the floor and the batteries came out, but I can’t find one of them. I think my Labrador, Matt, may have picked it up and swallowed it. He looks fine, and is bouncing around to go for a walk, but I’m worried it may poison him. What should I do?

Alison Logan advises…

In this case, making Matt vomit is not the route to take, as if the battery has been chewed, so that the contents leak, then there is the possibility of him becoming ill. If he has swallowed the battery whole, however, then the outlook is much happier, providing that it is small enough to pass through the intestines.

First, though, it’s important to establish whether Matt has actually swallowed the battery at all, and your vet will be able to tell this from a simple radiograph of his abdomen because batteries are radio-dense. If it cannot be seen there, the chest will also be radiographed to check it is not stuck somewhere before the stomach. Fortunately, the contents of batteries will also show up on a radiograph, so it will be possible for your vet to see whether the battery is leaking.  If the battery can be seen in the stomach or beyond, then it can be tracked over the next day or so as it passes through the gut. Provided the battery remains intact, and continues to move through the gut, then Matt should simply pass it out in his faeces.

If the battery can be seen lodged in the gullet, however, then it will need to be removed via an endoscope. Likewise, if it is in the stomach or has moved into the intestines, but is considered too big to pass all the way through without causing a blockage, then your vet will advise removal.

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