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To provide veterinarians with updated radiographic descriptions of select radiolucent foreign material in a simulated gastrointestinal environment.


368 veterinarian respondents from the US.


An online survey was administered between June 18, 2023, and July 2, 2023, through a private veterinarian-based social media group. Representative commonly ingested foreign bodies were radiographed surrounded by air and water to simulate being within the gastrointestinal tract. Two examiners evaluated and qualified the opacity of the objects for each environment.


The private social media group had a total of 3,900 members including veterinarians from all disciplines. A total of 362 small animal veterinarians (9.3% of the group) responded to the study reporting a total of 123 foreign objects that were not causing mechanical obstruction at the time of initial presentation. Sixty-eight foreign bodies were reported greater than or equal to 5 times and grouped as balls (n = 4), food (9), fabric (14), wood (3), soft plastic (14), hard plastic (18), or other (6). Most (98.5% [67/68]) objects were easily identifiable in air. In water, 23.5% (16/68) of the objects were obscured, and 39.7% (27/68) had inversion of the major opacity when compared to the opacity in air.


The opacity of some ingested radiolucent material can invert relative to air or fluid, which may reflect substantial differences in detection following repositioning. When known dietary indiscretion occurs, radiographing a sample of the material in air and water will improve the accuracy of assessment.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


In collaboration with the American College of Veterinary Radiology

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association