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Radiographic case study: 6 month old inappetent vomiting cat

VetCT are delighted to announce the first in a new series of radiographic case studies. Use these to test and refine your interpretation skills.

Radiographic case study:

Clinical History:

A 6 month old Female Entire DSH. Inappetence and vomiting bright green material for 6 days. The cat is dehydrated. Blood lipase 1550. No abdominal pain but a small hard mass has been palpated in the caudal abdomen. Lateral and ventrodorsal radiographs were acquired.

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Diagnostic interpretation:

There is marked gas dilatation of a segment of the small intestine. Two distinct populations of bowel loops are seen in the abdomen. The colon is void of content.

A 1.2cm X 0.9cm rectangular geometric-shaped radiolucent structure is present in the left caudal abdomen and is surrounded by soft tissue opacity within intestinal loops. This is visible on VD and lateral views.

The spleen is subjectively prominent. There is mild decreased serosal detail. The rest of the abdominal structures and the included portions of the thorax are within normal limits.

Only 6 lumbar vertebrae are present.

There is evidence of 1.2cm X 0.9cm rectangular geometric-shaped radiolucent structure present in the left caudal abdomen and surrounded by soft tissue opacity (arrow).


  1. Mechanical ileus due to jejunal obstruction by foreign body.
  2. Mild peritoneal effusion.

Additional comments:

A radiolucent ingested foreign body has caused complete intestinal obstruction in this patient, which warrants surgical procedure.


An exploratory laparotomy was performed on the same day as the radiographs and a small piece of foam was removed from her GI tract. She recovered well and was eating and drinking the next day. She has continued to do well at home and is expected to make a full recovery.

Small piece of foam found on exploratory laparotomy