A two-year-old spayed female shih-tzu was referred with a 10-month history of lethargy, chronic diarrhoea and weight loss. On presentation, a partial response to antibiotics was noted. Physical examination revealed an abdominal mass, and serum biochemistry and haematology revealed a mature neutrophilia, hypoalbuminaemia and a non-regenerative anaemia. Contrast radiography and abdominal ultrasound were suggestive of an intraluminal foreign body. Exploratory laparotomy revealed a surgical swab in the lumen of the jejunum that was associated with severe adhesions. Histopathology showed evidence of transmural migration of the swab from the peritoneal cavity to the lumen of the jejunum.