Exploratory surgery entails entering one of the body cavities, usually the abdominal cavity, in order to determine the cause of a medical problem.  Most commonly, we are looking for foreign bodies (ie bones, socks, toys, etc.) that an animal has swallowed and are now stuck in their stomach or intestines.  Exploratory surgery is also used to get biopsies of internal organs or masses.  It is a major surgery and usually includes a hospital stay and intensive care.