Traumatic reticuloperitonitis combined with embolic pneumonia and hepatitis is unusual signs of foreign body syndrome in cattle. A 4-year-old Holstein bull presented decreased appetite, dry cough, progressive weight loss, sternal recumbence and reluctance to stand and move. Laboratory tests revealed leucocytosis (18.4 × 10 /μl) accompanied by neutrophilia (10.48 × 10 /μl), and monocytosis (1.28 × 10 /μl), hyperglobulinaemia (6.3 g/dl), hypoalbuminaemia (1.5 g/dl), hyperfibrinogenaemia (10 g/L) and severe increase in gamma-glutamyl transferase activity (1,216 U/L). Reticular ultrasonographical examination showed a large amount of hyperechoic and hypoechoic content between the reticular serosa and the hepatic visceral surface. The main gross findings included fibrin deposition and adhesions between the reticulum, liver and diaphragm surfaces; a 4.0 mm in diameter transmural reticular perforation; a 12.0-cm diameter and scarce small randomly abscesses in the liver’s parenchyma. The lungs presented multifocal areas of suppurative embolic foci (pulmonary abscesses), interstitial emphysema and multifocal fibrin deposition on the pleural surface. Ancillary diagnostic tests, such as ultrasonography and laboratory test, associated with clinical evaluation, may increase the accuracy of the correct diagnosis and avoid wasting time and money on untreatable cases.© 2020 The Authors. Veterinary Medicine and Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.