Raw bones not cooked ones

Xray showing the bone (circled) in the small intestine. There is also another piece in the colon that can be seen above.

Xray showing the bone (circled) in the small intestine. There is also another piece in the colon that can be seen above.

Last month I had the unfortunate job of performing surgery on an 11 year old kelpie that had been given the left over lamb bone from the roast the night before. Unfortunately, the bone had passed into the intestines and had partially blocked the jejunum (a part of the small intestine). The dog presented with vomiting and eating copious amounts of grass.  After rehydrating the dog with fluids and diagnosing the obstructions with radiography (XRAYS) we performed surgery late one night.

We performed what is called an exploratory laparotomy where we opened up the dog’s abdomen and then made a small incision into the intestine and removed the bone and grass. The dog made a full recovery and is now chasing cows and eating Eukanuba and raw bones.

Bones can cause problems in dogs and some dogs cannot tolerate them. It also should be noted that as animals get older their stomach and intestines may not be able to digest bones as well as they used to (as in this case where the dog had been given similar bones in the past on numerous occasions).

The piece of bone in grass removed from the intestine.

The piece of bone in grass removed from the intestine.

Problems caused by bones in dogs may be due to:

  • the process of cooking bones changes their density and makes them less digestible.
  • Dogs don’t generally eat cattle/sheep bones and therefore their stomaches  have not evolved to eat them.
  • Bones contain high levels of fat internally which may not agree with some individual animals.
  • Some dogs have sensitivities to the proteins in the meat accompanying the bones.
  • Some dogs are greedy eaters and do not chew them sufficiently prior to ingestion.
  • Perhaps because some bones are cut in such a way that sharp edges remain. This is especially true for cooked bones that generally shard off with sharp edges.

Our recommendation is to feed raw meat bones to your dogs and cats such as raw chicken wings and necks. The benefits of this are mainly to get the abrasion effect on their teeth. Never feed cooked bones and if your dog or cat vomits or is in any way unwell please consult us immediately.

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