A bone warning...

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

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MAC Spice of- Laurelbanks

Spice up your- life!
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 8:39am PST 
We had a very scary experience with Spice yesterday.

I had fed them goat shoulder (chunked), which I have fed with success many, many times. Spice took the bone out of her crate and continued to work on it after the meat was stripped off. My sister (her owner) noticed her doing this and thought idly to herself, "Maybe I should take that away from her," but as Spice has always broken bones down just fine in the past, she decided to let her have it. This was around 6pm. At about midnight, my sister headed up to bed and noticed that something was "off" about Spice. She was panting heavily and her sides were heaving. Instead of settling down in her favorite spot on the bed, she was sprawled out on the floor looking uncomfortable. My sister called me in, and I palpated Spice all over to see if there was any body part causing her pain. When I palpated her stomach, she whined (and this dog is not a whiner by any means). My sister decided to take her to the e-vet. They took x-rays of Spice and the first words out of the doctor's mouth when he came back were, "Not good." Spice did indeed have a bone fragment in her stomach, which they said could be causing the pain, but they weren't concerned about that as they said it would pass on it's own eventually. They were concerned, however, about the piece of bone that was lodged in her esophagus, trapped against her diaphragm. They recommended an endoscopy to remove the bone immediately, but of course that e-vet didn't have the proper equipment to perform one. So at 3am, off we went to a different vet hospital. After various computer snafus and an e-vet who didn't initially respond to phone calls asking him to come in (!), Spice finally was sedated and had the endoscopy done. Around 9:45am, my sister got a call that she came through the surgery just fine and there was only mild irritation to the esophagus. Spice is currently on Pepcid to coat her esophagus/stomach and a sucralfate suspension every eight hours. We are thanking our lucky stars that Spice is okay and feel very blessed that my sister was so in tune with Spice that she noticed immediately when something was "off."

We love the raw diet and love what it has done for our pups (it'll be a year in September that we embarked on raw)... but there are risks involved with feeding your dogs this way. My sister feels guilty because she didn't take the bone away from Spice when she saw that she was still working on it. I feel guilty for feeding the dogs chunks of goat, as I have heard repeated warnings to stay away from "cut" bones like pork and beef necks, chunks of bone-in goat, etc. but thought that my dogs would be okay as they 1. were careful chewers and processed the bones well and 2. will usually leave the bones in their crates after they are done tearing the meat off if they felt the bone was too hard for them. Apparently, as this scare with Spice taught us, they didn't always make the correct decision about whether or not to leave over the bone. It is our job, as their owners and the people responsible for their well-being, to make the decisions about when they are done with the bones and take them away if appropriate.

Please, please, PLEASE, always monitor your dogs closely while they are eating and remove the bones as you see necessary. This scare has made me decide that my dogs will only be allowed to fully consume poultry bones (chicken, turkey, duck), which are much softer and more pliable than beef, goat, or pork. (Oh, they can also consume fish bones. I forgot about how soft fish bones are.) I will continue to monitor them while they are eating (as I have always done) and will take away harder bones that have been stripped of all their meat. It's just not worth the risk for me to let them have those bones anymore.

Happy raw feeding and please, be careful and trust your instincts always! cloud 9
Jessica CGC

Will work for- food
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 10:42am PST 
I'm so sorry you went through that how scary whenever you need to take a dog to an evet.

eta: good advice too about palpating whenever your dog is not acting right. I'd have never guessed about bone stuck in the esophagus unless there was trouble breathing, and I'd probably had just thought the dogs ate something bad. thanks for sharing. I'll definately remember this and palpate my dogs diaphram area as well as stomach if ever they act unusual.
My dogs are good about not gulping bones, but i won't let my guard down.

Edited by author Fri Aug 14, '09 10:46am PST

Blake CGC

got meat?
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 10:48am PST 
Oh, Spice! I am so very happy to hear that you're going to be okay. What a scare that must have been!

I am so glad to see that through this horrible experience, you and your sister are able to see where you went wrong. Some people are so eager to blame the diet (not usually raw feeders themselves, but the naysayers), that they can't acknowledge that perhaps they didn't use good judgement.

I will never, ever, ever feed these types of unnaturally cut bones. I know others do, and I see them in the store all the time, but I will never feed them. Cut pork and beef necks also fall into that category for me. I feed lamb necks, but only whole and with gobs and gobs of meat attached.

I will also never, ever, ever allow Blake to work on a bone after the meat is gone. There's a reason we feed raw, MEATY bones: the emphasis is on the meat. The meat is quite literally a requirement, as this is what pads the bone on it's way down.

I, personally, will use this story as a reminder to always supervise. I sometimes get lax because I know Blake and he's been on raw for over 3 years, but there's no replacement for total supervision. It's vital.

Thank you, Spice's person, for sharing this story. If it could keep one dog from going through something like this, then it's worth it.

The Hounds- of- Bassetville- +3

Food? Where?!?
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 12:20pm PST 
We are so glad that Spice is ok! And thank you for sharing, because with 6 raw fed pups, this is definately a good think to keep in mind. I mostly feed poultry bones, and after reading this, will probably stick with them. It's hard to find natural bones around here and most everything I find are those cut bones. hug

Bridge Angel - always loved
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 12:23pm PST 
Spice, what a horrendous experience! shock You're absolutely right to drive home the maxim that we must supervise mealtimes. Byron got pigs' feet stuck on his back teeth twice. It was only the meat that was impaled, and he wasn't choking, but he was freaked that he couldn't get it off. If I hadn't been close by, he would likely have hurt himself. He also got a lamb bone stuck in there that was hurting both his gums and the roof of his mouth.

Dogs choke on kibble too, and ALL mealtimes should be supervised. Thank you for the reminder, since even with a few bad experiences it's easy for me to get lax about it.
Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 12:26pm PST 
Thanks for sharing, and we're glad you're OK! Yes, we also learned the hard way to only feed raw *meaty* bones and to take bones away when the meat is gone. Sabrina got a bone lodged in her esophagus and vomited it up the next morning thank goodness. However, it cut her esophagus and was not pleasant for her to recover from. So now I always watch the pups when they are eating, and I don't even offer large weight bearing bones anymore so I don't have to worry about it. The pups only get bones from chicken, turkey, rabbit, and other small animals.
MAC Spice of- Laurelbanks

Spice up your- life!
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 3:31pm PST 
Thanks everyone! Sabrina, we are glad you were able to recover from your esophagus-bone incident without too much fanfare. Blake, we definitely did not blame the diet... only ourselves! In fact, we were very surprised that none of the vets we dealt with gave us a lecture when we said we fed raw and we suspected there was a bone in her stomach (not knowing, of course, about the more serious issue of the blocked esophagus). Maybe they've learned, since they work in emergency services, not to lecture people bringing their dogs in... or maybe they didn't know much about the raw diet... or maybe they're supportive. Who knows? All I know is that I was prepared to stand up for the way I feed my dogs if anyone called it into question and tried to blame the raw diet for what happened. Dogs can choke on most anything; it was an error in judgment on our part to feed the dogs that goat and not take away the bones immediately when they were done stripping the meat off. Definitely won't happen again!

Spice is resting comfortably today and seems no worse for wear, besides the fact that she doesn't like her medication! She ate Evanger's canned 100% Buffalo yesterday; today she had chunks of boneless beef. Not sure when we will reintroduce the bones... we don't want to irritate her throat if we can help it. My feeling is that giving her a chicken leg or something like that would be fine, but it's up to my sister to make the final decision. smile The doggies are going to have pork spare ribs tomorrow... carefully supervised, of course!
Maya, Sadie,- and Kona

Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 4:54pm PST 
Glad Spice is ok. I too have been lax in supervising meals. I am around but not always right there watching. I will start watching them again so I know what they are doing.

Small dogs can- have BIG jobs!
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 5:17pm PST 
So sorry to hear about Spice's visit to the vet. Everyone who feeds raw bones should know how to palpate a dog for pain, do time lapsed belly measuring and mark accordingly ON the dog's skin with a nontoxic marker, listen for bowel sounds and percuss a dog's abdomen. All of these tools can help you diagnose an issue with a bone fragment, so that you can seek emergency care. Frequent mouth, teeth and gum checks are also very important when feeding raw bones.

Also, your vet can give you advice on feeding to cushion a bone fragment if emergency care is not needed right away. (As much soft bread as the dog can hold. It is often more palatable if you dip the bread in blood or meat juices.) Such feeding should only be done on the advice of a vet, as feeding when a dog is impacted can be life threatening.

Bone fragments can be very painful when they work through the dog's intestines. For a dog already inclined to them, seizures can result.

All the best for Spice's recovery.

Shelter Beagles- need homes
Barked: Fri Aug 14, '09 6:07pm PST 
Good thing she's okay! She sounds like a trooper though way to go. I've had to take the bone away from hallie too many times already. Hallie loves to tear the meat off then start on the bone, but then there's no meat to coat and cushion the bone fragments.
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