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Snook

A word of caution: lamb neck bones

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Snook   

Over the years I've heard about lots of warnings from vets and other assorted people about giving raw bones (never give cooked bones) to dogs. I admit that I largely wrote the warnings off as either people who were opposed to raw feeding or vets who were promoting the commercially made products that they sell. My dog's vet had said several times over the years when diet came up as a subject, that she doesn't like lamb for dogs but never really clarified why. I always responded that my dog did well on them and left it at that. 

 

This week I found out why she doesn't like lamb for dogs, when my 14 year old dog became extremely ill after bone shards from one got lodged in his intestines. He has never been so sick in all of his life and I honestly thought he wouldn't make it a few times. He had multiple vet visits over four days, including two overnight stays and being taken back to the vet a few hours after coming home from an overnight stay. He nearly went back to the vet on day five because he was crying out in pain and bleeding from the anus, although we got through it with a phone call to his vet. On day six I was organising for him to see a different vet for a second opinion after he'd been crying and pacing non stop from 2am despite strong pain relief, when he finally passed the cause of that pain and settled down. 

 

Thankfully he has been steadily improving since then and has been getting his spark back but I cannot even think about how many hours he spent crying in pain over the previous six days, how many rectal exams he's had (he's absolutely red raw), how painful it would have been when the vet pulled bone shards out of his bum on more than one occasion, how distressed he was and in particular how distressed he was having to stay at the vets a couple of times (they had to catheterise him because he was too upset to urinate and he was in a bad way mentally from everything he'd been through), and how bad and painful the micro tears in his intestines must have been for him to still be producing bloody diarrhoea on day six. 

 

I realise that many people reading this will say what I always said about my dog being fine with bones but if I can help prevent even one dog from experiencing what my poor boy went through, it's worth sharing. He will never, ever be getting another bone and I would never feed any future dogs bones like this. Even though he's had 9 or so years of eating them without incident, it's still not worth the risk of any dog having to endure what he's endured. I've also had messages from a few people when I was sharing what was going on with my friends and family on Facebook, saying they too have had to have bone shards removed from their dogs (on more than one occasion for some) and one had to have surgery to remove the shards, so this happening isn't as uncommon as I'd thought either. 

 

I'm not trying to tell people what to do but I do want to make people aware of how bad it can be when it goes wrong, especially with an older dog. Maybe if I'd truly understood what it would mean for my dog if this happened, I might have reconsidered feeding them to him. 

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Totally understood :( and now even more-so after Justice's story.
I've long given up chicken necks/wings because I was worried about the tiny pointy bones. We still use Barf because of the bone content.
Now on a 'bone night' the beef bones are too big for my guys to swallow so they just nibble and suck until they are bare. So bare it looks like ants have had them. :laugh: 

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Snook   
11 minutes ago, Powerlegs said:

Totally understood :( and now even more-so after Justice's story.
I've long given up chicken necks/wings because I was worried about the tiny pointy bones. We still use Barf because of the bone content.
Now on a 'bone night' the beef bones are too big for my guys to swallow so they just nibble and suck until they are bare. So bare it looks like ants have had them. :laugh: 

He occasionally got chicken wings if turkey necks weren't available but he won't be getting any more of either from this point forward. The chicken for the same reason you said and the turkey because although it doesn't have much bone, it's pretty big and I'm concerned that if he doesn't chew properly or isn't digesting food properly in his old age (he had to go on to probiotics a while ago because he started getting terrible gas every time he ate, when this had never been an issue in his younger years, so poor digestion is fairly likely), he may end up with a blockage. 

 

He'll still get his BARF patties every day that have ground up bone in them plus sardines twice a week, so he's won't be devoid of bone in his diet. I've avoided giving him harder bones that aren't edible in case he breaks a tooth, as he had one broken tooth a few years ago and another tooth that was causing problems removed about a year and a half ago. 

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AS dogs get older I believe their ability to digest  some things lessens ..our dogs get much less bone as they get older - in all my years we have never had any sort of problem , but...there is always that one time ! 
Justice will be perfectly fine with his BARF, and other things to chew :)

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Snook   

I'm glad you've never had a problem and I'm sure many people are the same. Unfortunately for those who aren't so lucky, it can get incredibly bad so very quickly. I'm sure Justice will manage perfectly well without any more bones to chew on. :)

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ish   
33 minutes ago, persephone said:

AS dogs get older I believe their ability to digest  some things lessens ..

I agree with this, found out the hard way when my older corgi boy, who’d been having a weekly beef bone to chew on for many years, developed a blockage and was unable to be saved. A hard lesson. I’ve stuck with the softer bones like briskets and lamb flaps etc with the older dogs and a lot more caution. 
 

Glad your dog is feeling better Snook

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Snook   
27 minutes ago, ish said:

I agree with this, found out the hard way when my older corgi boy, who’d been having a weekly beef bone to chew on for many years, developed a blockage and was unable to be saved. A hard lesson. I’ve stuck with the softer bones like briskets and lamb flaps etc with the older dogs and a lot more caution. 
 

Glad your dog is feeling better Snook

I'm so very sorry that your dog couldn't be saved. That's heartbreaking. 

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I don’t feed any type of bones on the advice of general practice and specialist vets (dentistry and internal medicine), but I tend not to talk about it for the reasons you mention! I’m so relieved Justice continues to improve.

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Big D   

I'm no "bone expert" but I think its obvious that different animals have different types of bones.  Probably different bone types even within the one animal, and bones that may change over time as the animal ages, becoming harder, or more brittle, etc.

So some may dissolve quickly in the stomach, others may pass undigested.

Unfortunately without experimenting in a lab, I can't be exactly sure.

 

Also, keep in mind that items don't have to be particularly menacing to cause incredibly painful digestive distress.
I'm in my 50's and can no longer tolerate small seeds.  A roll with poppy seeds will just about kill me, and a single flax seed can nail me to the toilet for days.

 

Point is, better to be safe than sorry, particularly with older dogs.

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Snook   
8 hours ago, Big D said:

I'm no "bone expert" but I think its obvious that different animals have different types of bones.  Probably different bone types even within the one animal, and bones that may change over time as the animal ages, becoming harder, or more brittle, etc.

So some may dissolve quickly in the stomach, others may pass undigested.

Unfortunately without experimenting in a lab, I can't be exactly sure.

 

Also, keep in mind that items don't have to be particularly menacing to cause incredibly painful digestive distress.
I'm in my 50's and can no longer tolerate small seeds.  A roll with poppy seeds will just about kill me, and a single flax seed can nail me to the toilet for days.

I agree that there are different types of bones in one animal and different types of bones between species. With the lamb neck that caused the problem, it was from the same batch of lamb necks he'd been eating once a week or so, for the previous 8 weeks with no issues. Neck bones are edible and not hard like weight bearing bones and being from lamb, it wasn't from an older animal. 

 

I have wondered whether the issue was partly caused by digestive changes in his senior years, as he has had some other digestive issues in the past couple of years that were sorted out by adding a daily probiotic, but I also heard from people with younger dogs who'd had to have bone shards pulled out by a vet on more than one occasion, or surgery to remove shards that were lodged in the gut. My dog's vet had been telling me for years that she doesn't like lamb bones for dogs, and it turns out that this is the reason why. 

 

For me, I no longer think the risk of something going wrong is worth feeding any solid bones (he still has them ground up in his BARF mix), even though we had several years without an incident. The severity and duration of what my dog went through, and that I thought he wasn't going to make it, is just far too great a price to pay. 

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I don't think the benefits are worth it - I try to minimise any risk for Rheneas.  He no longer has bones in any form.  I don't believe any deficiency the lack of them might cause makes a blind bit of difference for a very old doggie, and why chance the sooner or later pain in the digestive process once it cannot cope?

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Snook   
48 minutes ago, PossumCorner said:

I don't think the benefits are worth it - I try to minimise any risk for Rheneas.  He no longer has bones in any form.  I don't believe any deficiency the lack of them might cause makes a blind bit of difference for a very old doggie, and why chance the sooner or later pain in the digestive process once it cannot cope?

I agree with you completely. It would be horrific for any dog to go through what Justice went through but with an old dog, it's beyond devastating. Thinking he wouldn't make it at a few points along the way shattered me and he's still not back to his old self. He's got his spark back but he always seemed like a much younger dog to me, and to everyone who met him. Most people thought he was around 8 years old and his groomer thought he was 10. This has really taken a toll on him and he appears more like the 14 year old that he is since it happened and for the first time ever, a stranger was patting him and asked me if he was really old. :(

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It is a shock when you realise your dog/s are elderly.  Apart from my first two dogs most of the dogs who have lived with me have been well out of puppyhood and several already elderly.  Tamar was only a puppy when I collected her from the pound coming up to 16 years ago, so she has always been “my puppy” even as she aged.  

 

I got a surprise too when someone suggested to me that Tamar was old.  My puppy !!! Old ???    How dare they.  :)

 

And there is no doubt that what Justice has been through has taken its toll and will have aged him.  Sooty is coming up for 14, but the vet reckons because of her hard life, her body age is more than her biological age which makes me very sad, really.    

 

However, we do the best we can and your best for Justice has been the best of the best.   :heart:  

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Snook   
12 hours ago, Loving my Oldies said:

It is a shock when you realise your dog/s are elderly.  Apart from my first two dogs most of the dogs who have lived with me have been well out of puppyhood and several already elderly.  Tamar was only a puppy when I collected her from the pound coming up to 16 years ago, so she has always been “my puppy” even as she aged.  

 

I got a surprise too when someone suggested to me that Tamar was old.  My puppy !!! Old ???    How dare they.  :)

 

And there is no doubt that what Justice has been through has taken its toll and will have aged him.  Sooty is coming up for 14, but the vet reckons because of her hard life, her body age is more than her biological age which makes me very sad, really.    

 

However, we do the best we can and your best for Justice has been the best of the best.   :heart:  

Thank you so much for your kind words. Justice is my first dog and it's bloody hard seeing him get old on me, especially when we've been so lucky that he has seemed much younger for so long. Sooty is very lucky to have found such a dedicated owner to help her live out the rest of her life being safe and loved, after such a difficult start. :heart:

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