Buffy is a sweet little 9 month old dachshund who presented to us with retching and vomiting. Buffy is usually such a happy little sausage dog, even for her visits to the vet, but on this occasion she was very sad. Her abdomen was sore to touch, particularly on the front of her abdomen, and she was very tense. Buffy’s owner had fed her a raw lamb chop bone a few days earlier, but Buffy had eaten these before without issue.
We ran some bloods on Buffy and the white blood cell count was high, suggestive of infection or inflammation. On discussion with the owner we decided to start some antibiotic treatment and some bland food, however Buffy did not improve.
The next day Buffy’s owner brought her back to the vet as she was unsettled and seemed uncomfortable, groaning and panting. On repeat examination Buffy was still very tense and sore in her abdomen so it was decided to admit Buffy for some intravenous fluids, pain relief, and x-rays.
On the x-rays we saw a large piece of bone sitting in Buffy’s stomach! Buffy is only a little dog tipping the scales at 5.1kg, and it took up the whole width of her stomach. There was no way this bone was going to be able to pass on its own, and it was clearly causing a lot of problems.
Buffy’s owner was called and consented to proceed with surgery to remove the bone.
Buffy underwent a procedure known as a gastrotomy. We made an incision in her abdomen, then went into her stomach and removed the piece of bone. It measured a whopping 9.5cm in length and it was very sharp at one end. She was very lucky the bone didn’t damage her stomach any further.
Buffy woke up well from her procedure and was discharged the same afternoon. The owners reported Buffy was back to her normal happy self within a day of her surgery and her incision healed well. When she came in for her post operative check she was the happy little dachshund we were so used to seeing.
This serves as a reminder that bones, even raw ones as Buffy’s was, can be potentially very dangerous to pets. They can pose a risk of getting stuck in the stomach,but can also get stuck elsewhere, causing choking, or constipation. Bones can also potentially cause gastroenteritis and pancreatitis.
If you wish to take care of your pet’s teeth there are lots of safer options available, such as dental diets, dental chews, and teeth brushing!