Thank you for your question regarding your 11 year old Golden retriever who has eaten a quarter of a turkey carcass from the trash! As you can imagine, this is a pretty common question we get asked around Thanksgiving! This sort of case is always of concern to be since so often I see dogs such as yours in my clinic who have accidentally (or otherwise) ingested toys, bones and other objects and more often than not, these need to be removed via surgery. The chances of a foreign body obstruction occuring in your golden girl are less likely as this is mostly just cartiledge, however if she did swallow large chunks without chewing them thoroughly, then this is a definite possibility.
Whatever the case you will definitely need to visit your Vet in the morning - unless she seems absolutely symptomless. Please keep a close eye on here mucus membranes, capillary refill time and respiratory rate tonight as follows:
Mucus membranes - flip her lip and look at the color of her gums. They should maintain a nice salmon pink color. Get her to the emergency Vet if they appeal white or very pale pink, or if they are a dark deep red color.
Capillary Refill time - this measures blood perfusion and test this by putting your thumb on her gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanced white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency Vet.
Respiratory Rate - if she is continuously panting throughout the night this is a sign of shock and or pain and a signal for a trip to the emergency Vet.
If she has vomition throughout the night, seems painful or you are just overly worried about her state of health - ease your peace of mind by getting her to your local emergency Vet clinic.
There are a few things that could potentially happen from here including a partial chronic obstruction, a full complete obstruction or even something like an intersucception where the bowel telescopes in on itself. It is also possible that your girl may just have gastroenteritis and manage to pass any bone/cartiledge fragments in their entirety. If you are worried and get your girl to the Vet then they may want to give your girl fluids, and take several radiographs (plain and contrast ones to help highlight a foreign body). If it seems as though there is something stuck in her gut, the next step will be an exploratory laparotomy (opening up her abdomen) to be able to get the foreign material out.
Best of luck and for any further help please feel free to call on me. I hope I have been of help to you.
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Dr M D Edwards
Dog was extremely happy all day. Took a deep nap & showed no signs you advised to watch for.