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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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Dog ate bone yesterday and is vomiting today. Blood spotted

Resolved Question:

My dog ate a bone yesterday and is vomiting today and there were little spots of blood, should I be concerned?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Hi there,
Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.
How old is the dog?
What breed is the dog?
What kind of bone was it (chicken bone, ham bone, etc) and was it cooked or raw?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
4 years old Staffordshire Bull Terrior and it was part of a T Bone Steak
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

And how are her energy levels today?
Is she or he lethargic, depressed and reluctant to move?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

She seems ok, we are still sleeping. She has got up twice to vomit at 6am....(but she also ate some grass, and that was also in the vomit). She has vomited like that before.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Ok - and were there pieces of bone in the vomit?
How much blood - just a couple of drops, or a lot more than that?
If you press on her belly, does she seem painful?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

One small piece of one
Just a couple of drops
She doesn't seem to be in any pain when I press on her belly

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

I need about 10 mins to write up a detailed answer for you and will be right back!
Do you know if she chewed the bone into small pieces, or not?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

She chewed part of the bone, I took it away before she could eat it all. The part she chewed, did break....I'm not sure how small the pieces were.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Hi again,

There are a lot of different possibilities for what may be going on with your dog. The fact that there were drops of blood in the vomitus could be because the sharp edges of the bone scraped her oesophagus and/or stomach, or could be due to rupturing little blood vessels in her stomach with the intensity of her vomiting.

The issues that I would be considering if she were on her way to see me are:

1. One of the things that I think of first in a young dog is that she may have a Gastrointestinal Foreign Body.

Dogs eat the strangest things - plastic bags, children's toys, bones, bits of towel, socks, rocks and other things. Often, these foreign bodies pass through the intestinal tract, but sometimes they do not. They may get caught in the stomach or the small intestines. Bones do generally soften up and pass eventually, but it can take several days.

The symptoms of a GI foreign body are generally vomiting, loss of appetite, depression and dehydration. If your dog consumed an object that is caught in the stomach or small intestines, it might explain the symptoms that you are seeing. This would be particulary true if the object were something like a ball that could bob over pylorus (outflow from the stomach) and then move away again. Thus, water could pass through but not food.

In the case of an obstruction, surgery is often needed to remove the foreign object. I will include further information about GI foreign bodies:

If I examined your dog and was concerned about a foreign body, I would probably recommend x-rays to see if a foreign object were visible. A bone would show up very well on x-rays. A plastic bag would not show up on x-rays. It does, however, show up very well if the dog is given some barium (a type of milkshake like drink) by mouth. Then a determination can be made about how best to get this out of the dog, or whether it might move through on its own.

2. It is possible your girl simply has gastroenteritis from eating something she shouldn't have. Bone framents or twigs and leaves could be the culprit! Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines and can be caused by a large number of things, including sudden dietary changes.

3. A bacterial infection:

Dogs can be affected by overgrowths of bacteria in the intestines. In an adult dog these might not be more than a nuisance. The 3 most common are Campylobacter, Salmonella and E.Coli.

Here is a link with more information:

4. Pancreatitis

This is an inflammation of the pancreas, often triggered by a high fat meal. With "acute pancreatitis" dogs are very sick, with severe vomiting, painful belly and fever. However, with a low-grade, chronic fulminant pancreatitis it is basically a "slow burn" version of acute pancreatitis. The pancreas remains inflamed, with periods of pain and nausea, and vomiting intermittently.

Pancreatitis is a serious medical problem and is diagnosed by having blood work done and possibly x-rays. Dogs with pancreatitis may need to go on a course of antibiotics to treat the chronic pancreatitis and may need a prescription food to "put out the fire" of this chronic problem. Typically the diet is ultra-low fat. At first dogs may not want to eat it because of feeling nauseated and it does not tempt her. But with medications they soon feel *much* better and keep feeling well if they stay on an appropriate food.

For more information:

The bottom line is that there are a number of possibilities for what may be going on. Your vet would need to do a physical exam and possibly some diagnostic tests to figure out what the underlying problem is. I would start with a faecal sample, blood test and abdominal x-rays.

If she is feeling unwell at the moment, there are some things you can do at home until you can get her in to the vet:

1. WITH-HOLD FOOD for 12 hours if she has been vomiting today. This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.

2. When she is fasting, she can have lots of clear fluids.

So, water is fine, but also she can have pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog this size that means about 1 cup an hour.

3. After 12 hours, you can start your dog back on a bland diet.

For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 1/2 cup every 3 to 4 hours.

4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal dog food.

So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.

5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve herself and back in.

If your girl continues to vomit, develops blood in the stool, is lethargic or shows signs of abdominal pain, please contact a veterinarian promptly. My top concern would be a gastroenteritis from eating the bone, though I do have a worry at the back of my mind that the bone could be acting as a gastrointestinal foreign body. Good luck with your dog!

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