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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 252
Experience:  Canine General and Emergency Medicine
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My dog ate a ham bone.

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My dog ate a ham bone. We took it to one vet who x-rayed the stomach and saw a bone about the size of a thumb. She wanted to operate ! A $5,000 dollar procedure plus chance of massive infection. The dog is in no distress, appears happy but has diarreah. Another vet said to wait a week to see if it passes and watch the dog. Thoughts?
A few questions please:

How old is your dog?
What breed/size?
Any vomiting?
How often does he/she have diarrhea? Is it watery or soft stools?
Is she/he on any medications?
Is she/he eating normally? normal appetite?

Dr. Amanda
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Amanda's Post: My dog is a 75 lb., 9 month old pure lab. Vomited a day ago one time, and nothing came up. No more vomit or even dry heaves. The dog is eating normally but not super aggressive as Labs do, but finishes his meals. , His stool is very watery diarreah with very little semi-hard pieces. Not on any medication, but was neutered a week ago and was on some medicine which he has finished. He is very active and happy looking. No whimpering, or lethargy.
Hello again,

Well it is a possibility, even with a small bone, that it can penetrate the stomach or small intestinal lining and cause peritonitis (which can quickly be deadly). With that said, a lot of dogs ingest bones with no problems, especially of that size.

I am not sure what is causing the diarrhea. There could be some irritation to the intestine from the bone itself, or your dog could be a little "off" with any food that it does not regularly eat (especially fatty foods).

As far as the cost of the surgery goes, we certainly don't charge $5K for a gastrotomy or enterotomy around here, but I can't speak for the vets in your area. Infection is always a possibility with the surgery, but I rarely see it. I always put them on antibiotics as a precaution, but have never needed to do more than that.

"Waiting and see what happens" is probably ok in this case, if your dog does not have a fever, vomiting and is otherwise happy. However, if there is any evidence of abdominal pain, fever, onset of vomiting, or severe lethargy - get him in right away, even if it is an emergency clinic.

My recommendation is to take serial x-rays to see where the bone is now and check the abdomen - probably once every 4 days or so. Also, be careful of dehydration from watery diarrhea - check with your vet for any possible medications that he/she may recommend. Keeping in touch with your vet is your best bet.

Let me know if you have more questions or concerns.

Dr. Amanda
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