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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 21417
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Hey! My 5month old dog ate part of the cartilage off of a bone

Customer Question

Hey! My 5month old dog ate part of the cartilage off of a bone I gave him and I hadn't noticed until he threw up two pieces on separate occasions, it wasn't sharp like bone but it wasn't very soft either. He's still eating and defecating like normal so I wasn't sure if I should be worried or not? Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long ago did he eat this?
Considering how much he has vomited back up, what percent of the cartilage he ate do you think is still in his stomach?
Is he keeping food and water down?
Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He ate it two days ago and threw some up yesterday and this morning. I don't know how much he ate. He's keeping food and water down, he doesn't cry when I press his stomach and his gums are pink and moist.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,
If he had this 2 days ago, but has brought some up recently that means that the cartilage didn't get very far in his GI. And that means that it is quite possible that more is lurking in the stomach. Now unlike bone, cartilage is easier to digest and usually can be broken down by the stomach acid (especially with 2 days in there). So, since he sounds otherwise free of sinister signs, we do have a few options here.
First, if you want to err on the side of caution and since we may have cartilage still in the stomach, you can take him to your vet for endoscopy. This is where a scope is passed into the stomach and can be used to remove any items there. So, this would be a means of removing any bits still caught in the stomach and would remove any worries of blockages in the GI arising.
Otherwise or if you suspect the remaining pieces are small, then we can start some supportive care for him. We do need to keep an eye on the vomiting (but don't want to mask it with treatment at this point), but as long as it is not excessive, we can start by putting him on a light diet (ie cooked rice with boiled chicken/white fish or scrambled egg) for the next few days. Its easy to digest and well tolerated despite the bit of nausea he has. Whichever diet you choose, do consider adding a a spoonful of pumpkin or all-bran as a fiber source to encourage the cartilage to move through the GI. You can also add cat hairball treatment or a GI lubricant (ie Latulose, Miralax, food grade mineral oil) to these meals to encourage it to slip through without getting caught. And those would be our mainstays for getting this moving while monitoring him.
Finally, while doing so, we do need to keep a close eye on him. I am glad that he has none of those signs I asked about but I do just want to outline what to watch out for. Specifically, if we see any restlessness, lethargy, vomiting with blood or coffee ground type material, inability to keep any food or water down, anorexia, pale gums, straining to pass feces or passage of black feces (digested blood); then those couldbe our cue to have him to his vet so they can palpate his belly +/- xray to see if the cartilage is causing an issue.
Overall, since you have been seeing this in his vomit this recently, it tells us that he didn't actually passed the cartilage from his stomach. So, if there is more missing, then you can have his vet xray +/- scope him at this point. Or you can use the above with close monitoring to help him try to pass what is left without issue.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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