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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19293
Experience:  15 years of small animal veterinary medicine
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My dog evidently splintered a roasted rib bone and about a

Customer Question

My dog evidently splintered a roasted rib bone and about a third of it is missing. I can only assume he ate it. He acts fine right now, but what should I do tonight?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 8 years ago.

Your little one's swallowing of cooked portions of rib bone may or may not be an concerning situation. I have seen lots of dogs swallow various pieces of cooked chicken bone and rib bone, and if it sits in the stomach for long enough (depends on size of the bone) it can be broken down by the enzymes there and never cause a problem.

That being said though, swallowing pieces of rib bones can be a big problem in a very small number of dogs. If the bone gets caught in the esophagus, you'll usually see a lot of distress and frequent swallowing being displayed. If it gets stuck in the stomach or a loop of bowel, you'll see any number of signs from lack of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, to depression.

Our ability to predict if it will or won't be a problem is impossible. Odds are it will not be a problem. One of the things you could do to be proactive is to have her radiographed by your vet to see how big the piece of bone is. Depending on its size and irregularities as far as shape, that may dictate how it progresses.

In these cases, I always have my clients watching for any vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite or depression. If any of these are seen in the next week or so, I want them to see me immediately so we can evaluate that patient. If something isn't going well, surgery might be needed.

I don't make these guys vomit, because it is much worse if it gets stuck comming back up than just leaving it most of the time.   So for your question as to what to do tonight, I would keep him quiet and consider having the films taken tomorrow unless he starts to vomit, seem uncomfortable or depressed here tonight.

Hope your little one does well!
Dr. Bruce
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
To Dr. Bruce. I should have mentioned that the dog who swallowed the pieces of rib bone is a 62 lb. Boxer/Shepherd mix. Should I feed him some bread?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 8 years ago.
That is good that your little is as big as he is. Hopefully he broke the bone up into pretty small pieces as he chewed it up. That should aide in its digestion and passing. Some feel that giving bread can help with the passage of objects/material/bones with sharp irregular edges. If your little one hasn't had any gastrointestinal upset (no vomiting) you could give him 2 or 3 pieces of bread. I wouldn't give him any more than that because it might cause him to have some gastrointestinal upset. You can wad up the bread into little balls about the size of quarters.

Again, keep a close eye on him for any abdominal pain, lack of appetite, and vomiting. I have seen a few of these guys have a little discomfort in about 36 to 48 hours when they try to defecate and the stool has a little big of bone fragments in it. Usually they are able to defecate the fecal material out that has it, but it grates a little as it is passing through the colon.

Hope all goes well.
Dr. Bruce