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Swallowed Deer Antler?

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  • Swallowed Deer Antler?

    My Boxer mix is a very aggressive chewer and needs the ability to really chew on something a couple times per week to be satisfied. After trying many chew options, she has done very well with natural deer antlers. Typically one thick 8" antler piece will last her several months (chewing about an hour per day). I just purchased her a new one, from the same brand (Artvark) as always.

    She chewed on it 1 hr last night and it showed minimal wear like usual. Tonight she chewed for about 1.5 hours and it had a decent size chunk missing (about 1/2 inch in size?). She was really going to town chewing and I suppose it is possible she chewed the end down that much, but in my experience with this dog it typically takes longer than that. She is not acting sick ATM.

    Should I be concerned if she DID in fact swallow about a 1/2 inch piece of antler?

    Does anyone have any other chew recommendations or positive/negative antler experiences?

  • #2
    I'd very much be worried, especially if you've passed the vomiting time frame (and if its a piece of shrapnel I'd be hesitant about it anyway). Remember NO metoclopramide and that it can sometimes take a few days + before symtoms can show up. Keep checking poop and under the couch for that piece and hope you find it, because if dog did swallow a 1/2 inch piece it won't pass easily. How big is the dog? I did have a dog eat a popsicle stick whole (was licking on it and licked too hard, sucked it down) and then subsequently pass it in about the same condition...anything's possible.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      No vomiting or any indication of discomfort. Eating, drinking, and playing normal. She is ~40 pounds.

      Will antlers be digested? I would assume the marrow part would, but not sure about the harder outer part?

      What is metoclopramide?

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      • #4
        I think dogs are perfectly capable of digesting chunks of antler. It's essentially just bone, and dogs can digest non-heat-treated bone quite readily (ask any raw feeder).

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        • #5
          We are talking about the antlers sold at dog boutiques right? I don't feed raw (because I see too many perforations at work to ever be motivated to) but the dog antlers to chew on I'm familiar with are viciously hard and I don't think would ever digest compared to a raw chicken bone. Not worth really pondering over though, hope it passes in whatever form it chooses!

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          • #6
            I'm certain I'd be worried enough I'd want an xray to see if/where it is. There are times that preventive $$$ is well spent and this would be one of them for me.

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            • #7
              Id monitor for sure. If its not sharp, it may pass with no issue or digest with no complications. But be careful, I have known MANY dogs to present with esophogeal or SI perforation emergencies from chewing on certain types of bones (generally round or sharp). Most dogs can deal with bones with no issues, but if you feed them on a regular basis might be worth investing in pet insurance for the "just incase".

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              • #8
                As others here have said, I'd just continue to keep an eye on her. Don't work yourself up over worst case scenarios or rushing her to the vet for pricey x-rays at the moment. Just keep a closer eye on the dog for the usual signs of digestive discomfort - depression, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (with or without blood), lack of being able to get comfortable lying down, etc., etc.

                If your dog isn't showing any of these signs during the next 2 weeks or so, I'd rest assured that nothing untoward is going to happen.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                  Id monitor for sure. If its not sharp, it may pass with no issue or digest with no complications. But be careful, I have known MANY dogs to present with esophogeal or SI perforation emergencies from chewing on certain types of bones (generally round or sharp). Most dogs can deal with bones with no issues, but if you feed them on a regular basis might be worth investing in pet insurance for the "just incase".
                  Squish, can you elaborate a bit on what types of bones to avoid? Are you talking about raw ones? The only kind I give my Springer (a very aggressive chewer) are the plain white boiled ones, quite hard. She loves the knobby ones best (hip joints) but will gnaw on the straight or small round ones as well. Especially when she works on the knobby ones she will break off little bitty pieces, and I think some of them go down the hatch. We haven't *knock on wood* experienced any issues so far (and they sure keep her teeth clean), but just thought I'd ask...

                  By the way, I spent a bunch on a piece of antler once, and she demolished it in like 20 minutes. So much for "lasting longer!"
                  "Horses lend us the wings we lack." ~ Pam Brown

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                  • #10
                    I feel for you, my Boxer just passed half a rubber ball
                    It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is 1/2" piece, perhaps 1/2" across? You dog is a Boxer-X. It is not the size I would worry about, judging what our Bull Terriers have passed, and if it was chewed off maybe guess that it was not too jagged. If our dogs had x-rays every time they got into something we would be broke. We don't feed bones to those massive jaws. Kongs have worked for them.

                      I can see your dilema, tho.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                      • #12
                        Squish, can you elaborate a bit on what types of bones to avoid? Are you talking about raw ones? The only kind I give my Springer (a very aggressive chewer) are the plain white boiled ones, quite hard. She loves the knobby ones best (hip joints) but will gnaw on the straight or small round ones as well. Especially when she works on the knobby ones she will break off little bitty pieces, and I think some of them go down the hatch. We haven't *knock on wood* experienced any issues so far (and they sure keep her teeth clean), but just thought I'd ask...
                        anything heat-treated should be avoided- nothing boiled, nothing smoked, no leftovers from a cooked human meal. Heat alters the chemical composition and they become indigestible and more brittle. For example, I often feed raw knuckle bones (the knobby ends from the joints), and the dogs gnaw off the softer joint surface and consume it and digest it. I once was given a smoked knuckle bone and gave it, with misgivings, and had dogs vomiting bone shards and pooping out bone shards, it was not a good situation- smoking renders the bone indigestible. With the raw knuckle, the bone bits that are swallowed turn soft in the acid of the stomach and totally digest.

                        You should avoid hard weight-bearing bones like cow shanks because even when raw dogs can break teeth on them and have trouble digesting them- the popular "marrow bone" slices from cow leg bones are rather dangerous for a number of reasons, but fortunately most dogs just lick out the marrow and don't actually chew on them.

                        Bones from other slaughtered animals, like commercial hogs and lambs, are usually from very young animals and thus tend to be on the soft side, but even from these animals the weight-bearing leg bones have at tendency to splinter into disturbingly sharp fragments. I even avoid feeding the leg bones of large birds like turkeys for this reason.

                        The raw knuckle bones (bumpy parts from the joints) and antlers are softer types of bone and the dogs can gnaw off small amounts and consume and digest them.

                        Most dogs who are experienced with eating raw bones won't swallow large sharp fragments of bone. Most of the vets horror stories are about people who feed cooked/boiled/smoked bones, not raw bones, but occasionally you get dogs new to raw feeding who gulp down the wrong thing, or sometimes you'll get a dog who just seems to be intent on suicide.

                        Most people who are feeding raw aren't trying to give the dog something to gnaw on- they are feeding food intended to be consumed totally, so they feed soft, easily eaten and digested bones. Oxtails, neck bones, rib bones. Small animal bones (e.g. rabbits). Not hard bones from large animals.

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