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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18384
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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About two days ago, cocker spaniel ate a chicken thigh and

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about two days ago, cocker spaniel ate a chicken thigh and gulped it down only chewing it for about three times, yesterday he was sick about an hour after every meal, today he wasnt sick until the evening. during today we took him to a vet who said that he has an upset stomach due to the chicken bone and prescribed a probiotic. but this evening he was sick and is still lethargic, do you think he needs an x ray

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

I'm sorry to hear that your fellow is lethargic and vomiting after eating a chicken thigh bone 2 days ago.

The short answer given his attitude and repeated vomiting episodes is yes, he needs either an abdominal radiograph or an ultrasound of his abdomen.

Many dogs are lucky enough to eat a chicken bone and have the bone pieces fairly well dissolved by their stomach acid, leading the their being able to pass the bone fragments. But is some cases if the fragments are too large they can get stuck and lead to an obstruction. Or they can splinter and lead to a perforation (piercing) of the gastrointestinal tract and secondary peritonitis.

It is possible that your fellow is vomiting simply due to eating an unusual food. But I would want to know that he doesn't have an obstruction or perforation given his lethargy and continued vomiting.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
why do you think the vet didnt do a radiograph or ultrasound today just to be on the safe side?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if the bone splintered and lead to a perforation what would be the symptoms to look out for this evening during the night?

I cannot comment on that as I didn't examine him. But if he seemed active during his exam, didn't have a fever, and his abdomen felt soft and comfortable they may have felt it was less likely he had an obstruction or that the bone pierced through the wall of his stomach/intestine then that he was simply reacting to eating an unusual food.

Chicken bones often break down quite a bit and can be hard to see on a radiograph. So unless obvious trouble signs are seen it may not be worth radiographing.

Symptoms of an obstruction or bone piercing the wall of his intestine would be fever, pain on abdominal palpation or pressure, continued vomiting and lethargy, possibly bloody or tar like stools.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if he was reacting to eating an unusual food do you mean something other than the chicken bone, as he has had some fried fish and some doggy chocolate treats, and some dog vitamin tablets (brewers yeast with zinc and selenium) but would this also make him sleepy and sad looking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if he seems better this morning do you think we should still take him back to the vets today, as it is open only until about 12.30 if he is sick in the afternoon we will worry about him again

I'm sorry I missed your responses last night.

When I talked about him eating something unusual I meant eating the chicken meat and bone, but if had also eaten fried fish, some doggy chocolate treats, and dog vitamin tablets and those weren't things he ate normally those too could lead to stomach upset and abdominal pain, possible pancreatitis, and lethargy.

If he seems better you could take a wait and see approach as now, knowing that he had eaten lots of things that could lead to stomach upset, the bone may not be the issue.

But given the short hours today a radiograph that shows the bone is no longer present may help you feel more comfortable about conservative treatment.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
could you tell me what is the best way to avoid pancreatitis in future, what is the best diet for a cocker spaniel or a dog in general,

Pancreatitis can be triggered by several things, and sometimes a dog will have an episode despite our best efforts to avoid any triggers.

We do know some drugs or toxins can trigger pancreatitis. We also know being overweight, female and eating high fat foods predisposes to suffer from pancreatitis.

So in dogs that have a bout of pancreatitis we highly recommend a very low fat diet as a way to avoid any further episode. Generally a prescription diet would be the best as over the counter diets are generally not low enough in fat. The one recommended by most specialists is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Low Fat dry dog food.

See more information about this food at:

There is no "one diet fits all dogs" best food for all dogs because each is an individual. I do recommend sticking with quality companies that have been in business for a long time that perform their own feeding trials rather than relying on just a recipe or theory.

In general I have been very happy with Purina, Hills Science Diet and Royal Canin, but even within those brands I may pick and choose a particular diet depending upon a dog's health history and needs.

I hope it goes without saying that a dog with a history of pancreatitis is best off not being offered any table scraps and sticking to a dog food only diet.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
definitely does. Should I have Bernie tested to see if he has had pancreatitis? Also, I have fed him for many years on freshly cooked chicken legs and Iams and vegetables have been added the past six months.

Vegetables should not be an issue, or lead to pancreatitis.

If the chicken was especially fatty, and he was fed the skin too, that could be an issue. Sometimes even though dogs seem to handle things (foods) as young dogs, as they age their body can no longer manage them, or repeated insults can lead to illness.

Iams may be fine for most dogs, but if the particular formula that you are feeding him is higher in fat then his previous formula that too could have been an issue.

If he is not coming along testing for pancreatitis would be a good idea. It is nice to know what we are dealing with to know how to formulate a plan to get him well and keep him well.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sometimes he is fed wholewheat and white pasta, but not very often and brown/white rice, also pigs ears, smackos and bonios, would you mind commenting on these aswell please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is cheese good for dogs or bad?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is milk good or bad?

Wholewheat and plain white pasta aren't harmful and are easy to digest.

Most dogs are lactose intolerant so cheese and milk lead to gas, loose stools and abdominal discomfort. Cheese also tends to be high fat, which would not be good if he has pancreatitis. I don't recommend dairy products for dogs.

Pigs ears are digestible if chewed on and ingested in small pieces. But most dogs tend to swallow large chunks, which can upset the gastrointestinal tract. Pork in general tends to have a high fat content and is a meat that is more likely to cause stomach upset. That's one reason it isn't used in commercial dog foods. I would probably avoid these for him knowing he has a history of stomach upset.

I am not familiar with Schmackos or Bonios, but from some quick research they look to be dog treats. Schmackos look to be of the soft, moist, chewy type treat. These contain lots of artificial colors, preservatives, salt and I don't recommend them. Bonios look similar to a milk bone, and while not necessarily bad too many can lead to stomach upset and weight gain.

It sounds like your fellow is fed all sorts of things besides dog food, including table food, treats and chewing snacks. In many cases, especially as dogs age, that is a recipe for disaster. It interferes with proper balanced nutrition, leads to weight gain, picky eaters, nausea, diarrhea and possibly pancreatitis.

I would find a high quality, low fat dog food that he likes and feed that as his primary diet. If you must give him table food it should be veggies like carrots, green beans and maybe peas or fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe, banana, thin apple or pear slices, or kiwi. And even then limit the amount he is given.

I understand that you love him and want to share with him but poor nutrition and too many treats will cut short his life and affect his quality of life in the short term.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you very much for the information, is chicken and rice with vegetables like brocolli on a regular basis bad for dogs? Thank you for your patience and this is my final question!

Chicken, rice and vegetables are all found in dog food. They are reasonable, nutritious ingredients. But by adding things to your dog's meals on a regular basis you are changing a carefully balanced diet which leads to imbalances in vitamin and mineral content as well as carbohydrate and protein levels.

Just as you wouldn't add things to baked good recipe (like a cookie or cake recipe) without trying to rebalance the whole recipe, because if you don't the baked goods won't turn out as they should, you really shouldn't add things to your dog's meals consistently.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you very much for your very detailed help, much appreciated

You are very welcome, best of luck keeping your pup healthy.

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