Written by Melissa Rotella, DVM

Reeses, a two year old mixed breed dog, presented to Route 516 Animal Hospital for a unique emergency. Reeses had been playing outside and chewing on a bone marrow bone; something that had always been a favorite pasttime for her. It wasn’t until Reeses’ owner called her to come inside that a problem arose. Reeses would not drop the bone marrow bone that she had been chewing on despite repeated requests to do so by her owner. After a few minutes, Reeses’ owner realized the problem. The bone was stuck around her lower jaw! Her family could not remove the bone and soon brought her into our hospital.

Reeses strolled into the hospital wagging her tail and acting extremely friendly. She didn’t seem too bothered by the bone stuck on her lower jaw. Her physical exam was otherwise normal and she was found to be in good health. Reeses needed to be given a sedative so that a better oral exam could be performed and a plan made to remove the bone. Once she was sedated, it was observed that a piece of the bone marrow bone had lodged behind her canine teeth causing the bone to be stuck. An instrument called a rongeur, typically used during extraction procedures, was used to cut the wedge of bone stuck behind the tooth. The bone could then be removed from Reeses’ mouth with ease.

While Reeses’ situation was unique, it is not uncommon to see a variety of foreign material getting stuck in the mouth of dogs and cats. The common culprit for dogs tends to be sticks or bone material that gets lodged behind teeth or across the roof of the mouth. Cats have been known to get objects stuck under their tongue, especially sewing needles and thread. Overall these animals tend to drool, lick their tongues, paw at their face, or even cough. Sometimes the only clinical sign can be a foul odor coming from the mouth due to infection. More serious complications can develop if the foreign object is swallowed and becomes stuck in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. If you have a pet that likes to chew, it is important to regularly examine the bones and chew toys in your house. Look for sharp edges, splintering, or pieces falling off. Throw away the toy if any of this is noted. Also if your pet is tolerant, it is a good habit to examine your pets mouth on a regular basis. Any problems or concerns can then be addressed with your

Reeses was lucky that she did not have any complications. Her mouth, tongue, and teeth were unaffected from the incident and she left the hospital wagging her tail like when she walked in.