The Animal Health Bulletin
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
Serving Family & Farm Since 1979
Dogs, Cats, Equine, Bovine, Small Ruminants, Camelid
Healing Springs Animal Hospital
107 Nuckolls Curve Rd
Galax, VA
(276) 236-5103

 

Volume II, Issue I

January 2006

IN THIS ISSUE

        The Grievance with Greenies®

        Recognizing Intestinal Blockage – Don’t Feed Bones

 

 

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The Grievance with Greenies®

 

You may have recently viewed chain-spam and internet postings about the potentially deadly results of consuming Greenies®.  Health information found over the internet is so often of an extremely dubious nature.  One of the reasons for establishing this e-newsletter and responding to client requests was to provide veterinarian approved information from a known and credible source.  The claims against Greenies® require more investigation, but seem to have a basis in truth.  Following, we will try to provide a balanced view of the situation.

 

The Problem: A number of people are alleging that Greenies® either lodged in dogs’ throats and choked the dog or caused intestinal problems such as blockage.  This complaint will gain more publicity in the coming months due to a $5 million dollar lawsuit.  Newsday reports that the owners of a deceased miniature dachshund recently filed suit against the manufacturer of Greenies®. 

 

The Real Question:  The real question that pet owners should consider is “Does this product pose an unusual or unwarranted hazard to pet health?”  Eating is dangerous.  Dogs can choke on any number of consumable products just as children can choke on hard candies.  Nylon bones and rawhide also pose a choking hazard to dogs in as much as a dog can get a piece lodged in its esophagus.  In the lone experience of Healing Springs Animal Hospital (a facility receiving emergencies 24/7), the answer is, “No, Greenies® have not demonstrated an unusual hazard to dogs.”  While Healing Springs periodically sees cases of choking and intestinal blockage, this hospital has never seen a case caused by Greenies® (statement current as of September 5, 2006).

 

Intestinal blockage is a constant concern for dogs.  They love to chew non-food items, and dogs have a tendency to swallow large chunks of hard-to-digest items.  The accusers are alleging that Greenies® are not adequately digestible.  The treat manufacturer, S&M NuTec, counters that their digestibility testing showed Greenies® to be more digestible than dog food “when properly chewed.”  The two most common causes of intestinal blockage seen at Healing Springs are bones and corncobs.  Healing Springs has not yet seen one case of intestinal blockage related to Greenies® consumption.

 

See all the dental chews recommended by the vets of Healing Springs.

Consider the Math: We have included links to mass media news sources featuring individual reports about problems with Greenies®.  These reports have credibility.  S&M NuTec points out that it sells millions of Greenies® every week.  This is not to say that the complaints lack credibility.  Rather, it is to put the danger in perspective.  If there are 21 cases of Greenies® related illness ever year,  that would mean the probability of a problem is beyond one in a million.  Is this more or less dangerous than putting your dog in the car to drive to the groomer?  As of yet, most complaints are of an anecdotal nature, and the technical complaints have not been presented in an academic setting where they can be properly scrutinized.

Links to Stories about Greenies®

KHOU, Houston

Komo 4 News, Seattle

ABC 7 News, Denver

Kiro 7 News, Seattle

Newsday, Melville NY

 

 

What to Do: Determine your own risk tolerance.  Any chewable treat or toy that can be consumed represents a hazard to your pet.  Is it an undue level of danger?  Consider this.  The experience of this busy hospital includes zero Greenies® problems.  It includes many, many problems with dogs in the road.  If you really want to ensure your pet’s safety, make sure it can’t get in the road.  Healing Springs sees many parvo cases.  Make sure your puppies are properly vaccinated.  The cases of intestinal obstruction seen at Healing Springs usually involve bones from human meals and corncobs.  Do not fee your dogs bones from human food sources.  Keep dog out of your trash and the trash of your neighbors for the dog’s sake.  When you do treat your pets with Greenies®, watch them consume the treat.  You want them to chew it to nothing.  If they bite off chunks and swallow chunks, take it away from the dog and discontinue use of the treat.  Finally, learn to recognize the signs of intestinal blockage.  See next article.

 

To See S&M Nu Tec’s Response to the Animal Health Bulletin click: http://www.healingspringsanimalhospital.com/2006_Feb.htm

Subsequent Issues of the Animal Health Bulletin have more information on Greenies®.  Click Here:

Animal Health Bulletin Searchable Archives

 

See safe dental care products for your dogs and cats.

 

Recognizing Intestinal Blockage – Don’t Feed Bones

 

 

Dogs love to chew.  In the wild, chewing is a good habit, because it helps dogs reach the nutritious marrow of bones.  At home, chewing bones represents an unnecessary risk.   In the experience of Healing Springs, chewable treats and nylon bones are much safer than the real thing.

 

Bone consumption ranks as the most common cause of intestinal blockage in dogs.

 

The Problem:  Bones and corncobs have a tendency to get lodged in the intestinal track.  Even when chewed thoroughly, these items can form an impaction.  Intestinal blockage kills dogs.  Fixing the problem often requires surgery which can be performed at Healing Springs.  The surgery has a high rate of success.

 

Recognizing the Problem:  If you know that your dog has consumed bones, corncobs, or other worrisome food items, monitor the dog’s activities diligently for the next 48 hours.  Intestinal blockage tends to become evident 24 hours after the problematic meal.  They stop eating.  They become lethargic (lazy).  They sometimes vomit.  If you recognize these signs in your pet, present the pet to your veterinarian immediately.  X-rays can help diagnose the problem.  Depending of the severity of the blockage, if it is ignored for too long, portions of the intestines can die.  Ultimately, intestinal blockage has a strong capacity for causing death.  The good news is that an attentive pet owner can usually recognize the signs in time and that the success rate for this emergency at Healing Springs is high.

 

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Healing Springs Animal Hospital

(276) 236-5103

107 Nuckolls Curve Rd

Galax, VA  24333

 

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