Critter Alert: Cow Hooves can Kill Your Dog

This is a first person account by Anita. It is a true story:

My 4-year old lab mix Phillip was the picture of health until 3 days ago. He seemed happy and normal when I left the house that morning. By the time I returned in the evening, Phillip seemed depressed and uninterested in his usual treats. He slept well that night, and heartily ate his breakfast as usual Monday morning. Within 30 minutes, however, he vomited up everything he had eaten. He drank water & vomited that too. I took him to the vet who, after exam, performed surgery to remove a blockage in his intestine. What he removed appeared to be a sizable piece of cow hoof. With the blockage gone, he sewed Phillip up and we all expected to see a normal recovery. Tuesday morning, Phillip ate a small amount of canned food. It came back up. Something was wrong. As the morning progressed, Phillip was getting worse instead of better. Doc ran some bloodwork and the results were puzzling.

Phillip’s white blood count was 2.98. Normal is 600-700. Phillip’s red blood count was completely normal. His liver count was slightly elevated. The blockage and even the surgery would not have created such an abnormality. We realized we were dealing with something else and began looking for any toxins Phillip might have ingested. Sadly, my baby didn’t make it through the night. A necropsy this morning revealed necrotic tissue further down the digestive tract from the original surgery site along with pieces of cow hoof. Bingo. Salmonella.

Did you know that cow hooves are not pasteurized before reaching the store shelves? I didn’t. The same is apparently true for other “parts” e.g. pig ears. I thought I was being careful. I stuffed the hooves with canned dog food or peanut butter and the dogs loved to lick them clean. Ordinarily I would collect them once the “stuffing” was gone, but Phillip obviously had gotten hold of one in the last few days and ate it.

I live in Hoover, Alabama, and today is Wednesday April 28, 2010. Sunday morning my Phillip was a happy, healthy, bouncy dog. Today he is no longer with me. We’ve paid a huge price. I don’t want anyone else to have to do the same.

Editors Note: Our hearts go out to Anita and her family at the loss of Phillip. Many thanks to my friend Tonya Formby for making us aware.

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Posted by on May 7, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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15 Responses to Critter Alert: Cow Hooves can Kill Your Dog

  1. -sepp

    May 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I had heard that the cow hooves were potentially dangerous and stayed away from them. Years back, I had a Dane that got sick after chewing a rawhide that had chemicals in it.

    • MadMike

      May 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      I have large dogs, German shepherds, and it is tough to find them safe chews. I do give them large “marrow” bones that my butcher saves for me. These are filled with healthy marrow, and they don’t break apart so the health risk is minimized. You can find these in the supermarket sometimes. They are generally known as “soup bones.”

  2. Leslie Parsley

    May 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    -sepp: I was just going to say something about this. I’m not 100% positive but I think those white hard bones are supposed to be safe. But I think Mike is right about the soup bones, at lease for larger dogs.

    I am so, so sorry about Phillip. It’s always so hard to loose your best friend in the whole world.

  3. osori

    May 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    So sad to hear that. We animal lovers take the loss of our pet friends hard.

    • MadMike

      May 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Yes we do Oso!

  4. Barbara

    May 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Posting this on my FB page for all of my animal loving friends.
    Thanks for this information………..

    • MadMike

      May 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      Glad I could be of help Barbara.

  5. Gwendolyn H. Barry

    May 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Excellent piece~! Sharing with all my pals who have fourlegged family. 🙂

  6. Lazersedge

    May 7, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with everyone Mike. It was indeed a tragic blow for Anita.

    • MadMike

      May 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      I wanted to do it sooner Bill, but I also wanted it to get maximum exposure and today is the best day for that.

  7. fourdinners

    May 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Cows can be nasty bastards. Having worked on a farm from 15 to 16 years old I’ve seen it.

    Mainly, cows are cool but, don’t mess with them if they have calves. They will kill you.

    Personally I loved working with them – but I always kept a close look out for any ‘rebel’ cows. Mainly they ‘follow the leader’ but there’s always one eh? There’s always one….

    RIP Phillip. You deserved better mate but humanity doesn’t always deliver.

    Animal lovers beware (and I speak as a member of Britains Cats Protection Charity) – we sometimes have no idea what we’re feeding them…

    Sorry for your loss old bean. Big time.

  8. amy

    November 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, I was just about to buy some for my dogs when this came up on a google search. RIP Phillip

  9. Kim

    October 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Thank GOD for this article I threw away the ones my 8 week old puppy was using, they gave him hiccups so I started researching and found all the sad stories of dogs getting sick and passing. Keep blogging it helps to get the word out!!!!!!! We have lost so much over the last 3 years, 3 dogs included, I think I would die if my puppy did also! Antlers from a good pet store (sells high end pet food) are great for chewers like our Boykins!!!

  10. Kim

    October 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Antlers bought at a high end pet store (privatly owned usually) are great for very active chewers like our Boykin!!