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Old 11-07-2012, 06:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bone shards in ground meats: Dangerous? Or don't worry?

Hi guys,

I've had my 14-year-old CRF/CKD cat, Wintressia, on a raw diet for several months. She's doing well, and she loves the raw foods. I've wanted to switch her over to whole prey (or at least Frankenprey), but I've had some difficulty, so I've been mostly feeding her commercial ground raw, mostly Feline's Pride and Rad Cat, and mostly "fowl" meats like chicken and turkey.

I started to look around for other options in order to switch up her protein sources (both for nutritional reasons and so she didn't get bored of one type of meat) and I found Hare Today. They sell a huge variety of ground meats, some of them fairly exotic.

I purchased several one-pound rolls of various ground meats from Hare Today, including pheasant, goat, llama, mutton, and beef. I made sure to get the ground meats that included bone and organs. I got the "fine" grinds. I got some Alnutrin supplement as well, since the ground meats are unsupplemented.

Here's an example of the type I got:

https://www.hare-today.com/product_i...roducts_id=300

My cat LOVES the "novel" meats like the llama and mutton. She polishes off her meals in seconds.

Then, a few days ago, I noticed something leftover in her dish and picked it out. It was a small bone shard, quite sharp on both ends, about the length of my pinky fingernail and about 1/3 of its width.

Tonight, I literally picked through her dinner portion of mutton and pulled out all of these bone shards. Keep in mind that all of this is from just ONE ounce of meat:





I know most of them are small and pretty much just rounded nublets of bone bits and probably pose zero danger, but there are a few VERY sharp shards:





These sharp shards are quite sharp, and do not break or shatter when I try to bend them.

My cat has been eating the llama and mutton grinds for at least a week now, and I haven't seen any signs of bleeding in her mouth, or blood in her stool. Nor have I seen her pawing at her mouth (indicating a bone shard stuck in her teeth). She is still acting normally and does not seem to be in any pain.

However, I'm very worried now. Is there a good chance that these shards will perforate her stomach or intestines? Should I stop feeding the Hare Today grinds altogether? Are these sharp shards a cause for concern? Should I take her to the vet for an x-ray/exam even though she hasn't shown signs of pain?

I can always comb through her meals and pick out all of the sharp bone shards before I give it to her, but then she might not be getting enough bone in her diet.

Has anyone had any experience with shards like this? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks :}
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd like to hear what other people say but 1) that bone was maybe too picky for her Your cat said 'nah too pointy' and chose not to eat it. Thats good, means you can trust your cat to 'feel' what shes eating instead of gorge. 2) If the cat swallowed a bone that could injure her, her stomach acid would probably deal with it before it got to her intestinal track, since it is still soft, raw bone. (thats one of cats safety mechanisms against parasites or contaminated food, they digest quickly and efficiently so nothing stays in their system too long).

Your vigilance is commendable! keep an eye on her anyway. And if you feel worried, continue picking out bone until you get more replies. Maybe from other folks who use the same food as you?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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IMO many of those bones are too large for cats--pretty much everything you mentioned. I don't give cats bone-in chicken either. Unlike canids, who hunt in packs to bring down large animals, cats hunt alone and hence, stick with relatively small animals (significantly smaller than they are). Rabbit (and wild rabbits are small compared to domestic ones, which are a different species) is about the biggest thing a cat can bring down.

I stick w/ bone-in meats w/ cat-sized bones: quail, mice, rats, chicks, small rabbits, and occasionally cornish hen. When I frankenprey it w/ the cats (usually I feed whole prey) I feed BONELESS mutton, goat, beef, etc., but not bone-in. I would not feed ground food anyway, but I would be esp. careful of feeding any ground bone-in meat w/ bones from larger animals.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My cats eat ground mixes from Hare Today and they have the same type of shards you describe. They have been eating this for the last year with no problems, and before that, I have been feeding chicken wings, necks, quail, chicken ribs, etc....never had an issue.

The only issue of this nature I have ever had with one of my cats (and it was with something with no bone in it whatsoever) was with Sasha trying to eat a whole piece of turkey gizzard without chewing it properly. It got stuck in his throat and I had to give him CPR and Heimlich him....so scary. So now, I do cut all gizzards into bite size pieces because he still tries to scarf everything down without chewing all the way.

I would say if your cats are used to eating other larger bones, it shouldn't be an issue. But, having said that, at the end of the day it's what makes you feel comfortable. If you feel uneasy about the bone shards, only buy mixes in the future with no bone in them.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ugh... hate the 5 minute rule.

Was going to finish off by stating that:

or you can go through it at each meal and just remove the larger pieces.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OK 5 minute thing...really annoying!!!

I do feel that their digestive system is not the same as ours and will break down those small bone fragments before they make it into the intestine. When I see what is in the litter box, it is compact and there are no chunks, shards, etc. It just does not make it that far before it's broken down.

This info came from the National Digestive Diseases Info Clearinghouse (it applies to humans, but you get the gist):

"Several factors affect emptying of the stomach, including the kind of food and the degree of muscle action of the emptying stomach and the small intestine. Carbohydrates, for example, spend the least amount of time in the stomach, while protein stays in the stomach longer, and fats the longest. As the food dissolves into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion.


Finally, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported throughout the body. The waste products of this process include undigested parts of the food, known as fiber, and older cells that have been shed from the mucosa. These materials are pushed into the colon, where they remain until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement."


By the time most nutrients would hit the intestines, it's mostly pulp, mush or juice. Ok, done now
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you guys for the replies :}

Things can seem pretty terrifying at 1 AM when the world is dark and no one else is awake... since my cat's last meal of the day is at 1 AM, I managed to work myself into a pretty big freak-out about the bone shards. I even put on some gloves and um... did a "break-down" (literally) of some of her poo.

But once daylight hit, I came back and read the replies. I feel much better now. I think I got a little too worried about the shards!

From now on, I'll pick through the portions until we've gotten through the stock that I have now. I'll leave the bone nublets, but if I find any sharp shards, they're out!

Hoofmaiden - yeah, I think I'll be skipping the bone-in grinds from the larger critters from now on. They seemed like a dream come true at the time I ordered them, since I know Win will happily eat ground raw meat, and I wanted a greater variety than what I was getting with Feline's Pride.

I'm still going to try transitioning Win to full frankenprey, but she's been terribly stubborn. She happily eats chunks of meat and organs, and she'll eat pinky mice if I chop them into segments. If I chop and skin 1-day-old quail or chicks, she'll eat SOME of them, and then leave the rest (which is amusing because her favorite grind "flavors" are fowl). She'll make an attempt at chicken necks or wings, but gives up once it gets too difficult.

She HATES rabbit meat, both in grind form and meat-chunks form. Sigh!

I know it's partially her age - 14 years of kibble and canned mush are hard habits to change.

I know I can get her entirely onto a form of frankenprey that includes chunks of meat and organ, but then I'd be relying entirely on the chicks, quail, and mice for the bone content, I guess...? I could always supplement with bone meal, but I hear that's not ideal, for several reasons.

I think I'll try some larger mice and rats on her next and see if I can get her to move on past this step.

Thank you guys again for the advice! :}
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakotaWolf View Post
I know I can get her entirely onto a form of frankenprey that includes chunks of meat and organ, but then I'd be relying entirely on the chicks, quail, and mice for the bone content, I guess...? I could always supplement with bone meal, but I hear that's not ideal, for several reasons.
If she eats chicks, quail and mice (whole prey) you don't need to add chunks of meat, let alone supplementing anything.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When push comes to shove, my oldest cat used to eat mice, rats, etc. that she had caught - never any digestive problems and definitely and removing of bones. Last week one of my two youngest cats took a raw bone off the dog (she knows her place in the pecking order, bless her) and nibbled off all the meat and no doyubt some of the bone - also no problem.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can get her to eat maybe 3/4 of a chick or quail when I offer it to her. She'll put down 3 pinky mice in chopped form with no issues, but she never seems to want to finish an "entire" chick or quail. She also seems less enthusiastic about the taste. Maybe I should make a mince of pinky mice and spread it on the chick ;p

Arianwen - when Win was a young, spry cat, she used to hunt as well, and she would eat what she caught :} She never had problems back then, but the more "processed" ground bone worried me in a way that "whole prey" bones never did!
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