Objective: Evaluate the effect of raw bovine cortical bone (CB) (medullary bone cross-sectioned) and marrow or epiphyseal 'spongy' bone (SB) as chew items to reduce dental calculus in adult dogs.
Methods: Eight 3-year-old Beagle dogs were observed in two study periods. In the first study, the dogs each received a piece of bovine femur CB (122 ± 17 g) daily and in the second study, a piece of bovine femur SB (235 ± 27 g). The first study lasted 12 days and the second 20 days. Dental calculus was evaluated using image integration software.
Results: At the start of the studies, dental calculus covered 42.0% and 38.6% of the dental arcade areas, respectively. In study one, the chewing reduced the established dental calculus area to 27.1% (35.5% reduction) after 3 days and after 12 days the dental calculus covering was reduced to 12.3% (70.6% reduction). In study two, the dental calculus covered 16.8% (56.5% reduction) after 3 days, 7.1% (81.6% reduction) after 12 days and 4.7% (87.8% reduction) after 20 days. The CB remained largely intact after 24 h, but SB was reduced to smaller pieces and in some cases totally consumed after 24 h. No complications such as tooth fractures, pieces of bone stuck between teeth or intestinal obstructions were observed during the studies.
Conclusions: Chewing raw bovine bones was an effective method of removing dental calculus in dogs. The SB bones removed dental calculus more efficiently in the short term.
Keywords: dental calculus; dogs; oral health; raw beef bones; teeth.
© 2016 Australian Veterinary Association.