Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

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Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Sabine » Wed May 04, 2005 2:21 am

since the topic came up in the other thread, i decided to make this post now, so i have all my notes in one place and can easily convert it to an article later on.

so first things first, here we have the bone:

[image]http://www.ourdogsonline.com/images/marrowbone.jpg[/image]

this is what's commonly referred to as a "femur" or "knuckle" bone, and in the above picture, it's the most common kind people buy: beef.

at the grocery store you usually see them cut like this, and when they are commercially sold for pets, the knuckles are mostly cut off already, and the "body" is either sold whole or cut into various sizes.

to be "anatomically correct", you can only refer to the bones of the hind legs that are attached to the pelvis as "femurs", but there are other bones that are very similar - the tibia (in pork: tibia & fibula), the upper end of which attaches to the femur and the lower part to the tarsal bones of the foot, and the scapula, humerus, radius & ulna of the front legs.

they are all fairly large, tubular, weight bearing bones with big joint knuckles. in beef bones, these knuckle parts are the best thing you can offer your dog as a recreational bone, since they are soft enough so there is no danger of breaking teeth.

the fact that these bones are weight bearing affects the texture of the bone, and the older the source animal is, the longer and heavier the weight compressing the bone matrix. i'm sure you have heard of this before when learning that broken bones in young humans and animals heal much faster than in adults.

so it's not exaggerated when i'm telling you that these center parts of marrow bones are the hardest, most durable bones in the body. even wild wolves and african wild dogs (two species who hunt and kill large prey animals) were observed to only chew off the ends of these bones* - their teeth guarantee their survival and broken ones put them at a disadvantage.

a word on nutritional value:
on many forums i see references to articles like this one on thepetcenter.com and other commercial sites. they try very hard to protect their commercial interests and try to refute the benefits of raw diets in many different ways, trying to argue from the point of view that bones don't have much nutritional value.

that is really ridiculous, since the type of bones they are looking at, like our nice big marrow bone above, are recreational bones, which are not intended to be eaten as a meal. not only do they serve as the most natural chew toy available, they also play an important role for oral health by keeping chewing muscles exercised, teeth clean and gums conditioned.

so next time you are out shopping, keep your eyes open for the knuckle ends rather than the tubular center parts.




* source: "raw meaty bones promote health", tom lonsdale, DMV: pp 324 and 325
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yintzy
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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby yintzy » Wed May 04, 2005 5:04 am

That's interesting about the knuckles. I prefer to give the tubey things because Zoe will chew off and swallow too much knuckle. She'll vomit and she'll get constipated - not blocked. But usually, it's a big ordeal.

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Brenda » Wed May 04, 2005 5:22 am

I wish I could find more lamb knuckles. They're scarce here. and they're the only knuckle bone my min pins can consume.

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Sally » Wed May 04, 2005 10:29 am

Interesting. Thanks for the education!

Corgi, being the little prince he is, refuses to eat knuckle bones. He thinks it is more fun the burry them than eat them.

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Jodi » Wed May 04, 2005 10:40 am

Great article Mordanna - thanks!

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Sabine » Wed May 04, 2005 12:27 pm

yintzy, have you considered maybe giving beef necks instead? they stand up to quite a bit of chewing as well but aren't quite as hard.
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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Mary » Wed May 04, 2005 12:30 pm

Isn't beef neck considered consumable?

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Sabine » Wed May 04, 2005 12:48 pm

yes, but it depends on the size of the dog and the age of the cow they come from.

my quigley is a medium sized dog (31 lbs) and when the beef necks are big and come from older animals, they hold up a few days instead of being eaten in half an hour or so.

you really have to experiment with the individual dog, depending on their chewing power some things might be more suitable than others.
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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby PaulaS » Thu May 05, 2005 6:19 am

Thank you, Lilian! This is very helpful.
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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby amyzon » Thu May 05, 2005 7:17 pm

The girls love both the long marrow bones and the knuckles; they aren't picky! The knuckles do keep them occupied longer though.

The thing I really like about the center parts is that once they clean the marrow out, I can restuff it with a little peanut butter or other treat, like a kong.

That was a good anatomy lesson Mord...well done!

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Re: Anatomy lesson: marrow bones

Postby Guest » Fri May 06, 2005 1:28 pm

I have always heard about people giving knuckle bones and I didn't know what they were. I have looked everywhere for them in my area and there just aren't any. Thanks for the lesson.


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