"I have a toy, come chase me!"- Peyton, Nate and JoAnn Beffert
I would like to share with you the Top 10 Toxins for the 2011. While medications, human and veterinary, are prominent on the list, human food exposures are also a regular on the list. On the hotline we took over 7,500 chocolate cases last year, that works out to an average of 21 calls per day. That’s a lot of chocolate! Xylitol, which is becoming ever more prevalent, came in with 3065 cases last year. While it seems everyone knows that chocolate is toxic for pets, we still hear owners comment on a daily basis about a food item that an owner did not know was toxic for their pet. That is why we have come out with our newest magnet—it is a list of the common food items that are toxic for pets and the resulting clinical signs. We think it’s a must have for all pet owners.
We receive such a large number of calls on chocolate that it seems like every day is chocolate time. While we all know (and love!) these calls, there may be a few things that you might not know or have forgotten. First, we see many cases where there is a big delay in the development of signs – even up to 8-12hrs. Second, there are many new products that have a very high cocoa content (70-90%) which quickly adds up to very large doses. Thirdly, we’ve had chocolate ingestion cases that are hypernatremic BEFORE activated charcoal has been given. And finally, though it’s not a true toxic concern, don’t forget to warn clients about pancreatitis developing after the patient is discharged. Enjoy all these great chocolate cases and Valentine’s Day!
Xylitol exposures have continued to grow in prevalence yet it still seems many are unaware of its toxic potential. Xylitol is in an ever increasing number of products ranging from gums, mints and candies to throat lozenges, vitamins, nasal sprays and even some fabrics (yes fabric!). There is even granular xylitol product to be used in baking instead of sugar. The amount of xylitol in gum, for example, ranges greatly from less than 1mg/piece to over 1000mg/piece. Ingestion of 75-100mg/kg can be toxic to dogs causing hypoglycemia and in larger doses even liver failure. Many factors can affect the ultimate outcome including initial ingestion dose, decontamination and type of xylitol product involved
Raw yeast bread dough may not be one of the more common exposures, but that does not mean it is not important. In order to help bread dough rise, yeast uses fermentable sugars in the dough to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol. Yeast works best in warm environments, such as a dog’s stomach. So when a dog decides to ingest an entire ball of dough, ataxia, depression, vomiting, abdominal distention/bloat and hypothermia, are some of the most common signs seen.
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