Warning on raisin toxicity
FROM the Laurinda Morris, DVM Veterinary Clinic comes a sad case of raisin poisoning that the vet was unable to reverse:
"This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen at my veterinary surgery. My patient was a 56-pound, neutered five-year-old labrador-cross dog that ate several raisins some time between 7:30am and 4:30pm on the Tuesday. The dog started to vomit at about 1:00am Wednesday morning, with diarrhea and shaking at the same time. Unfortunately the owner didn't call my emergency service until 7:00am Wednesday morning.
"I had heard about raisins and grapes causing acute renal failure in dogs, but hadn't seen any formal paper or studies on the subject. We had the owner bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the emergency on-call veterinary surgeon who, like me, said he had heard something about it. I also spoke with the National Animal Poison Control Centre which instructed me to administer IV fluids at 1.5 times maintenance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours.
"The dog's blood urea nitrogen level was already at 32 (normal should be less than 27) and creatinine over five (1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream. We placed an IV on the dog and started the fluids. I re-checked the renal values at 5:00pm and the blood urea nitrogen level was now over 40 and creatinine over seven with no urine production after a litre of fluids. At this point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to the emergency veterinary surgery for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care.
"The dog started vomiting again overnight and his renal values continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a diaretic. He was on three different anti-vomiting medications, however, these still couldn't control his vomiting. Today his urine output decreased again, his blood urea nitrogen level is now over 120, his creatinine is at 10, his phosphorus was extremely elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220. He continued to vomit and at this point the owners elected to euthanize to save the dog any more pain."
This is a very sad case - a lovely dog with caring owners who just simply had no idea raisins could be a toxin. That is why we felt it necessary to try and inform as many people as we could of this very serious risk. Poison control has indicated that as few as seven raisins or grapes could be toxic to a dog.
Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats, including some Police dog handlers. Any exposure or suspected exposure should give rise to immediate concern and medical assistance should be sought immediately. Onions, chocolate, cocoa and macadamia nuts can be fatal too. Even if you don't have a dog, you might have friends who do. This information is worth passing on to them.