Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Toxicology Tuesday, July 10

Fruits and vegetables are good for you – aren’t they? What’s your response to the now-familiar refrain,

Toxic or Not?

Answer: This one may surprise you – grapes and raisins are not only toxic to dogs, they could be life-threatening. This is a relatively new problem in veterinary medicine. It wasn’t until July 2004 that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center released a nationwide alert about the potential toxicity of grapes and raisins, after 10 canine poisoning cases were reported between 1999 and 2001. These cases included ingestion of both red and white grapes, fermented grapes from wineries, and various brands of commercial sun-dried raisins.

We still don’t know the toxic mechanism of action, nor even what amount of grapes or raisins it takes to cause poisoning. Since 4 lbs of grapes equals 1 lb of raisins, it is presumed that it would take a smaller amount of raisins to reach the toxic threshold. To date, there have been no other reports of poisoning in other species from grapes or raisins.

Clinical signs include acute GI signs (anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain) within the first few hours of ingestion, which may last days or weeks. In some cases, acute renal (kidney) failure develops, usually within the first 3 days. If the acute phase of kidney failure is not treated early or aggressively enough, or if the initial insult to the kidneys was too severe, it might even be fatal.


Anonymous said...
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Lynne said...

Hmmm...I'm scratching my head on this one. I'm not aware of them being toxic, but I've never seen a dog eat a grape either.

Liza Lee Miller said...

I'm with Lynne on this one. We had a Samoyed when I was growing up who would eat anything, we thought. He wouldn't eat mushrooms, however, nor grapes.

I'm pretty sure one of my lab friends was successful at feeding grapes to her dog though.

I vote "not".

Mary said...

I know this one! (I think) A good friend of mine rushed her Scottish Terrier to the vet one night after the dog ate a bowl of raisins. I believe it was kidney failure. She survived with emergency treatment.

I haven't forgotten this and keep raisins away from my dogs. Even though grapes can be toxic to dogs in large amounts, too, I still treat my dogs to a grape or two once in a while.

nina said...

Are some fruits/vegs ok, though? (not all is bad, right?)
Our dog LOVES: strawberries, peas, and apples (you've never seen anything happier than My dog gnawing on an apple core)

Mary Ann said...

My cat loves potato chips, that's sort of a vegetable!

KGMom said...

Well, I hope they are not all toxic--my dog loves green beans, and raw carrots.
My cats--are you kidding? They turn up their kitty noses at everything except pure cat food!

Susan Gets Native said...

Grapes and raisins in large quantities can cause vomiting, elevated BUN and creatinine...basically putting them in renal failure.
This is one of those "Urban Myth" things that turned out to be accurate.

KatDoc said...

This was a toughie. Mary got the first right answer, then Susan (natch!) Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure in dogs.

Fear not, veggie-lovin' dogs! Most fruits and vegetables are perfectly safe for pooches. (As KGMom notes, most kitties turn up their snouts at anything other than meat.) Raw carrots are a great treat, many dogs love apples, and green beans are a good "filler" for dieting doggies - bulk without calories.

Avoid: Avocado, onions, and garlic (Remember these: They may show up as future quiz questions!)

Some vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) can cause flatulence, so if you have a gassy dog (Chet Baker, I am talking about YOU) you will probably want to stay away from those, too.

Good one!


Holly said...

I heard about this *after* Robert fed Lucy grapes. She eats everything we give her, loves cucumbers. She was very, very sick and we couldn't figure out why. Lots of diarrhea (oh, joy) and then someone forwarded me an email about grapes and raisins. She's doing fine now though, thank goodness.