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Attn PET OWNERS: it's time for...

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Attn PET OWNERS: it's time for...
By Scott on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 04:23 am: veterinary emergencies. Statistically speaking, the winter holiday season is rough on pets in terms of clinical emergencies, more so than the summer months. Typical emergencies include:

"Dog ate too much" emergencies: bloat and gastric dilatation volvulus, particularly in keel-chested dogs. Please don't let your dogs eat too much. That means keeping an eye on food that's at nose-level. It only takes a moment for a dog to gulp down half a turkey.

GI foreign body inclusion emergencies: Poultry bones and dogs do NOT go together. These may cause GI lacerations. Also watch for cats trying to eat tinsel off Christmas trees.

Toxicity emergencies: a lot of dogs present to clinic because they've ingested onions (which are hemolytic), chocolate (which is toxic) and antifreeze (which sometimes drips out of your guests' cars).

There are loads more, but those above are the most frequent emergencies encountered in clinic this time of year.

By Emily7 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 10:16 am:

I never knew that about onions.
Thank you Scott for the reminder and also for being so great about answering our questions.

By Annie2 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 10:27 am:

Thanks, Scott. I didn't know that about onions either.

By Karen~admin on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 10:33 am:

Thank you, Scott!

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 12:09 pm:

Thanks for the heads-up. Jasmine will just be alone at our house. We are traveling to the parties today. We just need to make sure the door to the garbage is completely shut, so we don't come home to a mess.

By Scott on Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 11:23 pm:

["I never knew that about onions."]

Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, chives, garlic... all the onion-like plants. That includes food cooked with onions.

I won't bore you with the hemo lecture about how it wrecks red blood cells, but let it suffice to say that the recommended treatment is blood transfusion. Unless you've got a known-type (and compatible!) donor on call, most vet clinics can't handle this emergency.

By Scott on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 09:35 am:

*bump* for seasonal relevance. Add to the list things like:

lacerations (paws, oral cavity): cats and dogs knocking ornaments off the tree, resulting in broken glass

electrical shock emergencies: animals chewing on power cords for Xmas lights

burns: keep an eye on those candles! Also note that house fires have been started by animals knocking over candles.

"slip & fall" injuries: I'm not kidding here, folks. Older dogs can sustain injury if they slip on ice.

By Tarable on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 09:59 am:

There is a squirrel that I wish would have an electrical shock emergency from chewing through the cord of our outside Christmas lights.. I have had to replace 3 strands so far... They are doing it when the lights aren't on though so no real danger to the squirrel.

By Emily7 on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 10:19 am:

Mine have already gotten a chocolate bar.
That beagle has a nose that knows! Needless to say we got to open that gift early. My mom got us a movie and some chocolate and I didn't know what was in the package.

By Scott on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 11:08 am:

Milk chocolate doesn't contain a huge lot of theobromine, so it's not outrageously toxic unless your dog scarfs down a lot of it. Here's a quick summary of chocolate toxicity:

20 mg of methylxanthines (theobromine and caffeine; the toxic ingredients in chocolate) per kg is considered a toxic dose for dogs. That means a dog weighing 5 kg would be effectively poisoned by a 100 mg dose of methylxanthines. Any dose >= 50% toxicity threshold should be brought to the attention of a vet.

Chocolate isn't 100% methylxanthines; various preparations of chocolate have different concentrations:

white "chocolate": ~1.1 mg per oz methylxanthines
milk chocolate: ~64 mg / oz
dark chocolate: ~120 mg / oz
baker's unsweetened chocolate: ~450 mg / oz
cocoa powder: ~800 mg / oz

To get your pet's weight in kilos, divide pounds by 2.2. To get your pet's weight in pounds, stand on your bathroom scale with your pet in your arms, then put down your pet and subtract your weight. Combined weight - your weight = pet's weight.


A Lab weighs 65 pounds. [65 / 2.2 = 29.5 kilos]

The toxic dose is 20 mg per kg; the dog weighs 29.5 kg; the toxic dose for this dog is 590 mg of total methylxanthines.

The Lab eats two two-ounce Hershey bars. [4 oz * 64 mg per oz = 256 mg total methylxanthines consumed]

256 / 590 = 43% toxic dose. That's awful close to 50%; better call the vet.

["...There is a squirrel that I wish would have an electrical shock emergency from chewing through the cord of our outside Christmas lights.. I have had to replace 3 strands so far..."]

When I was living in West Philly, a squirrel chewed on a power main and blacked out the entire apartment building. At the bottom of the power pole was a blackened, smoldering squirrel. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be sympathetic toward the squirrel.

By Ginny on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 03:12 pm:

Grapes. I have heard the representative of emergency vet clinics ads several times recently, warning about holiday dangers, and one of the things they say is that grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs. I checked with Scott, and he says yes.

Here's the link Scott posted several months ago for items toxic to dogs:


Here's the link to the thread, in which Bea talks about xylitol, an ingredient common to many candies, and which nearly killed her dog.

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