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Easter Toxins

March 2020

It’s that time of year again- the weather is improving, the Spring flowers are starting to come out and with Easter around the corner we’re starting to think of the chocolate eggs that are going to be given! Delicious as they may be for us, we would like to raise awareness of the dangers that these can pose to your pets.

Outlined below are some of the most common toxins that we see ingested around this time of year:

Chocolate: The toxic compound found in chocolate is called theobromine and in large quantities this can cause vomiting, an increase in heart rate (known as tachycardia) and in some cases convulsions. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content and therefore potentially more dangerous.

As a rough guide 1.25g dark chocolate/kg bodyweight or 9g milk chocolate/kg bodyweight could be toxic, and therefore requires treatment from our vets.

Raisins: Hot cross buns contain raisins which can be toxic to some dogs (and cats). The mechanism of the toxicity is unknown, but they have been known to cause vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney failure. The toxicity is not dose dependent, so we advise that even one raisin has the potential to cause issues, and your pet should be seen.

Macadamias: Found in some chocolates and biscuits, these nuts can cause lethargy, a high temperature and weakness. Again, the mechanism of toxicity is unknown, so it always better to have your pet seen if you suspect ingestion.

Xylitol: Used as a sweetener if confectionary and baking, this product may be good for our waistlines, but it can cause very severe symptoms when ingested by our pets. Even in small quantities, xylitol will stimulate a release of insulin in the body, as if they have just eaten something sugary and this then causes a rapid drop in blood glucose (hypoglycaemia). This can lead to convulsions and even induce comas. At larger quantities, xylitol can lead to liver failure.

Daffodils: Just because we don’t want to eat them, doesn’t mean your dog won’t! Ingestion can cause vomiting/diarrhoea or in some cases, collapse.

If you are concerned that your pet has eaten any of the products above, or anything else that you are not sure about, please do contact us as soon as possible on 01483 538990. If your pet has started vomiting after ingestion of the toxin, this doesn’t mean that they will be out of the woods- commonly they need full emptying of the stomach. The quicker we see your pet post ingestion, the higher chance we have of saving them from any lasting effects of toxicity.

Catherine Hannah BVSc MRCVS
References: Dechra veterinary products, BSAVA & VPIS common canine and feline poisions.

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