How to keep your pets safe this Easter.
It’s that sweet time of year again—Easter. Most of us love to indulge over Easter eggs and hot cross buns at this time of year, however this is not the case with our beloved fur babies. Unfortunately Easter eggs and hot cross buns can be particularly harmful if ingested by dogs and cats.
WHAT’S IN CHOCOLATE?
Chocolate contains a chemical ingredient called theobromine. The amount of theobromine varies between the different types of chocolate with darker chocolate containing the highest levels. Chocolate also contains a considerable amount of fat and can also cause other issues like pancreatitis!!
Clinical signs of chocolate toxicity can occur within 6-12 hours of ingestion and include some of the following; vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, hyperactivity, weakness, abnormal movements/muscle tremors, changes to the heart beat and rhythm and in severe cases seizures.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M CONCERNED MY DOG/CAT HAS EATEN CHOCOLATE?
If you suspect chocolate or hot cross bun ingestion, please contact the clinic. With chocolate ingestion it is useful if you can provide us with your pet’s weight, the type of chocolate ingested and the maximum amount your pet has likely consumed. This can help us determine if your pet requires treatment
Every case is different and treatment will be tailored accordingly, however if there is a concern for intoxication it is likely that your vet will induce vomiting, and may wish to do further diagnostics including bloods and fluid therapy if deemed necessary. In most cases, early detection and treatment is highly successful.
Hot X Buns
WHAT’S IN HOT X BUNS
The traditional hot X bun contains sultanas/raisins. The exact mechanism of toxicity is still not completely understood but it appears to involve nephrotoxic agents, which in some dogs can result in acute kidney failure. There does not appear to be a “toxic dose” and so it can affect each dog differently. For example, some dogs can eat raisins without any effects but in others can result in acute kidney failure. Unfortunately there is no know which dogs will be affected and which ones won’t be affected so regardless all dogs must receive veterinary care.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M CONCERNED MY DOG/CAT HAS EATEN SULTANAS/RAISINS/GRAPES?
If there is any doubt that your pet has consumed a grape/raisin/sultana, please contact your vet immediately. It is likely that we will induce vomiting, take baseline bloods and administer fluid therapy for several days to support the kidneys in an attempt to prevent acute kidney failure.
No Lilies for your Kitties this Easter
THE HIDDEN DANGERS
The Easter Lily is recognised around Easter to symbolise hope. Although it is a lovely gesture to buy an Easter lily for a loved one, it may be potentially harmful to their beloved fur babies.
There are 2 species of lilies that are known to be toxic and potentially fatal to cats if ingested including the Lilium ssp; Easter, Asiatic, Tiger and Day, and the Hemerocallis ssp; Peace, Peruvian, and Calia. The other species of lilies often cause mild, non-life-threatening clinical signs.
The lilium ssp and Hemerocallis spp can both lead to acute kidney failure if ingested, and fatal if left untreated. Cats are very sensitive, and as little as 2 leaves or part of a single flower have been known to result in death. In fact, any part of the lily plant is considered toxic, even the water in the vase. The toxic chemical in lilies is still not fully understood but it is thought that during metabolism in cats, a toxic metabolite is formed which is directly harmful to the kidneys. Others species, like dogs for example, do not metabolise lilies in the same way and do no form this toxic metabolite and are therefore unlikely to develop kidney disease. Dogs can develop mild gastrointestinal upset like vomiting.
The clinical signs can occur rapidly within the first 1-3 hours suggesting rapid absorption of the toxin which can include; vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, drooling, depression, tremors, and seizures. Eventually the vomiting will resolve but there will be ongoing internal damage to the kidneys, and if left untreated will result in irreversible end stage kidney disease.
HOW TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING?
Lilies are very sweet and tempting to the feline palate so avoid bringing them into the household. Likewise, keeping your cats in-doors or in an enclosed outdoor-run to avoid exposure.
WHAT DO TO IF MY CAT HAS CONSUMED A LILY?
Despite our best efforts to avoid this toxicity, unfortunately sometimes flower bouquets may contain lilies. If you notice that your cat is covered in pollen, you have seen them chewing on the plant or there may remnants of plant/flower material scattered inside the house, please contact your vet for immediate treatment.
Early intervention and treatment can be life-saving, and every minute counts. Your veterinarian will likely induce vomiting to remove any material that may still be in the your cats stomach and may even give your cat a gentle clean to remove any pollen material on their coat/around their mouth. They will likely do baseline bloods to check kidney function and administer intravenous fluids for several days, with regular blood tests to continue to check the kidney parameters.
With early intervention and treatment, the prognosis for a full recovery with no long-term kidney damage is excellent.
So please keep you kitty cats free from harm this Easter!