Here at Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic we see a lot of preventable holiday health hazards this time of year. Although we love seeing our clients and patients throughout the year; we would love more preventing any unnecessary emergency visits this holiday season. With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections, and other rich, fattening foods. these items if ingested may cause theobromine/caffeine toxicosis. Sources of chocolate commonly found under the Christmas tree include: chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, chocolate-covered espresso beans, chocolate-covered raisins, truffles, etc. This may induce a dual toxicosis with caffeine from espresso beans (e.g., causing hypertension( high blood pressure), tachycardia( high heart rate), agitation, seizures, etc.), macadamia nuts (e.g., causing weakness, ataxia(unsteady/wobbly gait), tremors, hyperthermia(fever), pancreatitis, etc.), or raisins (e.g., acute kidney failure).
Foods that can present problems:
1) Foods containing grapes, raisins, and currants (such as Fruit cakes) can cause acute kidney failure.
2) Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine - Toxicity can lead to agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, and more severe cases can cause, cardiotoxicity: high heart rates, arrhythmias; neurotoxicity: tremors, seizures, etc.
3) Many sugarless gums and candies may contain Xylitol - Xylitol is a sweetener toxic to dogs. Xylitol toxicosis results in clinical signs of hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) and potential acute liver necrosis when toxic doses are ingested. One piece of gum is enough to cause hypoglycemia in many of our canine friends.
4) Left-over table scraps, high in fats/grease/spices can cause serious gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and hemorrhagic diarrhea.
If your pet ingests any of the items mentioned above please do not hesitate to give us a call at 541-383-3833.. If you are having an emergency after hours, please contact the Animal Emergency Center of Central Oregon at 541-385-9110
Wishing you and your pets the best and safest holiday season!
Chad Moles DVM