Sunday, 7 October 2012

Things aren't as edible as they might seem.....

What you should avoid feeding your pet and the potential outcome if you do:

  • The old favourite......Chocolate

Now I must make it clear at this point that this really does depend on the type of coco (dark,milk etc), the amount consumed and the size of your dog (I'm stating dog because cats aren't as silly). Dependant on the above factors the outcome can sometimes and in my personal experience be fatal. However a lot of the time we can successfully treat but this does involve us and the dog getting a tad on the messy side. Basically we have to see all the chocolate again.....sorry if you have weak stomachs, but yes we have to induce vomiting. Once that's done your dog will almost certainly be put onto an intravenous drip to support it in the following hours. Then your beloved pooch is put on seizure watch. It can take quite a few hours to get into your pooches system but the quicker you can get him to the vets the better for everyone.
So the technical term is Theobromine poisoning and the signs to watch out for are the obvious piece of tin foil around your dogs chops. On a serious note monitor for signs of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and in the later stages (by which point you should be at a vets) seizures. Dogs can't metabolise chocolate as quickly as us humans and reference manuals state that a dog of 20kg will sustain intestinal distress after eating less than 240g of dark chocolate. So in a smaller breed IE a Jack Russell terrier they really don't have to eat very much to sustain poisoning.
"According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, baker's chocolate of approximately 1.3 g/kg (0.02 oz/lb) of a dog's body weight is sufficient to cause symptoms of toxicity. For example, a typical 25-gram (0.88 oz) baker's chocolate bar would be enough to produce symptoms in a 20-kilogram (44 lb) dog."
Whatever the amount of chocolate or type of chocolate I would always advise speaking to your local vets for advice. 
  • Chicken Bones

Now personally I wouldn't feed my dog them at all but if your going to it's better to feed them raw bones as apposed to cooked, as the later make the bone more susceptible to splinter. Bones really do get stuck in all kinds of places, oesophagus, stomach, intestines to name but a few. Your dog can be fed a bone and not show symptoms for a few days but if its going to cause problems it will in the form of: your dog trying to make themselves sick by eating grass, hunched over, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy.....! You will be needing a trip to the vets. Your dog will probably require an x-ray to start with to determine where about this sneaky bone is hiding. To accomplish this they'll probably need either a sedation or a full blown general anaesthetic. When we determine its not passing through as most don't your poorly pooch will have to have an operation to open him/her up to removed the bone. This can sometimes be a lengthy op dependant on many factors but a lot of the times the owner hasn't noticed the symptoms for a few days by which point guts can die off so we may even need to remove some of this as well. All in all quite an ordeal when you thought you were doing the nice thing of giving your dog a treat. The recovery period can also be quite lengthy as we have to watch for septicaemia setting in after the stomach or intestines has been opened. So lots of antibiotics to go home with and a hefty bill after being in the clinic so long.
The above is if they even pass through past the mouth as so many don't!
Now do you see why I don't even both chancing giving my dog bones :)
  •  Items of clothing
This is always a fun one for us in the veterinary world. Picture yourself collecting your recently operated on pooch from your local vets only to be handed an item in a clear plastic bio hazard bag clearly labelled with your name on it. Imagine next that the offending item is a pair of your knickers. You wouldn't believe how many times a year this happens, we actually place bets on what the item will be that your dog decided to chomp on. You name it we've probably seen it from socks to oven mitts, from toothbrushes to thongs. You see normally you cant tell from the x-ray, you can just see an offending blockage and a build up of gas....the real surprise is when we have to take a look inside. We all know puppies and certain dog breeds like to chew and steal your smalls but if you know your dog does this best to remove anything in their path.

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