Raisin Early One Sunday Morn
Well, I heard it through the grapevine, some little dogs were “raisin” a ruckus one Sunday morning. The names and faces shall be changed to protect the innocent. All right already, yes that is me, Dr. Buggie, behind that mask and two of my chihuahuas, Fiona and Lilly.
It was very early on a Sunday morning and I awoke to the pitter patter of little feet. At that point, I knew that the chihuahuas had broken out of their room where they sleep at night. I wearily crawled out of bed and headed downstairs to return the convicts back to their room. At the bottom of the stairs, I found Lilly holding a slice of bread in her mouth. Where on earth would she have found bread? As I picked her up and took the bread from her I saw them…RAISINS! Raisins can be toxic to our pets. Raisins…in my house? Just ask my kids, I RARELY buy anything with raisins because I fear that my pets could get into them. I turned around to put Lilly in her room and adjust the gate when I nearly stumbled over Fiona. She was booking the other direction with a partially eaten piece of raisin bread. I sat Lilly down and chased after the quick, old, black and tan lady. I snatched her up, pulled the bread from her lips only to see Lilly return with yet another slice of bread. Evidently my super thoughtful husband purchased a loaf of raisin bread that he had planned to surprise our family with for Sunday breakfast. But, how had the bread landed in the wrong hands….or mouths? Let’s face it, there are not likely many counter surfing chihuahuas out there (at least not ones without a stepstool)! The raisin bread had somehow fallen off of the counter and landed behind the trash can. I frantically woke up my family and we loaded the culprits into a pet carrier and headed to the clinic. This owner was lucky that she was the veterinarian and did not need to head directly to the local emergency clinic! Upon arriving at the clinic, I was lucky enough to find Dr. Cooper and Kelly were there and were nice enough to help us out.
Grapes and raisins ingested by dogs and cats can cause kidney failure. Scientists are still figuring out why they are toxic. We don’t really know how many grapes or raisins it takes to make a pet sick. We have all heard stories of dogs who love to eat grapes and had no issues. That said, if we know that a pet has eaten grapes or raisins, we never want to just wait and see what happens. If grape/ raisin ingestion is caught within an hour or two, we can make the pet vomit and hopefully prevent digestion of the fruit. We can also be proactive and start to treat the kidneys to help prevent renal damage.
Both Fiona and Lilly were given a special intravenous medication that causes vomiting to occur. I was amazed at the number of raisins that these ladies “returned.”
Once their stomachs were empty, medication was given to help stop the vomiting and take away their nausea. Fluids were given to help dilute out any remaining toxins present from the raisins. We obtained blood samples to make sure that there were no changes to the girl's kidney values at that time. Most pets receive fluid therapy for around 48 hours. At that time, lab work is repeated to make sure that the kidney values remain stable. I am very fortunate to report that both Fiona and Lilly’s blood work were normal. There was NO EVIDENCE of renal disease. We repeated blood work again a week later and everything remained normal.
Here are two take home points from my story. Number one, remember, grapes and raisins are tasty healthy treats for humans but NOT for our pets. If your dog or cat ingests either grapes or raisins, this is an EMERGENCY. Please call your veterinary office or your local emergency/ urgent care clinic immediately. Never take a “just wait and see” approach if you know your pet ate any - even if it was just one or two. Unfortunately, I could tell stories of pets that did not fare as well as mine. And number two, things happen, even to the best of us. Never be afraid to fess up and let your veterinarian know what your pet ate. We care about your pets and we want to help them stay healthy!