A sad reminder and firm warning - We had a lovely puppy patient who was fed grapes 10 days ago and presented in kidney failure last night. Sad ending.
PLEASE DO NOT FEED YOUR DOGS OR CATS GRAPES OR RAISINS!
We do not know why but it often leads to kidney toxicity and failure. Yes, these are the very same
grapes that are perfectly safe for you to eat. Pass this along to anyone who has pets please!
WARNING Dog Owners
This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen at MedVet. My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix who ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Tuesday. He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1AM on Wednesday but the owner didn't call my emergency service until 7AM.
I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal failure but hadn't seen any formal paper on the subject. We had her bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the ER service at MedVet, and the doctor there was like me – had heard something about it, but....
Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center and they said to give I V fluids at 1 ½ times maintenance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours.
The dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine over 5 (1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream. We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no urine production after a liter of fluids. At the point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to MedVet for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care.
He started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and his renal values have continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still couldn't control his vomiting. Today his urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220. He continued to vomit and the owners elected to euthanize.
This is a very sad case – great dog, great owners who had no idea raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk. Poison control said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic.
Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern.
Laurinda Morris, DVM
Danville Veterinary Clinic
Hoax or Fact:
These are quite old messages that keep circulating online, mentioning the death incidents of pet dogs after they were fed with Grapes and Raisins. Although these messages were originally thought to be an urban legend, it is now known that grapes and raisins are in fact toxic to dogs and most certainly to cats as well.
How was it Known
The pet owners usually mistake that all their favorite foods can be fed to their pets as well. This kind of kindness often ends up affecting the health of their pets. Feeding grapes and raisins to dogs proved to be poisonous in number of cases that were reported from many years. This phenomenon was first identified in 1989 by the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The veterinarians noticed a common trend in some cases of acute renal failure that happened suddenly in dogs. They all had a history of consuming grapes or raisins just prior to their kidney failure.
Further studies into these cases have shown that the type of grapes/raisins and the type of dog do not seem to matter, and the toxic amount could be from a small serving to several ounces. These toxic effects of grapes and raisins on cats are less documented. There are anecdotal reports of cats and even ferrets being affected by consuming these grapes and raisins. Dogs generally like to eat these raisins and grapes, while cats will not readily eat them. So this could be the reason for the less number of cases.
How it Effects
Although it is known that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and cats, the exact substance that causes this toxic reaction is not yet known. The pets which are fed with these show various signs and symptoms of poisoning as listed below:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea leaving out pieces of grapes or raisins.
- Loss of appetite.
- Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness.
- Abdominal pain.
- Passing only a small amount of urine or complete cessation of urine.
- Kidney (renal) failure and death.
How to Avoid
Considering the aforementioned poisonous effects, cats and dogs must not be fed grapes and raisins. Keep them out of reach of your pets. If you discover that they have eaten them by mistake, the pets must be immediately taken to a veterinarian. Emesis, i.e. induction of vomiting is the generally recommended treatment in initial stage of poisoning.
It should be noted that grapes and raisins are not the only foods to avoid for pets; others include chocolate, cocoa, onions, currants, garlic, etc. You should also be careful while giving your pet dogs ice water or feeding them ice cubes. You can read about it in detail here.