Back in 1999, the ASPCA APCC (Animal Poison Control Centre) first reported on the poisonous nature of grapes to dogs when they noticed a cluster of dogs that became seriously ill after eating grapes or raisins. In the ensuing two decades veterinarians have diagnosed many cases of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs, but the actual toxic agent was unknown. Was it the seeds, the skin, or pesticide on the skin? These were all eliminated as causes, and the reason for grape poisonings in dogs remained elusive. To deepen the mystery, the degree of illness was inconsistent between cases. In comparison, when we look at other substances that are toxic to dogs such as chocolate, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), or Ibuprofen, we find that the toxic doses per kilogram are consistent (although with chocolate we also have to factor in the concentration as well — i.e. 90% dark chocolate is more … Continue reading
Luna is a 2-year old cat that was presented to Canada West Veterinary Specialists on June 26, 2020, after being attacked by a coyote.
She was let outside around 4 am along with two other cats in her household. When the two other cats returned, Luna was nowhere to be found. Her owner went outside to look for her and saw a coyote on top of her. He was able to chase the coyote away and then brought Luna in for emergency care.
Luna was in shock and semi-comatose when she arrived. There was evidence of a crush injury to her head with several lacerations, including to the eye, the eyelid and the neck. There was concern that she might have severe brain damage but she was also in shock. We needed to stabilize that first in order to assess the extent of her injuries.
Once she … Continue reading
Sophie was a happy and healthy 4-year-old Great Pyrenees until she began urinating blood in December of 2019. She was initially seen by her family veterinarian, where several tests were performed to rule out more common causes of bloody urine such as a clotting disorder, urinary tract infection and urinary stones. When an obvious cause was not found, she was referred to the Internal Medicine department at Canada West Veterinary Specialists.
Sophie had a CT scan and cystoscopy (scoping of the urinary system) performed and was diagnosed with a rare condition called “Idiopathic Renal Hematuria” (IRH). IRH occurs when a blood vessel in one or both kidneys begins to bleed for no identifiable reason. Over time, this can lead to anemia requiring blood transfusions or obstructions from blood clots. Because these complications can be life-threatening, treatment is generally recommended. Historically, removal of the affected kidney was used to treat … Continue reading
“Stella Beans”, a sweet and wiggly middle aged kitty, presented to the CWVS Oncology service in February 2019 for evaluation of a mass on the left side of her chest wall. Her family veterinarian suspected a feline injection site sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that can develop in cats at the site of a previous injection such as a vaccine or a microchip. A CT scan was performed to determine the extent of the mass. The external portion of the mass was just the “tip of the iceberg” as the internal portion of the mass extended into both the abdomen and chest and was resting against her lungs and liver. A needle core biopsy was performed and confirmed the suspected diagnosis of an injection site sarcoma.
Stella then had surgery to remove the mass where Dr. King removed a portion of the left chest wall including ribs 9 – … Continue reading
Molly and The Bear Attack
In late July on a Whistler trail, Molly and her owner were surprised when they encountered a bear making aggressive noises who then charged towards them. The bear pinned Molly down by her throat.
The owner tried to distract the bear to no avail – it disappeared in the bush carrying and shaking Molly by her neck. The owner thought Molly dead, and walked back to his truck only to find Molly there, albeit bleeding and going into shock.
Molly underwent two emergency procedures that night in Whistler and the owner had been nursing her at home for a week when we heard of their incredible tale and resolve. Molly had made some progress, but there were complications – she was reluctant to walk and carried her head to the right.
The big questions that loomed were whether she could make enough of a … Continue reading
Hardy is an aptly-named and lovely 7-month old Bernese Mountain dog who recently arrived at our Emergency Room after eating a large amount of raisins and two pounds of Crisco (vegetable shortening)! That night his owner discovered more than 50 raisins in his stool along with some paper towel remnants.
Blood work was done to rule out the two concerns that could arise from the ingestion of these two separate potential trouble-makers:
- Raisins or grapes, which can cause kidney failure. (The mechanism by which raisins or grapes cause kidney injury is unknown).
- Ingestion of high amounts of fat (from the Crisco) can cause pancreatitis.
Hardy was treated with IV fluids, monitored and was discharged home after a couple of days. He was very lucky, but not all dogs are. We have seen dogs succumb to pancreatitis, despite our best efforts.
Pancreatitis can strike fear in the heart of emergency/critical … Continue reading