Case Report: Raisins, Grapes, Kidneys and Crisco. Hardy Has A Tale To Tell.

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:

  1. Raisins or grapes, which can cause kidney failure. (The mechanism by which raisins or grapes cause kidney injury is unknown).
  2. 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

Lily Toxicity in Cats

Easter is around the corner and we’ve already had two cases of lily toxicity here at Canada West. Now is the time to review how certain species of lilies cause kidney failure in our feline friends.

It has been pointed out that every time holidays roll around I’m doom and gloom about the possible hazards. Fair enough! There’s a reason we call them the “chocolate holidays”. But while most people now know to keep chocolate away from dogs, they may not know that the lily they were given might kill their cat.

Several species of lilies are toxic to cats, including Easter lilies, Stargazer, Tiger, Japanese, Asian and day lilies. The toxic species are either from the lilium family or the Hemerocallis family (true and day lilies)

It is important to note that all parts of the lily (the flowers, pollen, leaves and stems) are toxic in even very small … Continue reading

(Un)healthy appetite

As the holiday season approaches, this is a bit of a cautionary tale and a reminder that dogs can be, at times, indiscriminate eaters…and that “dietary indiscretions” can sometimes result in a foreign body that gets lodged in the digestive tract and has to be removed by scoping or by surgery.

In Millan’s case, our adventurous 8-month-old labrador, surgery was required to remove a deflated football from his stomach!

We see him here with the usual “I’ve had the belly surgery haircut” and then further into his recovery, a beautiful picture of him on the beach.

Again, our best wishes for the holidays and reminding you to keep an eye out for our mischevious furry family members!

 

 

 

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Caring For An Aging Pet

I have learned a lot from my geriatric animal patients over the years. I’ve had that in my back pocket, and so when it came to looking after my own geriatric girl, Mini, I had the good fortune of having shared experience and knowledge from others in a similar situation of caring for an aging pet.

A first-hand perspective

While I was in the thick of caring for Mini I wanted to share the delights but also the reality of dealing with an aging and sick dog, but I somehow couldn’t do it.  Maybe I felt it would jinx how well she was doing; then, in the last few months when her care was fairly constant (I did not leave her more than 4 hours without someone checking in on her) the worry that I was not making the right decisions for her was almost overwhelming.  After I lost her, … Continue reading

“Severe Tummy Troubles” – Understanding Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS) in Dogs

May 2017 saw a surge in cases of this type at our hospital with six animals presenting with symptoms of this condition.

The signs are acute bloody malodorous diarrhea, sometimes associated with vomiting, and mentally dull patients with abdominal discomfort.  The onset can be very rapid and can be associated with severe fluid loss, which can lead to shock even before classic signs of dehydration are seen.

Typically, small breed dogs are affected most frequently; Miniature Schnauzers are reported to be particularly prone to it.  In our region, poodles or poodle crosses are represented more than the Schnauzers, but that may be reflective of local breed popularity.

AHDS used to be referred to as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). Unfortunately, despite a new name that better fits the description of the signs, we still don’t really understand what causes it.

In AHDS cases the gut becomes “leaky” and proteins can leak into … Continue reading

Our First Dialysis Patient: Bluebell

A few weeks ago Bluebell — a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever — became our first dialysis patient when she suffered from acute kidney injury due to leptospirosis and arrived at our hospital less than 24 hours after our new dialysis machine was installed and became operational.

 

 

What is leptospirosis?

It is a bacterial infection that can affect a dog’s blood, liver and kidneys. The bacteria that cause the illness are primarily carried by rats, but dogs, livestock, raccoons and skunks infected with the disease can pass it on. There are 250 strains (“serovars”) worldwide; approximately 10 are important for dogs, and rarely, for cats.

How common is it?

Veterinarians in BC did not often diagnose this disease in the past. However, we have seen increase in cases in the past decade. This may be related to an increase or spread of the organism itself, or it may … Continue reading