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
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
Ruckus is a 9-year-old tabby cat who was referred to the Emergency and Critical Care Department for severely increased kidney enzymes due to a left ureteral obstruction. Ruckus had a blocked ureter, which is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, because of a stone which caused his kidneys to not function properly, potentially causing irreversible damage. The most common cause of ureteral obstruction in cats is due to calculi which cannot be medically dissolved. The clinical signs can be non-specific and a general unwell feeling which can include lethargy, vomiting and/or decreased appetite.
Ruckus had to undergo two sessions of hemodialysis to decrease and normalize his kidney parameters before he was stable enough to go to surgery (along with having a blood transfusion and further supportive care). Hemodialysis acts as treatment to take over the excretory part of the kidney function. It can be helpful … Continue reading
There are many, many reasons why our pets may “bring up” something, and it’s easy to assume that what they are doing is vomiting. But what if we told you that in addition to the reasons to vomit, there are many other reasons why they might regurgitate! Being able to differentiate between vomiting and regurgitation helps us diagnose pets and get them feeling better faster.
To vomit means to force out matter from the stomach through the mouth. It is an active movement in which the abdomen contracts and forces the stomach contents up and out. The material can be an array of colors depending on what was eaten or what the underlying condition is, and can contain some digested food, as the stomach has begun to process it. The list of diseases causing vomiting includes stomach upset, foreign bodies stuck in the stomach or intestines, pancreatitis, or countless … 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
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