Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Macadamia Nut Toxicity - Merlin's Story

So here we are again. Summer's over. Fall is in full swing, and the holidays are quickly approaching. Along with the holidays comes all that special food, much of which our canine companions are as excited to eat as we are. We all know that should we choose to overindulge in all the holiday goodies, we will wake up January 2nd wondering how that spare tire got into bed with us and contemplating how best to get rid of it while experiencing as little physical pain as possible. For our pooches, although they too can come away from the holidays a few pounds heavier, some of those holiday treats can have more serious side effects.

Most of us dog owners now know that chocolate is a big no-no, especially baking chocolate. But how many of you know that macadamia nuts can also mean big trouble for your pet? Christa Marshall, a long-time volunteer with HOTLR relates the following story:

"Although I had read about it, I had forgotten about macadamia nuts being toxic for dogs, and my husband didn't know. Our 43lb. terrier mix, Merlin ate about 4 oz of raw mac nuts and within 8 hours suffered from inability to stand, ataxia (walking wobbly), and possibly depression, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), weakness, and an elevated heart rate. Luckily, he did not suffer from vomiting or muscle tremors.

Until I remembered about mac nuts, we were scared by the rapid rate of change in his symptoms over the course of just 2 hours. After reading that it was too late to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to reduce absorption, we decided he was healthy enough for us to just wait it out overnight. For the next 18 hours or so, he suffered while I tried not to feel too guilty. He was restless, didn't sleep well, and was very thirsty. We had to help him drink and reassure him every few hours.

We all slept in the living room and kept an ear open all night. As suddenly as it came, the symptoms improved dramatically in one hour. Several hours later he was back to normal, although a bit more tired than usual with a slightly upset tummy. If one person can read this and remember before having to experience it for themselves, I would be thrilled to have saved a little needless suffering.”

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control website (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.html) along with chocolate and macadamia nuts, there are several other "people" food items better left to humans. They include grapes, raisins, avocados, certain citrus fruits, salt, onions, garlic, chives, caffeine, coffee, milk, xylitol (used as a sweetner in many food products) and salt. For a complete list and more details on how these items might affect your pet, check out their webpage. Also, remember, should you suspect your pet has eaten a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency hospital for advice and treatment options. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center even has a hotline manned by a veterinarian (24 hours a day 365 days a year)that for a $50 fee will take your calls, and recommend treatment options for your pet. You can contact them toll-free at (888) 426-4435.

Just keep in mind when looking into your pet's soulful eyes begging for that last tiny morsel on your plate, that what might be okay for you, may be harmful to your pet.

1 comment:

  1. This story is really interesting. Thanks to you for this post