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Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs

 

Diagnosis

 

Your will need to provide your veterinarian with as much information as possible so that treatment can begin. If your dog has vomited or had a bout of diarrhea, and you are able to collect a sample of it, this will help your veterinarian to diagnose the severity of the condition and begin treatment that much more quickly.

 

Routine laboratory tests, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests may return results of increased blood calcium, which in severe cases can lead to hypercalcemia, and higher than normal levels of phosphorous and creatinine, both indicators of the kidney's functioning status. Some changes in the urine, like the presence of glucose and/or protein, may be seen.

 

Ultrasound can also be a useful diagnostic tool for determining the size of the kidney along with finding evidence of abnormal deposition of minerals in the kidneys.

 

Without explicit evidence of the ingestion (i.e., pieces of the food in the vomit or feces contents), diagnosis is often based on circumstantial evidence along with the usual symptoms that appear after ingestion of grapes and raisins. Often, a toxic substance does not appear on a blood test, as has been the case in previous grape/raisin toxicity cases. The medical research community is continuing work on the discovery of the offending substance.

 

Treatment

 

A stomach wash/lavage and fluid therapy are among the first lines of treatment after vomiting has been successfully induced. Intravenous fluid therapy will be given  for at least the first 48 hours, and drugs for encouraging urine output will be administered. If urine is not being produced within a short time, your veterinarian may find it necessary to place your dog on dialysis to support the kidneys while they recover. During this time, your doctor will be monitoring your dog's blood chemicals on a daily basis. 

 

Once the kidney has failed to the point that urine cannot be produced by the body, the entire system soon follows and the affected animal dies. In some cases, even timely treatment will not be enough if the toxin has already been absorbed. Time is of the essence with this situation, but in all cases, prognosis is guarded.

 

How to Prevent This Condition

 

Keep raisins and grapes out of reach of your dog, as dogs will ingest almost anything. Make sure that all family members are aware of the toxic capability of this food, as well as other foods that have been found to be toxic to pets, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, etc. If you do discover that your dog has ingested raisin or grapes, acting immediately is the best prevention for avoiding a complicated situation.

 

Image via Shutterstock

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