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Grape and Raisin Poisoning in Dogs

 

Diagnosis

 

Most cases of grape and raisin poisoning are diagnosed because an owner knows or suspects that their dog has eaten the fruit. Sometimes partially-digested grapes and raisins can be seen in a dog’s vomit or fecal material. Routine laboratory tests, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, can diagnose most cases of acute kidney failure regardless of the cause. 

 

Treatment

 

When treating a dog who has eaten grapes or raisins, a veterinarian will start by inducing vomiting (if the ingestion has occurred within the last two hours and the dog hasn’t already vomited) possibly followed by gastric lavage (washing out the stomach) and administration of activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxin. After this, he or she will begin intravenous fluid therapy to flush the toxin out of the dog’s bloodstream and to encourage the kidneys to keep producing urine. If necessary, the veterinarian will give your dog medications to reduce vomiting and maintain kidney function. During this time, the doctor will be monitoring your dog's kidney function with regular rechecks of bloodwork. 

 

If a dog’s kidneys have failed to the point that they can no longer produce urine, the prognosis becomes grave. Hemodialysis may be necessary to support life until (and if) the kidneys can recover. Kidney transplant may be an option for some owners, but in most cases, euthanasia is the only practical option once a dog’s kidneys have totally shut down. 

 

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 capacity of this food, as well as other foods that have been found to be poisonous to pets, such as chocolate, onions, garlic, etc. If you do discover that your dog has ingested raisin or grapes, acting immediately gives your dog the best chance at survival.

 

* Acute renal failure in dogs after the ingestion of grapes or raisins: a retrospective evaluation of 43 dogs (1992-2002) Eubig PA, Brady MS, Gwaltney-Brant SM, Khan SA, Mazzaferro EM, Morrow CM. J Vet Intern Med. 2005 Sep-Oct;19(5):663-74.

 

Image via Shutterstock

Comments  9

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  • My dog loves grapes....
    11/25/2015 09:26pm

    ...I guess there is no difference to humans loving alcohol and tobacco. My 60lb Australian Shepherd/Cattle dog ate about 1lb of Black Seedless Grapes and had zero complications. He even really seemed to enjoy them. I busted him in the act and realized how much he ate and followed him around for a few hours and all was normal even still a few days later.

  • 07/26/2016 09:36pm

    I'm glad your aussie didn't die after eating a ton of grapes but the fact of the matter is, allowing your dog to eat grapes untreated is akin to playing russian roulette. The mechanism for toxicity isn't understood so who knows if its ok for your dog to eat grapes today and not eat grapes tomorrow.

    It's also worth noting that the window to take action and protect your dog from acute kidney failure is very narrow. Once that window passes and the grapes are absorbed into the blood stream there's a odds of treatment working start decreasing and the cost of care shoots through the roof.

  • 08/11/2016 05:13pm

    Exactly! For all we known, the Mendelian trait that determines toxicity to grapes may be genetic, that is, inheritated among certain species/"family trees" of dogs.

  • Well documented
    09/11/2016 08:57pm

    "Well documented in dogs" how? What studies show this connection?

  • My dog loves grapes too
    09/22/2016 01:09am

    We give grapes and raising to our 70 lb. dog all the time. All. The. Time. Because of the warnings we are careful not to overdo it; we aren't dog abusers, tempting fate, or trying to prove anything. But people who should know better and still promote hysteria by not quantifying their warnings do the public a disservice.

    We've had similar experiences with hysteria over chocolate and pork. We avoided letting our dogs touch chocolate until one day, to our amazement, a trainer gave one of our dogs an Oreo cookie. That prompted us to look up just how much chocolate was toxic to dogs. It turns out the toxicity level is approximately 2 oz. per lb. of body weight. That meant our dog would have to have eaten about two pounds of pure chocolate to experience distress! Clearly this means that dogs and chocolate should be separated, but who in their right mind would feed their dog such an amount of chocolate? Meanwhile, people are freaking out if their dogs gobble up a few grains of chocolate cereal their kids spill onto the floor.

    Another of our dogs gobbled up a raw, 1" thick pork chop I had set aside as I was carrying it to our outdoor grill. Having been advised never to feed dogs any amount of pork, much less raw, I panicked and took her to an emergency clinic. I left with advice not to worry about it and a $150 bill (this was after hours on a weekend). Thanks for the hysterical, unquantified advice, folks. I know you think you're doing a service than that it's better to be safe than sorry, but you can't stop at the qualitative, "any is bad" level.

    Sugar is bad for your kids too. Does that make you stop at "zero tolerance?" Do you freak out when you see your kids with a piece of candy or—God forbid—dessert?

    It would be nice if, instead of harping on the same relatively innocuous foodstuffs over and over again, we could get someone to report on the toxicity of sugar-free products. Everyone knows that Xylitol is toxic to dogs. But what about other sugar alcohols, such as Malitol?

  • 10/07/2016 10:48pm

    Do you really want scientists to figure out the specific lethal doses for each breed and for each substance? Oral toxicity is measured by Lethal Dose (LD) with LD50 being the common standard, meaning 50% of the test subjects die at that dose. To determine LD50 for these substances, they would have to feed it to test dogs in a lab until 50% of them died on a consistent basis, then repeat that process for each substance and each breed...thousands of dead dogs just to prove to the ignorant skeptics that these substances are harmful?

    Regarding grapes, you cannot assume your dog is tolerating them by watching his behavior, because the behavior will not change until his kidneys are actually shutting down. Every time you feed him grapes, his creatinine levels are spiking and you are damaging his kidneys. The damage is cumulative and eventually, all it takes is one stress event such as a virus or other toxic ingestion and that last little bit of clearance capacity will be nuked...then fatal renal failure follows. Never feed your dog grapes, ever.

  • 12/10/2016 05:19pm

    What an asinine comment. Advising people not to give grapes to their dogs is neither promoting hysteria nor doing a public disservice. What exactly do you THINK they should say? "Um folks, we know grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, and we know it only takes a small amount can kill SOME dogs, but don't worry about feeding them to your dog because chances are low that something will happen."

    They DON'T KNOW why some dogs are affected and some aren't. They don't know if it has to do with genetics or if it only happens when a dog's immune system is compromised. If it's the latter, then you are indeed playing Russian Roulette with your dog's life, and in that regard, you are an irresponsible dog owner.

    It burns me up that you'd say they're doing a public disservice and promoting hysteria. They are without question doing a huge public SERVICE by informing people of the dangers and I'm sure this article has already saved the lives of some dogs.

  • Pug ate my Pannatone
    11/29/2016 08:58pm

    Pannatone is a holiday bread containing raisins. I cut a wedge for myself and in a moment it was gone. My vet said give salt to the pug every 10 minutes until she vomited, but after 30 minutes she hadn't vomited. I rush her to the vet where she was given hydrogen peroxide and still didn't vomit. A blood panel was done, and activated charcoal administered. It's been a day and she ate breakfast, had normal bathroom habits and is sleeping. I'm still worried that renal failure could set in. She goes back tomorrow for more blood work.

  • 12/10/2016 05:24pm

    How is your Pug doing now? That's pretty scary.



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