Raisins, grapes toxic to dogs

If you let your dog eat raisins or grapes, even a few, don’t. They can be toxic. It’s no joke, no urban legend.

I’ve heard this before, a few years ago, and today received a reminder. Even though the news might not be new to me, it might be to you or someone you know. Read on:

Laurinda Morris, DVM
Danville Veterinary Clinic
Danville , Ohio

This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen at MedVet. My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix that ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Tuesday.

He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1AM on Wednesday but the owner didn’t call my emergency service until 7AM.

I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal failure but hadn’t seen any formal paper on the subject. We had her bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the ER service at MedVet, and the doctor there was like me – had heard something about it, but….

Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center and they said to give IV fluids at 1 1/2 times maintenance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours. The dog’s BUN (blood urea nitrogen level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine over 5 ( 1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream.

We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no urine production after a liter of fluids. At the point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to MedVet for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care. He started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and his renal values have continued to increase daily.

He produced urine when given lasix as a diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still couldn’t control his vomiting.

Today his urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220.. He continued to vomit and the owners elected to euthanize.

This is a very sad case – great dog, great owners who had no idea raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk. Poison control said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic. Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats including our ex-handler’s. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern.

Laurinda Morris, DVM

california_raisin.jpgIronically, I read this at Snopes.com just yesterday, while browsing other pet-related postings there. Snopes should be your first stop when you receive a forwarded e-mail. Anyway, this one is true.

We’ve taken both our dogs to MedVet for emergency visits, when Sarah had bladder stones and when Emma began having seizures (both girls are just fine now, Sarah on Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine C/D and Emma taking phenobarbital daily for her mild epilepsy). Though I’ve never met her, Dr. Morris formerly practiced in Granville and now does, indeed practice in Danville.

For years, we’ve occasionally given the dogs a grape or two when we’ve eaten some. No more, though. While it hasn’t hurt them, who knows what might happen if we walked away from a bunch and the girls got a hold of them? It would be terrible to lose a dog to toxicity when it can be prevented. So, guard those grapes!

This entry was posted in Pets.

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