Christmas is approaching friends. We all know what that means... food!
Now, I know what some of you are thinking, food is either tasty, yucky or boring. But I'm here to tell you that some food can be deadly.
I discovered raisins.
My mummy had left some at breakfast and had forgotten all about them. (She eats in bed at weekends you see, very lazy. Also if you were thinking muesli, you're wrong - it was rock cakes.)
That night, Saturday, she let me in to her bedroom and went to do her teeth. It was only when she got back to her room and saw the empty packet that she realised her mistake.
I’d eaten maybe 10 raisins. A panicked Google search was done which didn’t help, but luckily my insurance company gives a vet line number to get advice, and my mummy worries, so she phoned it and they told her I needed to go immediately to the emergency vet.
It turns out that the relationship between us dogs, grapes, their tasty dried forms and their toxicity is still little understood. There are theories about the cause of the toxicity and also the dose relationship. You hear of dogs eating raisins with no ill effects and of other dogs dying.
At this point friends, I was oblivious. One moment I'm eating my dental chew, the next thing I know I'm being bundled out the house, into the car and into the vets.
Here the nightmare began.
First they gave me an injection to make me sick up everything I'd eaten. They then sorted through my sick looking for raisins (I like to think of this part).
They told my mummy that they'd found raisins and that there were two options.
1) They could send me home in the hope that they treated me quickly enough to prevent any damage.
2)They could give me the gold standard level of treatment.
I didn't know that “gold standard” could be a bad thing. I do now.
The vet explained that they couldn't be certain that the toxins hadn't already started to affect my body, or that they'd gotten all the raisins out. He said if there was any toxin still in my body it could cause permanent damage to my kidneys resulting in kidney failure and death.
His proposal was for an immediate blood test to check the levels in my blood. I would then spend 48 hours with them on a drip being given intravenous fluids and activated charcoal. They'd spend the time watching for my poo to turn black (strange people these medical types) and give me another blood test at the end of the 48 hours.
My mummy agonized and cried about leaving me at the vets. I'm so scared of everything you see. But when the blood results were in, she was glad she had, because in that short amount of time the raisins had hit my blood. My creatinine level on admission was 157 umol/l.
On Tuesday she got the news that my blood test at 48 hours was good news and I could go home. My creatinine level had gone down to 103.
To help, the American Kennel Club lists signs and symptoms of raisin poisoning as:
-Loss of appetite
-Lethargy, weakness, unusual stillness
-Vomiting and/or diarrhoea, often within a few hours
-Abdominal pain (tender when touched)
-Dehydration (signs include panting; dry nose and mouth; pale gums). A quick way to test for dehydration is to gently pull up on the skin at the back of our neck. It should spring back immediately.
-Increased thirst and/or urine production or diminished amount of urine or complete cessation altogether
-Kidney failure (which can be fatal)
In short friends, raisins: don't eat ‘em.
If you do you eat any grape products, you need to seek immediate medical treatment.
I did win the ‘worst timing’ award – my mummy had just lost a heated argument about the hazards of having the food waste bin on the kitchen counter in reach of my tongue.