Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter treats can cause seizures in man's best friend!

EASTER might mean chocolate to many, but vets are warning people not to give their pets the treat.

Emergency visits to vets spike over the Easter long weekend.

While the chemical found in chocolate, theobromine triggers the release of the euphoric hormone, seratonin, in humans, in dogs it can lead to intoxication and poisoning.

"Because of their indiscriminate eating habits, Easter is one of the times we see a lot of dogs with chocolate intoxication," said emergency vet Dr Sarah Haldane, from the University of Melbourne Vet Clinic and Hospital.

"And other pets can be affected too."

Fifty grams of dark chocolate per 5kg of a dog's weight, or 200g of milk chocolate, is dangerous.
Initially chocolate upsets pets' digestive systems due to high levels of fat and sugar, triggering vomiting, nausea, increased urination and diarrhoea.

But six to 12 hours later, the chemicals kick in, causing pets to urinate more and become agitated and excitable.

More dangerous symptoms can develop including an irregular heart beat, blood pressure changes and seizures, which if left untreated can be fatal.

Dr Haldane said chocolate and baked goods containing chocolate should be kept out of reach of pets.

"While we like to think of our pets as part of our family, it doesn't mean they can eat what humans eat," she said.

"The tiniest of pieces is not going to do any harm but it gives them a taste for it which can lead to problems for everyone."

If chocolate has been injested by pets, owners should contact their vet immediately for advice, she said.

But if the pet is having seizures it should be taken to a vet immediately.


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