Poor little Keaton was brought in one Friday morning having had an acute collapsing episode. She had been enjoying a bit of time out in the sunshine while her parents went out and seemed to be having a ball.
When her owners got home 1 hour later, however, they noticed that Keaton was looking quite out of sorts. She had a dazed look on her face and she had urinated and defecated in the spot where she was sitting. She then tried to move to her bed nearby but fell onto her side and lay there motionless. Her eyes were rolled up and her gums were very pale. There was something seriously wrong.
Keaton was brought straight into the Pascoe Vale Veterinary Hospital for assessment and treatment. By the time she arrived, she had recovered partially from the episode, enough to be aware of her surroundings but shivering and her gums were still very pale. On clinical examination, Keaton had bradycardia or a slow heart rate and her pulses were quite weak. Emergency treatment was started that included high rates of intravenous fluids (a “drip”) to help boost her blood pressure. Gradually she began to recover her wits.
Whilst monitoring Keaton, our team were thinking hard to work out what had brought on the episode. Possibilities that were considered were a seizure or fit, potentially due to ingestion of a toxic substance, an anaphylactic reaction or some form of trauma. There was not really anything around the house that Keaton could have eaten (see below for a list of household substances that can cause severe problems in our four-legged friends) and her owners had not noticed any bees or snakes around the area.
Initial supportive care was enough to get Keaton back on her feet, but while she was in hospital she developed swelling of her right eyelids, a red rash around her neck and chest and swelling of her feet. These signs were very suggestive of an allergic reaction, which made the diagnosis of an anaphylactic shock very likely to have caused her acute collapse. Keaton was given an injection of antihistamine and an injection of an anti-inflammatory which quickly resolved the rash and swelling.
Keaton recovered well from then on and she was sent home that evening with strict orders to rest and recuperate indoors. We have not yet determined what exactly caused the acute collapse but one thing’s for certain, we do not want Keaton or her owners to have to go through such a scare again.
Many items around the house can cause toxicity and disease in our dogs and cats if they gain access to them. Here are some of the things that we had to consider as causes for Keaton’s illness in addition to bee stings and snake bite:
- Chocolate (white, milk and dark) and coffee can cause seizures in both dogs and cats.
- Medications of any form can be toxic to our pets and should never be given to them unless specifically advised by a Veterinarian. They should not be left in the open where they could be eaten. An example is paracetamol (Panadol) that can cause severe anaemia (loss of red blood cells). Even a small dose can be fatal.
- Antidepressant tablets can cause seizures.
- Rat and snail baits are designed to kill and will cause life-threatening problems in our beloved pets if eaten. Rat baits cause bleeding disorders and snail baits cause seizures.
- Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats.
- Onions and garlic can cause anaemia.
- Lillies can cause kidney failure in cats.
- The toxins released by fungi in compost heaps can cause severe seizures.
And the list goes on…
Prevention is always better than cure. This applies to all medical conditions that we treat and toxicities are no exception. If there is any concern at all that your pet might have eaten something out of the ordinary, an immediate check up by a Veterinarian is recommended as we may be able to remove the offending item before it is absorbed into the system and causes problems.
Little Keaton is back to running around and enjoying the summer weather that we have waited for all year. Her owners are keeping a very close eye on her to keep her safe from potential dangers around the house.