Sneaky Pets

By Bethany Pinorsky, CVT
Veterinary Information Specialist

img_0490I have a sweet, older and retired couple for neighbors across the street who own two Miniature Dachshunds.  I have had the privilege to get to know these Dachshunds as Maggie and Bridget.  The couple decided to purchase these two dogs as puppies, at the sweet age of 3 months old. When my neighbors learned that I am a veterinary technician, I shortly became their “go-to” for all veterinary questions, including what to do in an emergency.

I have taken part in two episodes of each or both of the dogs ingesting something foreign that ended in an emergency visit to a DVM with a veterinary bill of $3000.00 or more. In each scenario, the extreme outcomes could have been easily avoided.

For example, one episode that comes to mind is, I was there for a visit after they had recently returned home from the grocery store. It was a nice day to sit on the back porch and leave the windows and doors open, which allowed each dog access to their water bowls. Not long after I arrived, we were in the back yard when both dogs started vomiting large, brown piles of an unknown substance. Upon further investigation, it was determined that both dogs had gotten into a grocery bag, which was left on the floor. To our dismay, one of the bags contained 2-8 oz. Milk Chocolate M&M’s bags that were chewed open and half-eaten. I immediately knew what needed to be done for each dog, due to both dogs weighing a mere  3.6-4.5 kg; and, if one or both dogs had ingested an entire  8 oz. milk chocolate M&M’s bag, they were in danger of developing severe signs of toxicity.

Unfortunately, considering the time of day and that the incident occurred on a weekend, each dog had to be brought into an emergency DVM, to be evaluated, decontaminated, be given a dose of activated charcoal and hospitalized for 24 hours. Luckily, each pet was discharged from the hospital after 24 hours of monitoring, without developing clinical signs, due to the prompt onset of veterinary treatment. Looking back on this situation and the positive outcome, we can laugh and shake our heads.

More importantly, with the holidays closing in, the increase of chocolate in our homes brings an increased risk of it being ingested by our pets when we aren’t looking. We know how busy the holidays are, but we need to slow down and be present in the current moment and be aware of our beloved  pets.