Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants (Vitis spp) have been associated with vomiting and diarrhoea and the development of acute kidney failure after ingestion in dogs. The mechanism of toxicosis is still unknown but as little as 20g of grapes can be toxic to a 10kg dog. Please remember that many foodstuffs commonly found in your pantry can contain grapes, raisins, or currants. These may include raisin bread, trail mix, chocolate-covered sultanas, cereal with raisins and not forgetting our Easter favourite, hot cross buns. Currently, grape seed extract has not been associated with any kidney toxicity.
Treatment for grape and raisin ingestion includes urgent decontamination by inducing vomiting and binding the toxin with activated charcoal to prevent absorption. Grapes and raisins seem to stay in the stomach for a prolonged period of time, therefore inducing vomiting even several hours post-ingestion should still be initiated to maximize decontamination. In general, all ingestions should be treated as potentially dangerous and be appropriately treated. Treatment includes, as mentioned above to induce vomiting, intravenous fluid therapy and careful monitoring of urine output. In severe cases sequential blood tests to monitor kidney function over several days may be required.
Overall, the prognosis varies from good to poor, depending on the time from ingestion to decontamination and the individual response to treatment. While 50% of dogs that ingest grapes and raisins never develop any clinical signs or signs of kidney failure, aggressive treatment is still warranted. Call us on 9873-1544 if you are worried!