Did you know that grapes and raisins are toxic to your canine companion? New research is also suggesting that cats and ferrets can also experience kidney damage from ingesting grapes/raisins. While the exact toxin within the fruits is still under investigation, a potential theory is that a fungus within the fruit causes the kidney failure seen in dogs.
If your dog eats grapes/raisins, please bring them to a veterinarian immediately to see if your doctor will be able to induce vomiting. It is highly recommended to make your dog vomit within 1-2 hours of eating grapes/raisins. Since we do not fully understand what causes kidney failure with these ingestions, we recommend treating every exposure as potentially toxic.
Due to the complete lack of information on the toxic nature of grapes, we would recommend including any grape juice or grape flavoring (medications) in the list of items to avoid.
Signs of a grape/raisin toxicity include decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, belly pain, drooling, increased water consumption, difficulty walking or decreased urine production.
Even if the patient successfully vomits the toxic fruit, we still recommend hospitalization with IV fluids for three days to support kidney health and flush out the toxin. Your veterinarian will recommend doing blood work to evaluate kidney health immediately after the grape ingestion so we have baseline kidney values to compare to later. Blood work will be repeated again at the 72 hour mark to ensure that kidney damage has not occurred. While your animal remains in the hospital, they would also receive anti-nausea medications and antacids to help with nausea as well as prevent stomach ulcers.
If kidney values remain within normal limits on supportive care, this is a good sign for your pet and he/she most likely they will make a speedy recovery!