6 November 2017


A Warwickshire vet is urging dog owners to be aware of the dangers of their beloved pets eating chocolate after dealing with three poisoning cases in just one night at the practice’s out-of-hours hospital.

Barney, a 12-year-old Tibetan terrier; Buster, a six-year-old Schnauzer and another dog called Buster, a nine-year-old Jack Russell were all admitted to Avonvale Vets’ Warwick hospital after falling victim to their sweet tooth.

Barney had tucked in to half a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, while Schnauzer Buster had munched his way through a box of Hotel Chocolat chocolates.

The most serious case was Buster the Jack Russell, who had eaten 100g of chocolate –  equal to a whole large bar. He was already showing signs of toxicity and increased heart rate when he was admitted.

He was given fluids and heart-slowing drugs while also being medicated with activated charcoal, which stops the poisons being absorbed into the dog’s system.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is extremely toxic to dogs.  Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting blood, diarrhoea, excessive thirst and drooling.

Kieran O’Halloran, veterinary surgeon at Avonvale’s Kenilworth practice, said: “It’s definitely unusual to have three cases like this on one night. Fortunately, all three dogs have made a full recovery.

“Barney had eaten a lot of chocolate and was quite unwell, so he had to be admitted to hospital. Eating as much as he did can cause an increase in heart rate, a fall in blood pressure and kidney damage, so swift action is key.

“It’s an important reminder of how important it is to keep chocolate out of the reach of dogs, especially if they’ve got a sweet tooth.”

The chocolate poisoning cases were all in a week’s work for Avonvale’s out-of-hours team. They made 45 entries in their log in the same week they treated the three dogs, with cases ranging from a dog with a broken leg to a collapsed diabetic.

Avonvale has surgeries in Warwick, Leamington, Kenilworth, Southam, Wellesbourne and Stratford. For details about its out-of-hours service, visit www.avonvets.co.uk/services/hospital-24-7.