Monday, April 16, 2007

Are Grapes and Raisins Harmful to Dogs??

The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment it appears to be crushed. "Roger Houseden"


A grape is the fleshy, non-climacteric fruit that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the family Vitaceae. Grapes grow in clusters of 6 to 300, and can be black, blue, golden, green, purple, red, pink, brown, peach or white. They can be eaten raw or used for making jam, grape juice, jelly, wine and grape seed oil. Cultivation of grapevines occurs in vineyards, and is called viticulture. One who studies and practises growing grapes for wine is called a viticulturist.

Raisins are the dried fruit of the grapevine, and the name actually comes from the French word for "grape". Wild grapevines are often considered a nuisance weed, as they cover other plants with their usually rather aggressive growth.

The aroma of wine, the sweetness of the jam and the thirst crunching of grape juice, will surely makes our tongue twitch right. However, are grapes and raisins harmful to dogs?

Following is an article obtains from

Grape and raisin toxicity in the dog is a potential health threat to dogs that have eaten grapes or raisins. It can cause the dog to develop acute renal failure (the sudden development of kidney failure) with anuria (a lack of urine production). The phenomenon was first identified by the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A trend was seen as far back as 1999. Approximately 140 cases were seen by the APCC in the one year from April 2003 to April 2004, with 50 developing symptoms and seven dying.

The reason why some dogs develop renal failure following ingestion of grapes and raisins is not known. Types of grapes involved include both seedless and seeded, store bought and homegrown, and grape pressings from wineries. A mycotoxin is suspected to be involved, but one has not been found in grapes or raisins ingested by affected dogs. The estimated toxic dose of grapes is 32 g/kg of grapes per kilograms of mass of the dog), and for raisins it is 11–30 g/kg. The most common pathological finding is proximal renal tubular necrosis. In some cases, an accumulation of an unidentified golden-brown pigment was found within renal epithelial cells.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity. They often develop within a few hours of ingestion. Pieces of grapes or raisins may be present in the vomitus or stool. Further symptoms include weakness, not eating, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Acute renal failure develops within 48 hours of ingestion. A blood test may reveal increases in blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, phosphorus, and calcium.


Emesis (induction of vomiting) is the generally recommended treatment if a dog has eaten grapes or raisins within the past two hours. A veterinarian may use an emetic such as hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine to cause the dog to vomit. Further treatment may involve the use of activated charcoal to absorb remaining toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and intravenous fluid therapy in the first 48 hours following ingestion to induce diuresis and help to prevent acute renal failure. Dialysis of the blood (hemodialysis) and peritoneal dialysis can be used to support the kidneys if anuria develops. Oliguria (decreased urine production) can be treated with dopamine or furosemide to stimulate urine production.

In addition, following is a letter obtain from describing a vet experience in handling a dog who has consume large amount of raisins. Sad sad case. Do read...

WARNING Dog Owners

This week I had the first case in history of raisin toxicity ever seen at MedVet.
My patient was a 56-pound, 5 yr old male neutered lab mix who ate half a canister of raisins sometime between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM on Tuesday. He started with vomiting, diarrhea and shaking about 1AM on Wednesday but the owner didn't call my emergency service until 7AM.
I had heard somewhere about raisins AND grapes causing acute Renal failure but hadn't seen any formal paper on the subject. We had her bring the dog in immediately. In the meantime, I called the ER service at MedVet, and the doctor there was like me – had heard something about it, but....

Anyway, we contacted the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center and they said to give I V fluids at 1 ½ times maintenance and watch the kidney values for the next 48-72 hours.
The dog's BUN (blood urea nitrogen level) was already at 32 (normal less than 27) and creatinine over 5 (1.9 is the high end of normal). Both are monitors of kidney function in the bloodstream. We placed an IV catheter and started the fluids. Rechecked the renal values at 5 PM and the BUN was over 40 and creatinine over 7 with no urine production after a liter of fluids. At the point I felt the dog was in acute renal failure and sent him on to MedVet for a urinary catheter to monitor urine output overnight as well as overnight care.

He started vomiting again overnight at MedVet and his renal values have continued to increase daily. He produced urine when given lasix as a diuretic. He was on 3 different anti-vomiting medications and they still couldn't control his vomiting. Today his urine output decreased again, his BUN was over 120, his creatinine was at 10, his phosphorus was very elevated and his blood pressure, which had been staying around 150, skyrocketed to 220. He continued to vomit and the owners elected to euthanize.

This is a very sad case – great dog, great owners who had no idea raisins could be a toxin. Please alert everyone you know who has a dog of this very serious risk. Poison control said as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be toxic.

Many people I know give their dogs grapes or raisins as treats. Any exposure should give rise to immediate concern.

Laurinda Morris, DVM Danville Veterinary Clinic Danville, Ohio

So please please do remember not to give your pet dog grapes or raisins. If your dog consume either grapes or raisins without your knowledge, please consult your nearest vet. PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

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