Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bread Dough Is Toxic?

Before I get into today's topic I wanted to update my regular readers on a few cases:
1. The bloat dog that we did surgery on last Wednesday did NOT make it, likely due to the large portion of his stomach that was vascularly comprised. He did great until 3 days post op when he passed away suddenly at home. 
2. The dog that needed surgery yesterday that I spoke of, did get that today and is doing well! Yeah!! Somehow I guess he came up with the financial means to take care of the dog. 

One of my favorite things in veterinary medicine has always been toxicology. In another life I would've stayed in school and gotten a PhD and board certification and become a veterinary toxicologist. I have a few of those "in another life" wishes but they are all veterinary or medical related. Unlike cats, I can't get 9 lives to lead.

Bread dough containing yeast is toxic to dogs. I don't mention cats because it is HIGHLY unlikely a cat would eat this. The yeast undergoes an enzymatic process where sugars become CO2 and alcohol. This happens in a warm, oxygen deprived environment. In the stomach, this fermentation continues and not only does the large "mass" of dough become a problem (it can basically cause a physical obstruction) but the ethanol produced is toxic. The ethanol is quickly absorbed from the GI tract.

Signs include a distended abdomen, vomiting or unproductive retching, and  eventually, weakness/ataxia (think of it like being drunk and stumbling around). 

Treatment involves either inducing vomiting or flushing out the stomach. Also important is supportive care (some of these depend on the signs of course) including IV fluids, antiseizure medications, pain medications, and close monitoring of heart and respiratory parameters. 

It can take up to 24 hours for a dog to recover from this. However, they can also DIE from it if is not treated quickly or as I'd imagine, it's not even known about. How often do dogs eat things owners have no idea about? Pretty darn often let me tell you. This is evidenced by the things we find when we do exploratory surgeries for foreign bodes. Sometimes we KNOW what the dog ate, go in and find it OR find it and some other things! 

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