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"Reports of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs first appeared in the 1990s. Since then, there have been many confirmed cases, usually resulting in a dog’s demise. The exact toxin and mechanism of toxicity has not yet been determined, so diagnosis relies on an owner’s history of the exposure.
"I think that many, if not most, owners are still unaware that grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs, partly because not every dog will get sick. And we can’t yet predict which dogs will and which dogs won’t get sick. Bottom line: Any grape or raisin exposure in a dog requires prompt veterinary care."
"Aflatoxin is a mycotoxin that can occur in grains like corn. If corn is grown or stored in specific temperature and humidity ranges, a mold can grow in it. The mold then produces a toxin that stays in the kernels. Even if the mold goes away, the toxin itself may remain.
"Each year, there are outbreaks of aflatoxicosis associated with kibbled dog foods that contain corn. In this case, it’s not because the pet food manufacturers are doing anything wrong. Rather, it’s because these mycotoxins can be difficult to detect. And since they can occur sporadically in a batch of corn, they can still find their way into pet food, even if it’s properly tested before it’s used."
"Onions and garlic belong to the genus Allium. These plants share a common toxic mechanism whereby they cause oxidative injury to cells — in particular, red blood cells. The sulfhydryl groups in hemoglobin are oxidized by sulfoxides that are present in all parts of the plant and bulbs.
"Cats have about twice as many sulfhydryl groups per hemoglobin molecule than dogs and other species, making them particularly sensitive to oxidative injury from Allium plants. Even a one-time small amount of garlic is enough to impair their ability to transport oxygen to tissues, causing injury to red blood cells that can last for months. In essence, it is a form of anemia in cats. If chronically exposed even to very low amounts over a long period of time, most cats will suffer signs of anemia."
Check out more of Dr. Patty Khuly's opinion pieces on Vetstreet.
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