Why Do Grapes Cause Kidney Failure In Dogs

Colette Wegenast, DVM, senior consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology at the APCC, was contacted by AAHA’s NEWstat to discuss how this ground-breaking discovery was made.

Dr. Wegenast discovered the symptoms didn’t fit the normal scenario while looking into a case of homemade playdough toxicity in a dog. She explains:

“If considerable amounts of handmade playdough are consumed, dogs will exhibit severe symptoms related to hypernatremia (a high level of sodium in the blood), necessitating urgent fluid therapy. Because there was less salt in the playdough in this instance, hypernatremia did not occur. The dog did experience extensive vomiting before developing severe azotemia (high amounts of nitrogen in the blood).

She asked for the playdough recipe and saw that it was unique from most others. It contained tartaric acid, which is also found in cream of tartar. This prompted Dr. Wegenast and two associates to look into:

“The revelation that tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate are only found in grapes in high amounts and that dogs are [members of] a species that has been demonstrated to be susceptible to tartaric acid with acute renal failure recorded in the older studies was the lightbulb moment. Following more research, tartaric acid and potassium bitartrate continued to fit the bill for the notion that they are the poisonous components in grapes and raisins.

As a result of this novel finding, testing, treatment, and prevention for grape and raisin poisoning should all be improved. You now understand why you should never give your dog grapes, raisins, or sultanas.

What types of grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs?

Dogs have developed poisoning after eating red or green grapes/raisins, seedless or seeded grape types, commercial or homegrown fruits, organic or non-organic fruits, and grape pressings from wineries. Foods like raisin bran cereal, trail mix, granola mix, and baked goods that contain grapes, raisins, and currants all have the potential to be poisonous.

What is the toxic dose?

Unfortunately, none of these fruits have a known toxic dose, although two guidelines appear to apply: 1) If dogs consume excessive amounts of fruit, they are more prone to become poisoned; and 2) Each dog has a different level of sensitivity. While some dogs seem to be able to consume tiny amounts of the fruit without experiencing any negative effects, other dogs may become ill after eating just a few grapes or raisins. Which canines may be more sensitive cannot be predicted.

Why are raisins, grapes, and currants toxic?

Some scientists believe that a mycotoxin—a poisonous compound created by a fungus or mold—might be the root of the problem. Some believe the grape contains a salicylate (aspirin-like) chemical that naturally reduces blood flow to the kidneys. However, no hazardous substance has been discovered thus far.

What are the symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity?

Vomiting is usually noticed 24 hours after ingestion and is the most typical early sign of grape or raisin toxicity. Within the following 12 to 24 hours, it’s possible to experience a lack of appetite, sleepiness, and even diarrhea. After consumption, more severe symptoms frequently appear 24-48 hours later, by which time acute renal failure has already started. Nausea, anorexia, vomiting, uremic breath, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, excessive thirst, and excessive urine are symptoms of acute kidney failure.

How is this poisoning treated?

The best course of action is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to a patient as soon as possible to disinfect them. After decontamination, additional care, such as vigorous IV fluids to flush any ingested toxins out of the body as rapidly as possible and to support renal function, may be required. Following ingestion, dogs must stay in the hospital receiving intravenous fluids for 24 to 48 hours.

What is the prognosis following poisoning from grapes or raisins?

The prognosis is great if a dog just had a few grapes or raisins (depending on the patient’s size) and received prompt treatment.

What other common foods are toxic to dogs?

Alcohol, chocolate, cocoa, macadamia nuts, fatty foods, xylitol-sweetened foods, onions, garlic, and cocoa all have the potential to be lethal.

How many grapes will cause dogs’ kidneys to fail?

For dogs, there is no known toxic dose of grapes. As few as 0.3 ounces of grapes per pound of body weight have been found to be the minimum amount of grapes needed to elicit toxic symptoms in dogs. The lethal dose of raisins can be as little as 0.05 ounces per pound of body weight.

How long before a dog develops kidney failure after eating grapes?

Depending on the size of the dog, the number of grapes that is poisonous to him varies. An estimated 0.5 ounce of grapes per pound of body weight is the hazardous dose for grapes. For instance, 7.5 ounces of grapes would be harmful for a 15-pound dog. Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and drowsiness are symptoms of grape toxicity. Within a few hours of intake, these signs and symptoms appear. Kidney failure sets in one to three days without therapy.

Why are grapes bad for canines?

No matter what breed, age, or gender a dog is, grapes and raisins are extremely poisonous to them. Ongoing study is being done to determine why.

Kidney damage is associated with grape intoxication. The fruit can cause abrupt renal failure and possibly death if consumed.

Unknown toxin in grapes prevents dogs from metabolizing their tannins, flavonoids, and monosaccharides. This might be the main cause of canine grape poisoning.

What occurs if a dog consumes two grapes?

Death could possibly happen, depending on how much is consumed. Yes, grapes can cause a dog’s death. 5

Death is not immediate since the body must break down and absorb the grapes; however, time is crucial.

Your dog has a better chance of recovering the earlier you start treatment.

Treatment of Grape Toxicity in a Dog

Treatment should start right away:

  • If the consumption occurred within two hours, the veterinary staff will typically induce vomiting and deliver activated charcoal.
  • For 48 hours, intravenous fluids may be administered.
  • For 72 hours, blood chemical panels are examined.
  • Urinalysis, renal medicines, or an ultrasound to assess kidney size and search for mineral deposits may all be alternatives.

Even if the dog isn’t exhibiting any symptoms, it’s still vital to visit the vet. Although the damage to the kidneys might be postponed, the sooner it is discovered, the better for the dog.

Preventing Grape Toxicity in a Dog

When a pattern in canine illness reports was discovered, grape poisoning in animals was identified years ago.

Since its discovery, veterinary professionals and animal lovers alike have worked to disseminate the information. Grape or raisin consumption was a common contributing factor.

To prevent your dog from getting to them, don’t leave grapes or raisins out on counters or in open cabinets.

How soon after consuming grapes do dogs exhibit symptoms?

While grapes, raisins, and currants are popular and nutritious snacks for humans, they can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Compared to grapes and currants, raisins are frequently combined with other foods, which could increase the risk of exposure. The toxicity issue is unchanged.

Ingestion of seeded or seedless grapes, commercial or homemade grapes, red or green grapes or raisins, organic or non-organic, and grape pressings from wineries have all resulted in poisoning in dogs. Foods like raisin bran cereal, trail mix, granola mix, and baked goods that contain grapes, raisins, and currants all have the potential to be poisonous. Wine, grape juice, and grape jellies don’t seem to pose a toxicity risk.

What isthetoxicdose?

Unfortunately, none of these fruits have a known toxic dose, however there are two guidelines to follow: 1) If dogs consume big amounts of fruit, they are more likely to become poisoned; and 2) Dogs seem to have ‘individual’ sensitivity. Some dogs seem to be able to tolerate a few grapes or raisins. There is no way to determine which canines may be more sensitive at this time.

Why are raisins,grapes,andcurrantstoxic?

It is yet unknown what makes these fruits poisonous. It has been debated over the years whether the toxicity could be caused by a mycotoxin (a poisonous substance made by a fungus or mold) or a salicylate (drug similar to aspirin) that may be naturally present in the grape and cause a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys. Tartaric acid has lately been proposed as a potential culprit. However, no particular hazardous substance has been distinctly identified as of yet. Since the cause of these fruits’ toxicity is still unknown, any exposure should raise possible safety concerns.

What should I do if my dog eats grapes or raisons?

Contact your veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline, or a poison control center right once if you think your pet may have consumed one of these fruits. It is best to avoid taking any chances with your dog’s health because there are still a lot of unanswered questions around this poisoning. The sooner the poisoning is identified and treated, like with any toxin, the less harmful it will be for your pet and the more reasonably priced the treatment will be for you.

What are the symptoms ofgrapeorraisintoxicity?

Vomiting is the most typical early sign of grape or raisin intoxication. it is often noticed within 24 hours of ingesting. Within the following 12 to 24 hours, it’s possible to experience a lack of appetite, sleepiness, and even diarrhea. 24-48 hours after ingestion—often after acute renal injury has started—more severe symptoms do not manifest. Acute kidney failure symptoms include nausea, anorexia, vomiting, uremic breath (which smells like ammonia), diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and excessive thirst and urination. The kidneys will stop working as the poisoning worsens, and the dog might not be able to generate urine. Following this, the dog’s blood pressure frequently rises sharply. A buildup of toxins that the kidneys typically remove from the body through urine may cause the dog to fall into a coma. The prognosis is bad once the kidneys have shut down and urine output has decreased.

How is grape/raisinpoisoningdiagnosed?

Unfortunately, grape or raisin poisoning has vague symptoms, and the early warning indications can resemble a variety of conditions, even a simple dietary error (eating foods that should not be eaten). Similar symptoms to renal failure from other sources are more severe. If the dog has consumed grapes, raisins, or currants in the past or if there are grape or raisin fragments in the dog’s vomit, your veterinarian will make the diagnosis of this poisoning.

To determine the degree of kidney injury, your veterinarian could also advise diagnostic procedures such a complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemistry profile, and urine. The findings of the test will be used to estimate the dog’s chance of recovery.

The purpose of treatment is to stop the poisons from being absorbed and stop or lessen kidney damage.

The best course of action is to immediately disinfect the dog by producing vomiting and giving it activated charcoal. This aids in preventing the toxin’s absorption from the stomach or intestines. Inducing vomiting is crucial because grapes and raisins remain in the stomach for a lengthy period of time (even up to 4-6 hours after ingestion). After decontamination, further care, maybe including intensive intravenous fluids to nourish and preserve the kidneys in an effort to limit renal damage, may be required. Additionally, medications that help maintain blood flow to the kidneys, manage blood pressure, and treat nausea or vomiting may be given.

The purpose of treatment is to avoid or minimize damage to the kidneys and block toxin absorption.

In the ideal scenario, dogs should be kept in a hospital on intravenous fluids for 48 hours after ingesting. Animals that are ill may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Your dog’s kidney function will be observed while receiving treatment by your veterinarian. Blood tests may be repeated one to two days after returning home. To ensure that kidney function levels have not risen, do this.

What is the prognosis followingpoisoning fromgrapesorraisins?

The severity of the ingestion, how quickly the patient was decontaminated, whether or not the patient has already experienced kidney failure, how quickly treatment was started, and whether or not the clinical signs and kidney function levels have improved since treatment started all affect the prognosis. The prognosis is great if a dog just had a few grapes or raisins (depending on the size of the dog) and received prompt treatment. The prognosis is poor and death is likely if the kidneys are destroyed and no urine is generated. The kidneys’ capacity for self-regeneration and repair is quite limited. They will no longer perform as well as they did prior to the episode once they have been injured. When in doubt, get medical help straight away by getting guidance from your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline. The prognosis for your dog will be determined by your veterinarian based on the symptoms, the specific circumstances, and the response to therapy.

How canIpreventthisproblem?

Keep any foods containing grapes, raisins, currants, or other fruits out of your pets’ reach. Never give your dog any food that might include raisins or grapes, and never give your dog grapes as rewards. Even while most dogs won’t have an issue with one grape, it is best to avoid this habit and run the danger of poisoning.

What other common foods aretoxictodogs?

Those that are fattening or include the sugar alcohol sweetener xylitol, as well as foods including onions, garlic, alcohol, chocolate, cocoa, and macadamia nuts, can all be deadly.

Are other animals atrisk?

Dogs are the only animals where grape and raisin poisoning has been linked to a problem. Avoid offering grapes and raisins to your dog or any other pet because there are still a lot of unanswered questions around this poisoning.

Can a dog live after consuming grapes?

  • really unpleasant breath increased thirst increased urine production, or none at all An abdominal ache when touched refusing to consume anything tremors or seizures Weakness

These and any other unexpected or aberrant behavior should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Is Grape Poisoning Really an Emergency?

The things my dog has eaten in the past have had bad outcomes. My dog was OK after whatever it had eaten had gone through its system. Why can’t I just wait and see how this one turns out?

There is always a chance that grapes won’t make your dog sick. However, if they are, your dog will have a better chance of surviving renal damage if you get him to CVETS as soon as possible. Grape poisoning that is left untreated can cause abrupt renal failure within 72 hours, frequently. By then, it might be too late for it to fully recover. Therefore, if your dog ate grapes, it is an emergency.

What Can CVETS Do for Grape Poisoning?

When you bring your dog in, we immediately begin processes to get rid of any toxins that could still be in its body. Each dog is unique, and the treatment we choose will be appropriate for the dog’s health. We’ll probably start with tests if you’re unsure of what your dog ate. We could induce vomiting if you are certain that your dog ate grapes. The toxin might still be in your dog’s stomach depending on how quickly you bring it in; in that case, we might try to flush it out. Another choice is to feed your dog activated charcoal to help it absorb the contents of its stomach.

If the kidneys begin to deteriorate, we may give you particular drugs to keep them healthy. We may start IV therapy if tests reveal your dog has grape poisoning-related chemicals in his bloodstream. Kidney function will be regularly evaluated.

Your dog is in serious trouble if the kidneys can no longer generate urine. If the kidneys have a possibility of healing, dialysis offers life support. Although euthanasia is the option no one wants, when the kidneys fail, it can be the only remaining practical option.

CVETS is a cutting-edge regional facility for animal emergencies in Columbia, South Carolina. The life of your pet may rely on it, so bring it to us if it is in crisis.