Pip needs emergency veterinary treatment for tremorgenic mycotoxicosis

A much-loved family dog almost died after suspectedly eating food left out for birds that had turned mouldy.

Pip, a five-year-old Yorkshire terrier-cross, was in the garden when she came across the old scraps of fat.

Within minutes of eating them, she began shaking and staggering and was rushed to the vets by her worried owner.

Kefi Culkin, an HR consultant who works from home where Pip is her constant companion, described the incident as “really traumatic”.

She said: “I took Pip for a walk to try to distract her but she was undistractable. She started being sick in the street.

“Then she started losing control of her legs and it looked like she was fitting. It was scary.”

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At the time, Kefi, her husband Simon, and their children Joe, 15, and Maggie, 11, had no idea what had caused Pip to become so ill.

But they knew it was serious enough to rush her to their local vet in Faversham, Kent.

“The receptionist could see my daughter was distressed and took Pip straight through to see the vet,” Kefi explained.

“But she was shaking so much the vet couldn’t take blood so it was difficult to diagnose the problem.”

Needing one-to-one overnight care, Pip was transferred to Vets Now’s pet emergency clinic in nearby Canterbury, where vet Steffi Galt got to work on stablising her and getting to the bottom of her problem.

Steffi said: “I got a really detailed history from the owner which gave me a clue as to what the problem could be.

“He said that he’d mowed his lawn recently and found old bird food which had accumulated on the grass and she could have potentially eaten that.

“Old mouldy food can cause toxicosis in animals so I treated the case as a tremorgenic mycotoxicosis.”

Steffi added: “I ran blood tests which were all normal and then administered intralipid IV to bind whatever toxin may be in her bloodstream.

“I then gave her oral activated charcoal to bind the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, a muscle relaxant to help the trembling and fluid therapy to flush out her system.”

Image of Pip the dog for Vets Now article on mould toxicity dogs
Pip's family are delighted that she has recovered from her ordeal

As the hours passed, the tremors lessened, and, remarkably, by the following morning Pip was well enough to return home.

“My son Joe got up at 6.30am and went with my husband to collect her,” Kefi recalled.

“They were able to bring her home and put her on Maggie’s bed before she woke up. It was really nice, and we were all really, really overwhelmed.”

Pip came to live with Kefi and her family when they adopted her from a shelter aged five months. She had been rescued from a house which contained 72 dogs.

“She’s tiny and she just likes to stick with me. She follows me around,” Kefi said.

Now Pip is back in her favourite place, on her cushion next to Kefi’s workstation, keeping watch.

The pet emergency clinic at Canterbury is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and hospitals which are open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays.

All of Vets Now’s out of hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and a veterinary nurse on site at all times.