Owner rushes naughty pet to vet for emergency treatment
A relaxing Easter weekend turned into an emergency dash to Vets Now after a hungry hound had a chocolate feast.
Four-year-old crossbreed Sausage, who weighs just 14kg, wolfed down two whole Easter eggs.
It meant she was three times over the toxicity threshold — which is calculated by factoring in the dog’s weight and the amount and type of chocolate ingested — and needed urgent treatment.
Now owner Rachael Taylor, who is hoping for a more peaceful break this time by locking all treats away, is backing Vets Now’s calls for extra care to be taken with Easter eggs.
Rachael and her partner were chilling out in the garden of their Canterbury home on Easter Friday last year when the drama happened.
“Sausage was in the house and we only actually went to check because she was suspiciously quiet,” said Rachael, 29, who got rescue dog Sausage when she was 18 months old.
“We’re really careful and keep stuff away from her so we didn’t think there was anything she could get hold of. But despite only being about 30cm tall, she had reached these Easter eggs which were on a shelf about six feet up.
“We still have no idea how on earth she did it. We’ve seen her leap over a baby gate, so she does have a spring and she may have got on to another shelf and knocked them over but it was still incredible.
“They were two big Cadbury’s Easter eggs and all the tinfoil wrappers were ripped up everywhere. The chocolate bars inside hadn’t been touched but both of the chocolate eggs were totally gone.”
Having worked in animal care in the past, Rachael instantly realised the gravity of the situation.
“I was aware of the dangers chocolate can cause and I knew I needed to get help,” said Rachael. “The good thing in her favour was that she was only alone in the house for 45 minutes so I knew she hadn’t ingested it very long ago.
“It was Good Friday evening but I have Vets Now saved in my phone for just such emergencies and I called and was told to bring her in.”
Rachael took Sausage straight to her local Vets Now clinic in Canterbury, which has since been relocated to Herne Bay. It’s one of a nationwide chain of more than 60 hospitals and clinics open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies.
Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs.
It mainly affects the guts, heart, central nervous system and kidneys and common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures.
The amount of chocolate Sausage had wolfed down was what caused vets concern.
“Sausage had eaten around 500g and as she was just over 14kg, that was more than 3.5 times the threshold where intoxication can be expected,” said senior vet Dave Hollinshead.
“Our team gave her an injection to make her sick several times and she brought up large quantities of chocolate. We then had to put her on a drip to get fluids into her and monitor her overnight while giving charcoal every four hours to help absorb any toxins left in the system.”
Happily, Sausage was well enough for Rachael to take her home the following day.
“Because of my previous animal experience I’m quite good at staying calm,” said Rachael. “I knew she was in really good hands as I’ve used Vets Now before but it was still lovely to see her back looking better.
“Chocolate can be so dangerous for dogs and I’d definitely urge owners to keep Easter eggs safely out of reach.
“Sausage showed they can get to them where you don’t expect, and we’ll be keeping ours in a locked cupboard.”
All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.
We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.
While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, like Bruce’s, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.
If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.