Raisins and grapes are very toxic to dogs and possibly cats. Some dogs love eating raisins and grapes and will seek them out. Pet owners have used even raisins as a "healthy" treat for their dogs. This is not advised, however, as grapes and raisins may cause potentially fatal kidney failure in dogs and cats.
At this point in time, the toxic factor of raisins and grapes has not been identified. It is thought to be contained in the flesh, not the seed, of the fruit. Some animals may be more sensitive than others.
Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC share a case report concerning a three-year-old female Labrador dog that survived raisin toxicity with aggressive emergency and supportive care.
Black Lab ingests raisins
"Annie" a 30 kg (66 pound), three-year-old, female Black Labrador Retriever ingested 12 oz of raisins from a holiday gift box. Three days after the ingestion, her owners called Pet Poison Helpline for assistance as Annie had stopped eating, began vomiting, developed diarrhea and seemed lethargic/depressed.
The owners were advised that raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs and that Annie’s symptoms were consistent with kidney failure. They were advised to take Annie to their veterinarian immediately.
Annie presented to the veterinarian with a BUN of 180 and creatinine of 5.4 which are very elevated kidney values (normal BUN is <30 and creatinine is <2 ). She was 7 percent dehydrated with mild abdominal pain and no palpable bladder. She was given one-liter of IV fluids upon hospital admission. It was determined that Annie’s kidneys were no longer making sufficient amounts of urine.
Progression of kidney failure
Over the course of five days, Annie progressed from making small amounts of urine (oliguric renal failure) to making no urine (anuric renal failure). Her BUN was greater than 300 and her creatinine measured as high as 22.
Treatment and supportive care
She was aggressively treated with IV fluids (as best she could tolerate in her anuric state), aluminum hydroxide, sucralfate, pepcid, maropitant, enalapril, hydralazine, ampicillin and furosemide.
Finally, improvement is seen
On the sixth day of hospitalization Annie’s kidneys finally began to make urine again. She was suddenly urinating immense quantities (13 ml/kg/hr or nearly 9 L per day!) and required over 10 liters of IV fluids per day.
By the eighth day of hospitalization, her BUN was 32 and creatinine 0.8. She was discharged and remained healthy!
Thank you to Ahna Brutlag DVM, Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC, and Pet Poison Helpline for providing this case report to educate owners about the dangers of raisins for pets.