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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Paws For Thought- Article 6

17th April 2019

Easter Toxins

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the Easter break and all the chocolate eggs that are going to be given (and received)!! Delicious as they may be for us, we would like to raise awareness of the dangers that these chocolate treats can pose to your pet and so below we have outlined the most common toxins that we see ingested around this time of year, and what to do if you suspect ingestion.

Also, if you happen to be passing the vets- do pop in and look at our lovely Easter Toxins display!


Common Easter Toxins

Chocolate: The toxic compound found in chocolate is called theobromine and in large quantities this can cause vomiting, an increase in heart rate (known as tachycardia) and in some cases convulsions. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content and therefore it is potentially more dangerous.

As a rough guide 1.25g dark chocolate/kg bodyweight or 9g milk chocolate/kg bodyweight could be toxic, and your pet will require treatment from our vets.


Raisins: Hot cross buns contain raisins which can be toxic to some dogs (and cats). The mechanism of the toxicity is unknown, but they have been known to cause vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney failure. The toxicity is not dose dependent, so we advise that even one raisin has the potential to cause issues, and your pet should be seen as soon as possible.


Macadamias: Found in some chocolates and biscuits, these nuts can cause lethargy, a high temperature and weakness. Again, the mechanism of toxicity is unknown, so it always better to have your pet seen if you suspect ingestion.


Xylitol: Used as a sweetener if confectionary and baking, this product may be good for our waistlines, but it can cause very severe symptoms when ingested by our pets. Even in small quantities, xylitol will stimulate a release of insulin in the body, as if they have just eaten something sugary and this then causes a rapid drop in blood glucose (hypoglycaemia). This can lead to convulsions and even induce comas. At larger quantities, xylitol can lead to liver failure and so it is vital that you contact us if you suspect ingestion.


Daffodils: Just because we don't want to eat them, doesn't mean your dog won't! Ingestion can cause vomiting/diarrhoea or in some cases, collapse, always phone us if you think your pet has eaten a bulb!


Easter Lillies: All parts of the lily plant are poisonous to cats. The most common way that they ingest the lily is by brushing past the flowers, getting pollen on their fur and then swallowing it when they groom themselves. This can cause kidney failure in cats and so if you suspect ingestion, we recommend being seen as soon as possible.


If you are concerned that your pet has eaten any of the above, or anything else that you are unsure about, please do contact us as soon as possible at the Cape Veterinary Clinic, on 01483 538990. We recommend bringing any relevant packaging with you to the appointment so that we can work out if a toxic amount has been eaten.

If your pet has started vomiting after ingestion of the toxin, this doesn't mean that they will be out of the woods- commonly we need to induce emesis (vomiting) so that they fully empty the stomach. The quicker we see your pet post ingestion, the higher chance we will have of saving them from any lasting effects of toxicity.


Catherine Hannah BVSc MRCVS

References: Dechra veterinary products, BSAVA & VPIS common canine and feline poisions.