Name – “Archie”
Age, Sex & Breed – 4 years old, male neutered Cairn Terrier
History – Archie is a bright inquisitive terrier. That afternoon his owner had been about to prepare a chocolate dessert for dinner guests when Archie stole 150g of high quality 70% dark chocolate from the kitchen table.
Examination – Archie had vomited four times by presentation, his heart was going significantly faster than normal and he was dull. Within a short period of time he developed profuse watery diarrhoea. Archie was admitted for hospitalisation and treatment.
Treatment – Archie was given intravenous fluids to aid his circulation and elimination of toxins. He was also given Activated Charcoal by mouth – this is a medication that helps prevent futher absorption of toxins. The following day Archie was vastly improved, his vomiting and diarrhoea had ceased and he was discharged with a special highly digestible prescription diet to eat for the next few days.
The Danger of Chocolate Ingestion – Chocolate contains a substance called “theobromine”. The concentration of theobromine varies hugely depending on the type of chocolate – white chocolate has the lowest levels, plain/dark chocolate the highest. In fact plain chocolate can contain over 1500 times the amount of theobromine compared to white chocolate! Chocolate poisoning is a common occurrence – especially at certain times of the year e.g. Easter & Christmas. Archie was fortunate in that his owner sought early veterinary attention. Theobromine can lead to a number of clinical signs, including vomiting, diarrhoea, altered heart speed convulsions and, unfortunately, in some cases it can even be fatal.