What is Currants Poisoning?
Currants are a fruit which can either come from a sweet dried Zante grape or from a bush berry that is very tart. Currants can come from different types of grapes and are very similar to raisins and sultanas. Currants can be black, red, or white, and are often used in making preserves, liquors, and syrups. Currants, and related fruits are found in many products, including trail mix, breads, bagels, and other baked goods. Oftentimes dog owners think that currants, grapes and raisins are no risks to dogs since they are considered a healthy fruit to humans; however, it is the direct opposite. Currants, like raisins and grapes, are very toxic to dogs. The main risk to the dog that has ingested currants is acute renal failure.
Currants poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs eat currants, or related fruits, including grapes and raisins. When dogs ingest currants and are left untreated, there is a high possibility of renal failure.
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Symptoms of Currants Poisoning in Dogs
If you are unsure that your dog has ingested currants, but notice the severe symptoms below, it is imperative that you provide him with medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of currant poisoning include:
- Increased thirst
- Reduced appetite
- Renal failure
- Weight loss
- Urinary tract issues
- Abdominal pain
Currants are very similar to other fruits. Fruits from the same family include:
- Black currants
- Red currants
- White currants
Causes of Currants Poisoning in Dogs
The main cause of currant poisoning in dogs is due to the ingestion of the toxic fruit. At this point the toxic agent is not fully identified. The specific toxicity from this fruit is still being researched; however, research is pointing to these possibilities:
- Possibility of a mycotoxin produced within the fruit
- Possibility of a salicylate found within the fruit
Diagnosis of Currants Poisoning in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has consumed currants, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The medical professional will ask questions about the dog’s history and will want more information on the indication that he ingested this fruit. The physician will do a complete examination, including blood work, urinalysis, and serum biochemical analysis. He will look at the complete blood count to verify if there is any anemia, as well as the blood urea nitrogen, creatinine levels, and the electrolytes. All of this information will give the veterinarian the knowledge he must have to make a diagnosis. This information will alert the position to possible signs of kidney failure as well.
He will also take your dog’s blood pressure and analyze the urine for protein amounts, and possibly do radiographs of the kidneys. An ultrasound of the abdomen may also be performed. Currants poisoning in dogs may show kidney failure in the same way which kidney failure can occur from a multitude of causes. The veterinarian will make a diagnosis of currant poisoning based on the symptoms and the knowledge of the dog consuming the poisonous fruit. If there is absolutely no knowledge of the dog eating currants, pieces of the fruit will be present in the vomit of the dog.
Treatment of Currants Poisoning in Dogs
Since this condition is quite serious and renal disease and failure is very much a possibility, the veterinarian will need to provide treatment as soon as possible. Treatment methods include:
The vet may induce vomiting if the dog is stable and not having any seizures. After vomiting has been induced, the veterinarian may follow up with activated charcoal. The activated charcoal may be a dry powder, in lliquid form, or in granules. This will need to be repeated every 4 to 6 hours.
Fluid therapy with electrolytes in an IV may be given to help prevent further renal damage or renal failure. The veterinarian will closely watch the kidneys over a period of a few days, depending on the amount ingested and the level of toxicity. The fluid therapy must be aggressive to help stabilize or normalize the renal system and restore electrolytes.
Hospitalization to Treat Kidney Failure
If your dog is suffering from kidney failure due to currant ingestion, he will need to be hospitalized and treated for renal failure. Depending on the damage to the kidneys, the specific treatment for renal failure may vary. Diuresis may be administered, a catheter may be placed to monitor urine output, and the dog’s creatinine levels will be monitored very closely. The dog may also need to receive dialysis, and may be hospitalized for several days.
Recovery of Currants Poisoning in Dogs
If treatment is successful, the prognosis is good. If your dog was hospitalized due to renal failure, there will be instructions to follow for his after-care once you bring him home. The veterinarian will also want to see him again to check on his progress. Once home, your companion may need medications and lots of rest. It is important to follow the instructions as to when the medication is administered. It is also important to take the medication at the same time every day. While your loved one is recovering, if he begins to exhibit new behaviors or symptoms that concern you, call the veterinarian with any questions you may have.