Holiday Health Tips For Your Pet: With Easter Fast Approaching, North Bay Emergency Animal Hospital Warns of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs and Cats

Santa Monica, California, UNITED STATES

LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Dr. Agnes Van Volkenburgh of North Bay Emergency Animal Hospital warns of the danger of giving pets scraps of chocolate treats and cookies during the upcoming holiday.

Easter is a time of Easter egg hunts and big chocolate rabbits. While this is great fun for children and their parents, this is also a time to keep an eye on pets and to keep them away from chocolate treats. As a leading cause of pet illness and death during the Easter and Halloween holidays, Chocolate Toxicity can be avoided through common sense and a watchful eye. "I have treated numerous cases of Chocolate Toxicity that were caused because a child wanted to share their chocolate treat with a favorite pet," said North Bay's owner, Dr. Agnes Van Volkenburgh. "This is a good time of year to re-educate families on their pet's well-being. What seems like a harmless treat can be a deadly lesson in pet health maintenance."

Chocolate Toxicity is caused by the ingestion of methylxanthine alkaloids and theobromine found commonly in chocolate, coffee,and tea. These alkaloids can cause increased heart rates, constrict blood vessels and increase stimulation of the nervous system to dangerous levels in dogs and cats. Common signs of ingestion are hyperactivity, diarrhea, increased urination and vomiting.

"If you notice any combination of these symptoms, there is a good chance that the toxicity was caught in the first 2 - 4 hours," said Dr. Van Volkenburgh. "At that point it is wise to take your pet to an animal hospital to have it diagnosed. Possible treatments include gastric lavage, administration of activated charcoal, or IV fluids. Anti-seizure and cardiac medications may be necessary for advanced cases of Chocolate Toxicity."

Not all chocolates are the same. There are varying levels of theobromine in the different types of chocolate. Baking chocolate contains the highest level of theobromine per ounce at 450 mg, semi-sweet chocolate contains 260 mg/oz., milk chocolate contains 60 mg/oz. and white chocolate contains the least at 1 mg/oz. The rule of thumb is that 680-720 mgs of theobromine are toxic.

About North Bay Emergency Animal Hospital

Located in Santa Monica, CA, North Bay Emergency Animal Hospital specializes in emergency pet care and exotic species care. Dr. Agnes Van Volkenburgh was educated at University of Illinois in Champagne, IL, and is considered a leading specialist in critical care and emergency medicine.

The North Bay Animal Emergency Hospital logo is available at:


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