Thursday, May 10, 2012
A comedy of errors
Thursday night, 8pm.
"Tia", a 5 year old Chihuahua, eats two dark chocolate marijuana cookies while her mom, Susan, is at work. The ingestion is witnessed by Susan's roommates. Fearful, the roommates quickly run to grab something to make the dog vomit. Instead of hydrogen peroxide, they accidentally grab rubbing alcohol and quickly shove 1/4 cup of the toxic liquid down the dog's mouth. Realizing their mistake, they call the dog's owner (who is on her way home from work), then grab the actual hydrogen peroxide, and pour it down Tia's throat.
The dog does not vomit and starts to cough. Susan returns home from work, and calls the clinic. We urgently recommend she bring Tia to us for evaluation.
Tia arrived, and immediately she was given an injection of a drug, apomorphine, which reliably produces vomiting in dogs (but not in cats). She vomited up a large amount of chocolate-y-pot-smelling-goo. Unfortunately she was also coughing, and I suspected that instead of swallowing all the hydrogen peroxide, she had breathed some of it into her lungs.
Her client was a friendly, reasonable person, and let us treat her dog as necessary. She avoided any serious side effects from the marijuana, chocolate and alcohol toxicities, but now has a mild case of aspiration pneumonia.
This is one of MANY reasons why I never recommend a pet owner attempting to make their dog vomit at home. First of all, hydrogen peroxide is not a reliable emetic, and secondly, if the peroxide is inhaled, it is very dangerous (as Tia did -- and realize, it's an easy mistake to make for anyone, especially with a struggling, panting, frantic pet). Even if actually ingested and not inhaled, hydrogen peroxide is very irritating to the stomach lining and can result in bleeding stomach ulcers which actually can be fatal, especially in cats. Furthermore, since emesis (vomiting) is not always achieved, valuable time is wasted before arriving at a veterinary clinic for induction of actual vomiting. If your dog or cat eats a poisonous substance, please contact a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. There are no safe, reliable at-home ways to make your pet vomit, and all of the other ways you'll find on the internet are even more dangerous or ineffective. We don't recommend you come to us for any reason other than your pet's safety - that's our primary goal.