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Hello Everyone

October 20th, 2005, 09:25 AM
Hello everyone,
I am new here. I am a Maltese dog, Samoyed dog, Pot belly pig, cat owner in NY who loves my fur babies. I just thought I would say hello and pass along a Halloween warning for the upcoming holiday.


by Robert Jay Russell, Ph.D.,
CTCA President

Every year, during the Halloween and Christmas holidays, we issue our annual candy warnings. It is oh so easy to become complacent. After all, candy--especially chocolate candy--is as American as apple pie, mother and investment fraud. We all have candy in our home at one time or another. Heck, a box of chocolates is as much a traditional aphrodisiac as, say, a Macy's credit card. Just gotta have some. That is of course true for our dogs. They may be meat-craving carnivores, but chocolate pushes all their appetite buttons.

For humans, chocolate, even in excess, poses few problems. We may feel a drug rush as the theobromine in chocolate screws around with our cells' respiratory systems--the mitochondria--but aside from that and weight gain, chocolate does little else to humans (it is reportedly good for your heart as well and I already mentioned it's date enhancement properties).

Chocolate--specifically the theobromine in chocolate--can kill our Cotons, however. So it's not to be trifled with. As little as 2-4 ounces of Baker's Dark Chocolate can kill a large dog. It is a toxic alkaloid that causes diarrhea and sudden death through myocardial overstimulation, vasodilation and excessive smooth muscle relaxation. Let there be no mistake: a Coton can find chocolate treats you've hidden in a supposedly "safe" place far better than your human children can find where you are storing their gift-wrapped presents.

In the past 32 years, Cotons in my care have ingested far too much chocolate on four occasions. All survived with intervention, but it made for some harrowing moments. Let me tell you what happened last evening to illustrate this point. Dottie is my all-time chocolate raptor supreme. She's managed to overdose twice. Last night was her second strike: 11.5 ounces of Hershey's Pot of Gold chocolates. She fragged the box, ate every piece, all 1,600 calories worth. And that was an hour after she had consumed her usual copious dinner. She managed to knock the box off a high table in my office. The box was scrunched away behind a lamp and an iMac. She separated the iMac from the iCandy deftly and silently--as I was just a room away and heard nothing. Her three accomplices (Perdita, Christie and mama Josephine) were silent as church mice. I should have known something was up.

The first thing I did was to pry open every doggie mouth, stick my nose in, and take a deep breath. Josephine: yuck breath. Okay. Christie: Dog Lover's Soul food. Okay. Perdita: aging puppy breath with a hint of Iams dog bone. Okay. Dottie: a premium offering of mint flavored parfaits, supremes, cookie cups, cremes, truffles and other fine centers coated in rich dark and milk chocolate. Bingo. She smelled like Willy Wonka's factory on overtime.

Thankfully, none of the candy was wrapped in a paper cozy that might cause an intestinal blockage. And also thankfully: Hershey's and most other things that pass for chocolate nowadays contains relatively little chocolate. Yet it does contain enough to cause Dottie a possible heart attack or seizure. It had to come out quickly.

We called the vet to be on standby. He suggested that 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide down her throat would make her barf it all up in 20 minutes or less. If that didn't work, we could try another dose. He didn't know Dottie well. Dottie wanted to hold on to that chocolate like Steinbrenner wants another World Series ring.

I escorted Dottie to the back yard. The first 2 teaspoons, shot down her throat in a syringe, made her lick her lips. She liked the stuff. Yikes. So we hastily dropped another two down her. Forty minutes came and went. She loved the chocolates and the peroxide chaser. I was getting a tad desperate. She looked fine, but so did all the passengers on the Titanic, at least at first.

Then, an idea. Make her jump around. I sent the other three girls out to join her and there was a wild reunion. Much jumping, barking, chasing. And with a few minutes, chocolate all over the backyard like the whole town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, had just been nuked. Looked bad. Smelled wonderful. We hastily scooped it up and poured Clorox water over what we couldn't scoop. Dot, forlorn at the loss of her precious cargo, recovered well. She was a little urpy that night, but today is as supercharged as ever. Maybe more so. She keeps looking for that next box of chocolates.

Several good lessons here: (1) keep chocolates out of your home, if you can; (2) keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy, as well as a large syringe (your vet will give you one), and; (3) never, ever try this "cure" on a white carpet

October 20th, 2005, 02:44 PM
Welcome to the board! Pot bellied pig? Where are the pictures of this piggy? I don't think we have too many of those here. Pic of everybody, please! :)