We usually only eat at the table, but a bowl of grapes was accidentally left unattended in the living room. I came around the corner to find Ruby with her little face in the bowl, but I couldn’t tell if she had eaten any since she didn’t have any in her mouth at the time. Still, my heart sunk, knowing it was possible that she had eaten some.
Luckily, I knew grapes could cause a serious problem, even death, for dogs. And luckily, I had a magnet on our fridge with the number to the emergency vet clinic in the Twin Cities, Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service. I called right away and they confirmed grapes were very dangerous and we should try to get Ruby to vomit as soon as possible. It turns out that even a few grapes can cause some dogs to go into kidney failure. We tried an at-home option of using hydrogen peroxide, but unfortunately it didn’t work. So Jason took Ruby to the emergency pet hospital.
They gave her an IV medicine to make her vomit and found 32 grapes. That was a shocking amount which scared us quite a bit. We had no idea she had eaten that many. They ran a blood test to check her kidney function, which was used as a baseline for future tests over the next 48 hours. They gave her charcoal to absorb any grapes that may have remained in her stomach and then put her on IV fluids continuously for the next two days. That’s right, two days. It broke our hearts, but Ruby had to stay in the pet hospital, in a crate, for two full days.
Luckily, she never showed any signs of kidney failure and everything was okay in the end. Apparently giving IV fluids can help with preventing reactions to toxins. The emergency vet told me it’s the same treatment they would give if she had eaten a bottle full of medications by accident. The fluids are “magic” she said.
Unfortunately the emergency vet near us only had overnight care, so we had to pick up Ruby every morning to bring her to regular vet. And then again at the end of the day back to the emergency vet. It was so great to see her for a few minutes, but so terribly sad to drop her off again when I knew she was hoping to go home. I can’t even imagine how tough it was for her. At home, our entire family was torn up, the house felt so empty without her. And we were scared. Scared that a simple mistake could have turned into our worst nightmare.
We were in constant touch with the clinics, monitoring her intake and outputs, her kidney function tests and overall demeanor. On the last day, when I picked her up to come home, she was visibly distressed. She heard my voice in the lobby and started whining for me and when I walked into the room to find her, she was shaking. I felt awful. She was shaking almost all the way home in the car and tried to sit as close to me as possible. She also had shaved areas and sores on both of her front legs from the IVs which bothered her a bit. I kept trying to reassure her that we were going home, that it was all over and that she was okay now.
Thankfully, it only took a few minutes home for her to relax. She was very clingy for a few days and we all made sure to spend a lot of extra time with her. This little pup has been through a lot. Earlier this summer Ruby had FHO surgery for problems with one of her hips. That’s another story for another time. But the end result is that we’ve learned two very big lessons this summer:
- We love this little puppy more than we imagined was possible. She has brought so much love and joy to our lives and is a very important part of our family. There were a lot of tears shed over this grape fiasco (and her surgery) and each member of our family has demonstrated such love and selflessness to help her recover. It’s been really touching to see the family come together to take care of her, it’s definitely brought us closer together as a new family ourselves.
- Dog emergencies can be very expensive. We’re very grateful we have pet insurance through Healthy Paws, which has helped us cover quite a bit of the expenses. They are very highly rated and their monthly premium varies depending on the size and breed of your dog. We pay about $36 per month. They don’t cover preventative care or doctor evaluations, but they cover treatments – which for us has included prescriptions, emergency stays and physical therapy. This is my referral link to Healthy Paws – which gives you an initial discount and would also give us a discount on our premium if anyone signs up using the link.
And we’ve all agreed not to buy any more grapes for the house… for a long time.
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