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March 23, 2011

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lynn

Any idea at what amount garlic is harmful? I know someone planning on using it as a "natural" heartworm preventative. What problems do you see with the use of garlic? I did give her the ASPCA brochure on harmful foods. I'm curious about your approach in dealing with clients who insist on "natural" remedies.

Doc

My approach is to research the approach for danger to the pet first, and for potential effectiveness second. Also for any potential interaction with other medicines that might cause either harm or lack of efficacy. If no harm, I don't worry about it too much.

On the other hand, as in this case, it keeps the patient from receiving effective treatment, then I would encourage the client to use something that actually works.

Garlic will have absolutely no effect in preventing heartworm infection. Therefore, using it as such effectively DOES harm the dog, as they will get heartworms.

As far as direct toxicity of garlic, it would take a lot of it.

There is no question that giving enough garlic will cause hemolytic damage to red blood cells, but if one examines the toxic dose given in experimental studies,it is quite high. (5 grams of garlic per kg body weight)

1 gram = 1 raisin or jelly belly jelly bean

5 grams = a big clove (for those of you who don't cook, that's the little part of the garlic that makes up the bulb of garlic)

1 cocker spaniel=10kg. You would have to feed it a bulb of garlic every day for a week.

So, little direct danger (other than halitosis) from small amounts of garlic. Indirectly, you condemn the dog to heartworm disease. That's not so good.

Thanks for reading and writing.

lynn

Thanks for the info. Wondering what is the toxicity level of grapes?

Doc

From VIN's Veterinary Associate Database:

Ingestion of grapes or raisins has been associated with acute renal failure in dogs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cats may also be affected. The exact cause of renal toxicity is unknown. 3,4 Fungal, pesticide, and heavy-metal etiologies do not seem likely at this time. Recent unpublished data indicates that the toxic component is water-soluble, and within the flesh of the grape/raisin, not the seed. Thus, the current thinking is that grapeseed extract may be safe to use.

Ingested amounts have varied from 0.41 to 1.1 oz/kg in one study. 1 The lowest recorded amount that caused acute renal failure was 0.7 oz/kg for grapes and 0.11 oz/kg for raisins. However, not every dog or cat is susceptible and some dogs can tolerate large quantities of grapes or raisins without any clinical signs. Thus there may be unknown patient risk factors in those that develop toxicity. Currently, there is no information about whether or not grape juice might be toxic.

CLINICAL SIGNS
Clinical signs usually begin several hours after ingestion. Vomiting and lethargy are preceded by signs of oliguric and anuric acute renal failure within 24 hours. Partially digested grapes and raisins might be seen in the vomit, fecal material, or both. There have been cases of gastrointestinal signs continuing for several weeks post ingestion. Early and aggressive treatment is indicated, but even so the prognosis must remain guarded once anuric or oliguric renal failure develops.

Toby Jon

Thanks for the link. I am always making sure that my dog doesn't get anywhere near garlic, grapes etc. One time, he ate a slice of champion mushroom, and he vomited all day :(

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