Beware the Easter bunny!
Chocolate is not only toxic to dogs but also cats,
rodents and rabbits.
The toxic component in chocolate is a substance called
. The severity of the poisoning depends on the
amount and the type of chocolate ingested. Dark chocolate is
more toxic than milk chocolate, whereas white chocolate is
relatively non-toxic. Symptoms of chocolate
poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration,
hyperactivity and a rapid heart rate. In extreme cases
convulsions (fits) can occur, and liver damage may develop in
the longer term. So, do take care to keep the products of your
Easter egg hunt under wraps, and well away from your pets!
Pebbles the cat was presented to Noella Cooper, one of
Willows’ general practice vets, one evening last Autumn.
Pebbles’ owner had noticed that her breathing had
been very laboured throughout that day. Pebbles
was very depressed and not feeling herself at all. On
examining Pebbles, Noella found that she had some
lacerations on her tongue and a very wheezy sounding
chest, although the cause of Pebbles’ noisy breathing
was not immediately apparent. Noella was concerned,
and admitted Pebbles to the hospital for further
investigations that evening. An X-ray of her chest
revealed that Pebbles had a pebble or stone lodged in
her windpipe (the trachea) – in other words she had
breathed in the stone, and it was a minor miracle that
she had not choked on it. The lacerations on Pebbles’
tongue may have been the result of her scratching at
herself in an attempt to dislodge the stone, after she
had accidentally inhaled it. It was evident that the
stone certainly could not be left where it was, and
that it required urgent removal.
Professor RobWhite, one of Willows’ soft tissue surgery
Specialists, was on call that night and he was able to
use fluoroscopy (moving X-rays) to visualise the stone
whilst Pebbles was anaesthetised. He then carefully
inserted some special long-handled forceps into Pebbles’
windpipe to grasp and successfully remove the stone.
She made a good recovery and is now back to normal.
We will probably never know how Pebbles came to inhale
her pebble, but we do think she deserves a prize for being
the most appropriately named patient we saw at Willows
An X-ray of Pebbles’ chest showing a pebble or
stone lodged in her windpipe (the trachea)
inserted into Pebbles’
windpipe to grasp and
remove the stone using
fluoroscopy (moving X-rays)
Pebbles at home after