Posts Tagged ‘Chihuahua’

We arrived in Phoenix but left Frog in San Diego. I will to return to San Diego after my sojourn in Phoenix to visit with my brother, his family and some old friends who are still living here as well as some snowbird friends. After averaging between ten and a half and eleven and a half miles per gallon pulling Frog Old Blue averaged sixteen and a half mpg while traveling seventy-five miles an hour on the freeways between San Diego and Phoenix. With gasoline costing four dollars and twenty cents, or more, per gallon in San Diego I calculated that I saved at least fifty-two dollars on the trip here, anticipate an equal amount on my return. I was also able to drive seventy-five mph instead of the fifty-five mph limit pulling Frog.

My brother and his wife are owned by a Chihuahua mix. She is short on stature and gigantic on attitude like many of her ilk. She is also possessive. When we walked in their front door that little dog let Charlize know whose house it was and that trespassers would be tolerated, at best. Her name is Madeline and Charlize avoids her as much as possible. Whenever Madeline has the opportunity she attacks, nipping at Charlize’s hind legs, going for the Achilles tendon. Charlize cowers and runs away but I’m afraid that at some point, probably when none of us are witnesses, she will turn on Madeline and do serious harm, but thus far she has not made a move to defend herself.

My brother Joe and his wife Carol have a two-plus acre lot filled with well-kept desert vegetation. The landscaping is unique, neat and starkly pretty if you grew up here in the desert and liked it. I did and I do. Charlize ran into a cactus while retrieving for my two grandnieces. She now understands to avoid those denizens of the desert, the cacti, not the nieces.

At four in the morning, my first night here, Naomi, almost four years old, got out of her bed and came into the room where her Daddy had been sleeping prior to my and Charlize’ arrival. Daddy, my nephew Andy, was asleep on a blow-up mattress in the same room with the girls. Little Naomi walked over the mattress with her Dad, came into the room where Charlize and I were behind a closed door, got into the bed where I was asleep on my right side. She was at my back so she crawled over me to get to my front and announced she wanted to snuggle. Charlize, ever watchful for intruders, had helped Naomi up onto the bed, nuzzling her behind. I guess I didn’t feel or snuggle the same as Daddy so Naomi started to fidget.

“I’m your Uncle Dave,” I explained. “Do you want your Daddy to snuggle with you?”

Yes,” she answered.

“He is in your room sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Do you want to go join him?”

“Yes,” she said, and did, apparently nonplussed by the situation.

Andy and the girls live in Germany. The girls are both completely bi-lingual. Andy speaks to them in English and they speak to him in English. Their mother, a native German, speaks to them in German and they speak to her in kind. If in a situation where everyone is speaking German Andy also speaks German. Their mother does the same in English when she is in an English-speaking situation, such as visiting here. Andy tells me that when he first spoke German to them, or their mother spoke English they were confused and a little upset that the parent was not communicating with them properly, but they soon adjusted and no matter which language is being used in the conversation they answer in kind. Oh, to be so fascicle with language.

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Yes, well sort of, it depends, is that clear? Actually chocolate poisoning is not unusual in dogs, maybe because many dogs will eat almost anything. Cats are more discerning. I found one reported case of chocolate poisoning in a horse. That is weird because the toxic dose of chocolate is dependent on body weight. The published toxic dose is 100-200 mg/kg. (a mg, milligram, is 1/1000 of a gram, a kg, kilogram, is 1000 grams, a kilogram is equal to 2.24 pounds, 16 ounces to the pound. Let your fourth grader do the math.) To complicate matters veterinarians at the Poison Control Center of the ASPCA have reported problems with doses as low as 20mg/kg, of theobromine. So we will go with the lower toxic dose.

Chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree. The beans contain methylxanthines, a class of drugs that include theobromine and caffeine. Most humans can metabolize, break down, both theobromine and caffeine without much difficulty, in two to four hours. The half-life of theobromine in dogs is 17.5 hours, the half-life of caffeine about 4.5 hours, about the same in cats.

To complicate matters further the levels of theobromine depend upon the type of chocolate. Dry cocoa powder has the most theobromine, about 800 mg/ounce. If your five-pound Chihuahua (about 2.25 kg) ingests an ounce of cocoa powder, he will have ingested 800 mg of theobromine. Anything more than 45 mg could cause problems for him. Unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, contains about 450 mg/oz of theobromine, an ounce is still very toxic to your Chihuahua. Semisweet and sweet dark chocolate contain about 150-160 mg/oz and milk chocolate about 44-64 mg per oz so your Chihuahua could still be in trouble. However, your 70-pound Golden Retriever (much more likely to snarf down your chocolate) will have to consume about 14-16 oz of milk chocolate to get sick on it. A 400 kg horse would need to ingest about 8,000 mg of theobromine, that’s about 17-18 oz of Baker’s chocolate. If caught feeding Baker’s chocolate to a race horse you will be banned from the track, maybe prosecuted, it’s considered a stimulant. White chocolate contains very small quantities of the methylxanthines.

Both caffeine and theobromine are readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and distribute throughout the body. Both compounds are metabolized in the liver. The metabolites are excreted in the urine along with small amounts of the original, un-metabolized, compounds. So, if your pet is old, or has liver or kidney disease, the toxic effects can be intensified. With normal liver and kidney function, it will take about two days for your pet to eliminate a toxic dose from its system.

Signs of chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats include diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination, muscle twitching, excessive panting, hyperactivity, whining and when severe, seizures, rapid heart rate and circulatory collapse. Treatment is to induce vomiting and use activated charcoal in an attempt to bind the theobromine and prevent its absorption from the GI tract. You can induce vomiting with 1-2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, repeated two or three times every 15 minutes, if needed. One to,3 teaspoons of syrup of Ipecac, based on the size of the pet, will also do the trick. If your pet is showing signs of intoxication, get it to your veterinarian. S/he can sedate the animal to control seizures and flush with intravenous fluids to hasten elimination from the body.

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