Mammal Mondays: The Raisin Pie Incident

Greetings, friends. It’s been forever since I wrote for our little blog, a problem I hope to start remedying soon.

Monday morning, as in many homes, is generally the roughest one of the week in the dollhouse. This one was a doozy.

I baked The Electrician’s grandpa his favourite dessert, raisin pie, last night and left it out to cool overnight. As a bit of a joke, I cut the vents in the top crust in an “H” shape so the pie was labelled with Grandpa’s initial. What better than a custom, monogrammed pie, yes? I finished it late last night and left it out to cool while we slept.

This morning, as I was eating my oatmeal, I called Sherman and he did not respond. He is sometimes a bit of a stubborn butthead, so I called him again with more gusto. Then I heard the tinkly sound of his tag rattling against something metal and decided to investigate.

I caught him snout deep in Grandpa’s pie, both paws up on the stove top. He took off for the living room when he saw the look on my face. I felt like a total idiot for leaving a pie out, while Sherm was loose, but in the early morning brain fog I simply didn’t think about it.

the carnage
The carnage. You can’t see it from this angle, but a good quarter of the pie filling is gone. 

For some reason, I was still on auto-pilot and agreed to hold when the receptionist who answered at our vet clinic said, “Is this an emergency or can you please hold?” For the dog lovers out there, raisins inside your dog are an emergency, and you cannot afford to hold. (Note I took the photo above after returning from the vet. Documenting events comes after saving the dog.)

Our awesome regular vet had not arrived at the office yet when Sherm and I got there this morning, so her also wonderful colleague oversaw our spotted dog’s treatment. The bill lists this part of the morning as “emergency detoxification,” which apparently is vet jargon for “so much vomiting,” followed by a big dose of activated charcoal.

Take a moment and think about the worst part of your day. I invite you now to think about how the vet tech’s day started: investigating just how many raisins Sherman ingested by sorting and weighing the contents of his vomit. Yes, that poor lady (bless her) spent her early morning sorting dog puke into categories based on appearance and texture. The task was likely intensified by how similar kibble  looks to cooked raisins. I hope, no matter how rough your day was, it was still better than that poor veterinary tech’s. I can almost guarantee it was better than Sherman’s.

Sorting the vomit revealed the quantity of raisins Sherman ate out of the pie. I suppose the good news about cooking the pastry that almost killed my dog is that I knew the quantity of raisins in it and could help compare the missing amount to the recovered amount from his belly.

According to the vet, raisins are so toxic to dogs that it only takes a tenth of an ounce per kilogram of body weight to cause serious, potentially fatal kidney damage. Based on the results of his emergency detoxification, Sherman ingested more than enough raisins to kill him. We were very lucky I caught him in the pie and was able to act immediately. Had I failed to notice what he’d done and left for work, it is highly unlikely he would have survived.

The vet said we could either hospitalize Sherman overnight to support his kidneys on IV fluids, just in case, or take him home, keep him hydrated, and monitor him closely for any dangerous symptoms. Because we began detoxification so quickly, and because Sherman is strong and healthy, we opted to take Sherman home. He had baseline blood work to check his kidney function and will have a repeat test in 24 hours to make sure his kidneys are operating normally.

Part of the at-home treatment for poor Sherman was a big dose of activated charcoal to absorb any of the poisons left in his digestive tract and carry them out of his body. I’ve had to do some pretty undignified things to dogs, some fosters and sometimes my own, but I have never felt as terrible about a necessary evil as I did dripping that gunk down his throat from the very big syringes. The Electrician held him for me while I wrangled the tubes.

Two and a half of these suckers full of powdery tar. Poor dog.

Activated charcoal looks like ground barbeque briquets. I think it may be very close to actually being ground up barbeque briquets, and it moves like wet sand. It’s also the blackest black that has ever been. If I could get eyeliner the colour of Sherman’s medicine, I would be a happy woman. Poor Sherman made it through half his dose before he growled at me for the first time in his life, but he didn’t try to bite. I’m pretty sure he was feeling bitey on the inside, though. I was gagging trying to watch him swallow the stuff, so I can’t imagine how gross it was for him.

Sherman’s tummy is gurgling from the charcoal. All he’s had to eat since the pie and his breakfast made their dramatic reappearance was the black stuff, so I imagine the gastric symphony is one part hunger and two parts activated charcoal, uh, activating?

And now, we wait. Sherman’s blood test first thing in the morning should indicate the damage done to his kidneys, if any. He is acting normal except for being confused by his tummy sounds and seems to be feeling well, if a little sorry for himself. Please keep us in your thoughts in the next little while as we wait to find out whether he’s going to be okay.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. lexy3587 says:

    I’m so glad to hear you guys got him to the vet so quickly! It is scary some of the things that are poisonous to dogs. Good luck, and fingers crossed that he recovers quickly and doesn’t puke charcoal onto anything white in your house!

    1. Thank you for wishing us well. So far, Sherman is looking really good. I still have my fingers crossed for the blood tests, though.

  2. Jody says:

    Poor boy! That is so wonderful that you found him in time! Thank goodness, although I’m sure he’s been nothing but miserable since his raisin thievery.
    Activated charcoal is nasty. Trust me – I had it once. Barf central in a horrible way.

    Glad to see you posting again. I’ve missed you!
    (cyber hugs)

    1. Hi Jody. I missed you too. There has been so much going on in our little house that I have not been writing much.

      Thank you for your kind words. I am calling yesterday the luckiest unlucky day ever. We’re so glad Sherman seems poised for a full recovery.

  3. carolrood says:

    I am so glad to see you back Kay! I have taken a blogging hiatus as well. Maybe you will rub off on me and I will start typing again. I am so glad you were able to get your spotted pup to the vet so quickly!! PLEASE keep us updated on his blood work!! HUGS!

    1. Hi Carol,
      So nice to hear from you. Sherman is doing well, thank you, and his bloodwork appears normal at this time. Thanks for sending your good thoughts our way.

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