Dogs in danger – Pixel had walnut poisoning

In the past few weeks, a lot of dogs have eaten the moldy walnuts that fell in the fall and were left under the trees. The life of our guide dog, Pixel, had to be saved. It is a big help for visually impaired owners if the sighted people nearby help them when they notice that the guide dog is eating something while running. In such cases, it is not only suitable to contact the owner, but it can also save life.

The poisoning is caused by a mold found in rotten walnuts. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, wheezing, confusion, epileptic seizures, and high body temperature. If we notice these on our dog, we should immediately take him to the vet, as Tamás Prepszl, the owner of Pixel, did.

Without proper treatment, it can be fatal for our four-legged friends.

Tamás told us that Pixel received an infusion, a liver protector and an antiemetic. They wandered home, less trembling, but slowly. Pixel got better and better, the next day he was happy to eat a smaller portion. Tamás told us that he is very grateful to the doctor, the assistant and his roommates for helping Pixel. We were very happy when we heard that our guide dog has fully recovered.

Our foundation knows that it is difficult to avoid, but we ask everyone to pay special attention to our dogs now, and if you can, pick up the moldy walnuts and put them in the bin.

It is a big help for visually impaired owners if the sighted people nearby help them when they notice that the guide dog is eating something while running. In such cases, it is not only suitable to contact the owner, but it can also save life as it was told by Piroska Komondi, the professional manager of Barathegyi Guide Dog School.

Interview with the owner of Pixel, Tamás Prepszl:

Tamás, how was your dog after eating the moldy walnut?

Pixel is a great, energetic dog. But when I saw that he could barely walk, I was really scared. I thought that he had eaten some poison and that I was too late. When we were waiting in the doctor’s office, even then I was saying to myself, “what’s going to happen?” When are we coming? Why doesn’t this go faster?” Then, there in the waiting room, he started to fade, and then I already knew that there would be no major problem. The next confirmation was when the assistant said that luckily we caught him in time, brought Pixel in on time. I knew then and there that he was in good hands.

How he did recover and how long did it take?

The full recovery took 3-4 days. But actually, when we got home in the evening, his tail was already wagging and he was happy, thanks, among other things, to the infusion. The next day he was already begging for food, but of course I only gave it to him on the side. He slept quite a lot and got tired quite quickly, so we didn’t go to play, we just played the rubber toy in the apartment. The fourth day passed and he woke up full of life, hungry for a challenge, then I knew he was absolutely fine.

What did you have to pay attention to during his recovery?

After Pixel received the infusion, he peed a lot for the next two days. I went out with him every 2-3 hours, because the infusion is quite a large amount of liquid that washed through his body. During these two days, he did not drink water at all, and you should not force him, as his body is full of excess fluid, which of course helps him, but you have to pay attention to the fact that during these days you have to take the recovering friend out for a walk several times.

Did you go to work and to walk together again?

Yes, we go to work together, play ball, and he comes with me everywhere, just like before, only one thing has changed. We chose an anti-bite muzzle with the help of Baráthegyi Guide Dog School,, and I’m already teaching Pixel that when I let him go, he has to be in it. The process is slow, but I am patient. I hope he soon understands that I am doing this for him, for his and our safety.

Veterinarian say

Veterinarians have been diligently informing about the dangers of eating walnuts in recent weeks:

On behalf of the staff of the FuzioVet Veterinary Hospital, we would like to draw attention to a problem that has become increasingly present in the last 2-3 weeks, which is none other than walnuts.

Unfortunately, we have been treating dozens of animals showing symptoms of walnut poisoning on a weekly basis, and contrary to our previous experience, their outcome was fatal on several occasions despite careful therapy. The problem is not new, the toxins of the molds that have settled on walnuts have been a problem for years (that is, the poisoning is essentially caused by this), but this year it is to a degree that goes beyond previous experiences. The current situation can be explained by the fact that, as a result of the recent heavy rains, the molds on the walnuts were able to multiply to a large extent.

Owners often think that their pet may have an epileptic seizure, because in this case the dogs typically show symptoms accompanied by tremors, tickling, uncoordinated walking, and convulsions, which appear within 30 minutes after ingestion of the toxin (rarely even hours later). The severity of the symptoms and the prognosis largely depend on the amount ingested and the toxin-producing capacity of the mold. In all cases, the therapy is symptomatic, because there is no special treatment!

In case of mild symptoms, anticonvulsant and infusion treatment, in severe cases gastric lavage and even maintenance of a long-lasting artificial coma may be necessary!

That is the reason why we ask everyone to pick up walnuts fallen from the tree or dropped by birds in hard-to-reach places (under bushes or among fallen leaves) in the garden, and to pay close attention to dogs during walks, especially if they tend to eat things off the ground! It is important to emphasize that not only the mold on walnuts, but also other household molds can cause the symptoms.

Vomiting immediately after eating moldy walnuts or moldy food (only under veterinary conditions!) can prevent the development of symptoms. If the problem does occur and the dog starts to show symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately and draw his attention to the possible eating of walnuts!