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Vets Advice (2003)

Page updated - 10 March 2005

Contact Details:

Simon Bailey. Ardmore Veterinary Group, 57 Cornard Road, Sudbury, Suffolk. CO10 2XB

Tel: (01787) 372588.     Visit the Ardmore Vets Website

Cornard News - This advice was previously published in Cornard News

2003 Spring

Issue 13

2003 Summer

Issue 14

2003 Autumn

Issue 15


We all know how to look after our own teeth by regular brushing and visits to the dentist. However many pet owners do not realise the same is true for their furry friends. Their teeth are also susceptible to gum disease, plaque and tarter. Early signs to watch for are bad breath, red sore gums, difficulty to chew and excessive drooling. If any of these signs become obvious then it is worth having them checked, because there is often some simple means to help relieve the discomfort they are feeling.

‘Prevention is better than cure’ and it is advisable to brush your pet’s teeth daily with a pet toothpaste.  Ideally it is preferable to train your animal to accept this procedure when they are young, but even older animals can be trained to accept and even enjoy brushing. If this is not possible or you’re unsure about brushing, then your vet can advise and demonstrate this for you. If you find you are unable to brush your pets teeth as they will not allow it then do not despair as there are many foods designed to reduce tarter disease and improve oral health, as well as oral chews and toys, antiseptic sprays and gels.

For more information on any veterinary topic, or with any questions for discussion in future editions please contact me at Ardmore Veterinary Group.

Simon Bailey

2003 Winter

Issue 16


At this time of year, around Christmas and New Year, it tends to be a time for general over indulgence.  A very popular treat is chocolate, however I wish to offer a cautionary note to pet owners, especially with dogs. Chocolate in certain forms and quantities can make animals very unwell and can sometimes be fatal.

The toxic component in chocolate is something called ‘Theobromine’, which is used as a drug in certain medical conditions but can be fatal in excessive amounts. Many people have heard that chocolate is poisonous to animals but a common misconception is that they have to eat a lot of it. This does vary according to the type of chocolate and it’s theobromine concentration. For example toxic doses of theobromine are from 100mg/kg, and bearing in mind good quality dark chocolate/cooking chocolate contains about 15mg/gram, and milk chocolate 1.5mg/gram, it is obvious to see that a dog the size of a Weimeraner could show toxic signs if they managed to eat a couple of good quality dark chocolate bars.

You may therefore ask why are doggy choc drops sold as treats?  Well the concentration in milk chocolate is low and dog chocolate is even lower and therefore is considered safe to use as treats in relatively small concentrations.

If there is a possibility that your dog has consumed such amounts then it is essential to act fast and contact your vet.  They will assess for signs of toxicity, which vary from gastrointestinal upsets through to seizuring and comas, and instigate appropriate treatment.  This treatment will depend upon the clinical signs but will often combine emetics to make the dog sick, activated charcoal to reduce theobromine absorption for the intestines, intravenous fluids and supportive care for at least 24 hours. It should be remembered, as with all poisonings that the faster the animal is seen and treated the better are the chances of successful treatment.

This article is not intended to cause excessive worry over the festive period but merely to provide a note of care. If there are any questions regarding chocolate toxicity or any other veterinary related topic please contact me at Ardmore Veterinary Group.

Simon Bailey