How to Deal With Chocolate Toxicity in Cats?

By July 01 | See Comments

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Although cats are not as curious about human food as dogs are, they can also end up eating things that they are not supposed to eat, and that includes chocolate. The world’s favorite food item is derived from the roasted seeds of the cacao plant and some of its constituents can be harmful to cats if they are ingested, particularly theobromine and caffeine. Consuming these ingredients can give rise to a number of serious medical complications in your cat. Let us take a deeper look into the symptoms and the recommended course for treatment of chocolate toxicity.

Symptoms

If your cat has a case of chocolate poisoning, you might notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased body temperature and reflex responses
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Cardiac failure
  • Coma

The symptoms will vary based on the type and amount of chocolate that your cat ingests. Some of the most poisonous varieties of chocolate include semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate and baking chocolate. Fully dark chocolate is just as bad as it contains a concentrated dose of theobromine and caffeine. If your cat vomits after ingesting chocolate, it is a good sign as it means that the body is trying to get rid of the unwanted toxin. If it progresses to diarrhea, it means that the chocolate has been digested. In most of these cases, you will end up seeing systemic symptoms.

Diagnosis

If your cat has ingested chocolate by mistake and is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, take him to the vet immediately. The vet will perform a thorough physical exam, including an electrolyte panel, a CBC and urinalysis to determine if your cat has overdosed on theobromine and caffeine. He will also perform an electrocardiogram to see if there are any signs of rhythm of conduction abnormalities in your cat’s heart.

Treatment

While you are at the vet’s office waiting for your cat to be evaluated, try to keep them calm, cool and in a peaceful place. It will keep the symptoms from escalating quickly. Your vet might recommend that you ingest vomiting after ingestion. This will prevent the harmful chemicals in the chocolate from being digested and will also keep seizures at bay. The vet might administer fluids to keep your cat fully hydrated. To avoid any problems in the future, feed

a balanced diet

to your cat following the treatment.

Prevention

The best way to prevent the accident from happening in the first place is to keep the chocolate away from your cat. Exercise care to ensure that you do not feed them any food item that might contain even trace amounts of chocolate.

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