Watch out for BBQ snatchers

Sunny weekends are a great chance to get family and friends together for a BBQ. However the combination of BBQ meals and pets can result in injury – both directly and indirectly.

Lort Smith sees many preventable injuries caused when animals eat food from the BBQ, which in one case resulted in emergency surgery to remove a ‘kebab stick’ from a beloved golden retriever’s stomach via their oesophagus.

“The dog was very lucky. In some cases pets need to undergo surgery to remove a foreign body from the stomach. However because the kebab stick was visible, we could delicately remove it via endoscopy,” said Dr Andrew Kapsis, Lort Smith’s Head Veterinarian of Inpatients.

“Lort Smith often sees dogs that have eaten kebab sticks, and these can cause considerable damage to the dog’s digestive tract,” added Dr Kapsis.

Cooked bones are also a hazard as they tend to splinter or can become lodged in the throat or gut.

BBQ scraps are high in fat and can cause gastroenteritis, and more seriously pancreatitis, which is a serious and painful condition that often requires hospital treatment.

Additional foods to watch out for are:

  • Grapes and dried fruit – ymptoms of toxicity from fresh and dried grapes can range from diarrhoea and vomiting, to poisoning which could lead to kidney failure.
  • Chocolate – chocolate toxicity is a common poisoning as it is highly palatable and attractive to most animals. Mild signs can include vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness. However in higher doses, chocolate can be life threatening. Practically speaking, a dog that weighs 10 kilograms can show symptoms of moderate toxicity within a few hours of consuming either 110g of milk chocolate, 35g of dark chocolate, or 14g of cooking chocolate.
  • Onions – can cause damage to red blood cells leading to life threatening anaemia
  • Dairy – lactose intolerance is very common in companion animals and can cause diarrhoea. A cat eating 25 grams of cheese is equivalent to a human eating three and a half hamburgers!
  • Coffee grains – caffeine can cause severe clinical signs in animals from body tremors to seizures.