Chocolate toxicity

Did you know that chocolate could be toxic for your cat? The toxic ingredient is theobromine. Did your cat eat some? If so, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Some information will be crucial to determine if your cat will be affected. We will need to know which type of chocolate (white, milk chocolate, dark or for baking), the amount ingested and your cat’s approximate weight. The veterinarian will then determine if the toxic dose has been reached. When you call, you will want to have the package at hand to give us the information. As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.

Toxicity mainly targets the central nervous system and the heart. We might observe hyperactivity, excitability, loss of coordination, convulsions, tachycardia and arrhythmia. Also, there are commonly digestive signs such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Treatment will vary depending on how much time has elapsed since ingestion and the symptoms observed. If ingestion is recent, we can induce vomiting and give products that will prevent intestinal absorption. Gastric lavage might be indicated if large amounts have been ingested recently. Anticonvulsant and anti-arythmic drugs might also be used. Intravenous fluids will help eliminate theobromine more quickly. Generally, treatment must be administered for 2-3 days and prognosis is good to excellent.