Don't eat onion - says "Pepi"

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Google Maps location for Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic

Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic
8-10 Queen St
NSW 2484

02 6672 1919
02 6672 1918

Pepi says “Onion nearly killed me!” By Dr Lauren Porter BVSc

Pepi Cafarella, a beloved pet Chihuahua, ate a tiny bit of onion gravy on some steak. A day later he was vomiting, and the follow day he was tired, and extremely sick.

“I was rushed into Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic on Easter Monday, feeling terrible.” Pepi says, “So weak with anaemia I could hardly stand.”

“The vet took blood tests, and took care of me while the results came in – it was the onion!”

Onions contain thiosulphate, a compound which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions causes a condition called Heinz body anaemia. The red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the organs, burst.

Onion toxicity whether small amounts are eaten occasionally, or one big onion meal consumed, is commonly fatal. Pepi was very lucky; he had owners who rushed him to the clinic.

“Thank goodness for the vets.” Says the now recovered Pepi, “They gave me injections of lifesaving drugs every 4 hours, helped me eat when I was sick, and nursed me back to health.”

Symptoms of this condition include inappetance, breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, pale gums, and red urine. It may take up to two to four days after your pet eats the onion for symptoms to appear. They only have to eat 0.5% of their body weight in onion to become sick.

Other plants in the onion family such as leeks, garlic, and shallots can cause the same disease. All forms of onion – raw, cooked, powdered, even a small amount in table scraps - can be fatal.

“Don’t eat onion,” Pepi warns, “It’s just not worth dying over a bit of onion gravy.”


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