An open access paper published earlier this year discusses the clinical features and outcome of dogs after chocolate ingestion. The study evaluates the clinical signs and pathological findings, treatment, and outcome of 156 dogs after chocolate ingestion.
The authors found 72% of dogs were asymptomatic; more than half of the symptomatic dogs had ingested dark or bitter chocolate. Reasons for presentation included agitation, tremor, vomiting, panting and polyuria/polydipsia. Common clinical findings were tachycardia, tachypnoea, hyperthermia and dehydration. Clinical pathological findings consisted of hyperlactataemia, hypokalaemia, mild hyperglycaemia and mild ALT and AST elevation. After decontamination and symptomatic treatment, all but one of the symptomatic dogs survived.
In dogs with potential chocolate intoxication, the type and amount of chocolate, as well as the time since ingestion are important factors. Cardiovascular, neurological and gastrointestinal signs are the most common clinical effects. In this case series, the prognosis after decontamination and symptomatic therapy was good, with a mortality rate of less than 3%.