[LMB] OT: Cocoa & Karen's Cat Question

Susan Profit tinne at eskimo.com
Sun, 10 Feb 2002 00:15:39 -0800 (PST)

(This is a bit tricky and I am on painkillers for a dental problem, so
if it doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll try it again.)
Yes, cocoa per ounce has more xanthines than chocolate candies. (More
than one actually.) HOWEVER, most chocolates have things in them like
fat and sugar and even some flavors that dogs like, so they may eat
more of the various chocolate candies than of cocoa. The question can
become have they eaten enough more of the candies to give them the
equivalent amount of xanthines in a mouthful of cocoa?

Biggest problems with dogs (and incidentally cats are also endangered
by chocolate but they seldom eatt much of it) when ingesting xanthines
are they cause the heart to speed up, and if they ingest enough, the
rhythm becomes irregular. Then can also develop respiratory problems
and swelling of the brain which can cause permanent brain damage.

Obviously, if the dog already is older or has a problem with heart
rhythm or basic rate (say because of an overactive thyroid) already,
the amount of xanthines that are needed to trigger serious problems is
going to be less than if everything is normal.

Size affects how the dosage affects the animal, but also breed -
highly active dogs may be hit harder than those of breeds that are
more laid back - provided the laid back dogs aren't from breeds with a
tendency to have heart, thyroid, kidney, liver, or respiratory

Also, if your dog has a tendency to bloat, be very careful because
xanthines can make this worse - and a dog already dealing with stress
from a racing heart may not be able to survive moderate bloat at the
same time.

>Given all the cat people on list - should I be worried if my cat has
>a dry warm nose rather than a cold wet one?

If the cat shows no other signs of illness, probably not. Some cats
always have a cool moist nose, others always a warm dry one and some
alterate depending on time of day/season/how long since eating/etc. 
How you tell if the cat has a problems is if the state of the nose is
abnormal for your cat's pattern and if the cat is showing other signs
of illness.

Pam Johnson-Bennet has put out a really good basic cat book call "How
to Think Like a Cat." Besides basic cat behavior problems, she has in
the back a fairly extensive appendix on basics of feline health,
including describing how to check for anemia (mouth color), dehydration
(skin on back pinch test), fever (raised heart rate AND temperature),
and warning signs of FUS/cardiac problems/liver or kidney shutdown
(breath has distinctive foul odor well beyond tuna with garlic chives
breath) with simple basic things you can do at home before calling the
vet to let him/her know how serious the problem may be.

Susan in Seattle