Friday, January 29, 2010

Asking the Internet for advice? Am I nuts?

Last night I was, not surprisingly, watching TV and snacking. Upon dropping a pistachio nut on the floor, Winnie very helpfully got up and ate it, shell and all. Not alarming, certainly. Doubtful it would appear in a list of the top 30 concerning things our dogs have eaten. But I thought I had remembered hearing something about nuts being toxic and since I had my laptop on my laptop, I did a quick Google: "my dog ate a pistachio."

While some of the search results were responses to inquiries by people whose dogs ate large amounts of pistachios, it's comical to me how directly contradicting the results are. Below is a sampling of the opinions found on just the first two pages of search results:

“Pistachios contain high amounts of phosphorus which can cause bladder stones in dogs.”

“He should be fine.”

“extremely poisonous.”

“Dogs can just about eat anything.”

“my dog ate one and almost died.”

“Pistachio nuts naturally contain aflatoxin, a fungal Aspergillus strain.”

“they contain an unknown kind of toxin.”

“causes liver degeneration/failure/cancer and possibly liver necrosis.”

“my dog eats them, and she is fine.”

“Call a vet.”

“he will be just fine.”

“They have been known to cause symptoms as severe as seizuring and hind end paralysis.”

“Pistachio nuts have never been shown to cause neurologic signs.”

“I would get him to your vet ASAP.”

“Pistachio nuts are not toxic to dogs.”

“Pistachios can be highly toxic to dogs.”

And FINALLY, one voice of reason slipped through the web of opinions:

“Call the animal poison control instead of asking strangers on the internet. Their phone number is 1-888-426-4435.”

Well by this time both Winnie and I had lost interest in the exercise. She is of course fine, no signs of paralysis or liver necrosis. But that is a good phone number to have on hand.


nell said...

Great info. Ed. A number we should all have on hand. Glad Winnie is OK. ~nell

Laila said...

I'm glad Winnie is ok. My best V-friend Riley ate a whole bowl of pistachios at a holiday party last year and was paralyzed from the waist down for almost 24 hours. Luckily, he is fine now and runs circles around me at the park.


Ed. said...

HOLY CRAP!!!! That's terrifying!

Jena said...

My Doberman ate half a can of Macadamia nuts and was paralyzed for close to 24 hours, then recovered uneventfully. Pretty scary, though. It's good to have a list of common household foods and chemicals that can be toxic, and poison control is definitely the resource to use if in doubt. The internet comments were pretty damn funny!