Kira Ate Hot Chocolate Powder! Emergency of the Week

Kira Ate Hot Chocolate Powder! Emergency of the Week

Kira Ate Hot Chocolate Powder! Emergency of the Week

Sweet Kira arrived at Mountainside after ingesting approximately 150 grams of hot chocolate mix that contained cocoa powder and cocoa butter earlier that day. Although she did not have symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea upon presentation, she did appear slightly bloated and was a little hyper. She was tachycardic (increased heart rate) as well.

Chocolate ingestion, particularly of cocoa powder can result in significant illness due to a chemical called theobromine. Its effects are similar to caffeine, however, animals are unable to metabolize these chemicals effectively and as a result, the effects are much more pertinent.


The amount of theobromine is variable based on the type the chocolate. The darker and more bitter, the more dangerous. Hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder can be very dangerous as well as it is usually less processed.

Common clinical signs following a chocolate ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, panting, restlessness, and increased heart rate. In more severe cases, symptoms can also include seizures, muscle tremors, or potentially death.

Induced vomiting was recommended as a first step towards decontamination along with activated charcoal to help reduce the level of absorption within the gastrointestinal tract. It was also recommended that Kira be hospitalized for intravenous fluid therapy and supportive care that included anti-nauseants and GI protectants, as well as baseline bloodwork.

Kira’s owners admitted her for all recommended treatment. Over the course of the day, her heart rate returned to a normal rate after induced vomiting, activated charcoal administration, and fluid therapy.Her appetite remained hearty throughout her stay, and her continued improvement allowed her to be discharged the morning after she was admitted. Her owners report she is doing great since. She is back to her happy mischievous self as if nothing ever happened.


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