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Suspected caffeine and ephedrine toxicosis resulting from ingestion of an herbal supplement containing guarana and ma huang in dogs: 47 cases (1997–1999)

Tara G. Ooms BS1, Safdar A. Khan Dr. DVM, PhD, DABVT2, and Charlotte Means DVM, MLIS3
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  • 1 College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801.
  • | 2 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals National Animal Poison Control Center, 1717 Philo Rd, Suite 36, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 3 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals National Animal Poison Control Center, 1717 Philo Rd, Suite 36, Urbana, IL 61802.

Abstract

Objective—To describe the clinical signs following ingestion of an herbal supplement containing guarana and ma huang in dogs, estimate minimum dose at which clinical signs of toxicosis and death were reported, and evaluate treatment options.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—47 dogs with evidence of ingestion of an herbal supplement containing primarily guarana and ma huang.

Procedure—Records of dogs that had ingested an herbal supplement containing ma huang and guarana between July 1997 and October 1999 were retrieved from the National Animal Poison Control Center database. Data were retrieved and reviewed regarding signalment, dose ingested, clinical signs, laboratory test results, treatment, and final outcome. Cases were assessed by staff veterinarians as toxicosis or suspected toxicosis on the basis of strength of evidence supporting a diagnosis.

Results—Most dogs (80%) developed clinical signs of toxicosis within 8 hours of ingestion, and clinical signs persisted for up to 48 hours. Hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and behavior changes were reported in 83% of dogs; other signs included vomiting (47%), tachycardia (30%), and hyperthermia (28%). Seventeen percent of the dogs died or were euthanatized. Estimated doses of guarana and ma huang ranged from 4.4 to 296.2 mg/kg (1.98 to 133.2 mg/lb) and 1.3 to 88.9 mg/kg (0.58 to 40.0 mg/ lb) of body weight, respectively; minimum dose at which death was reported was 19.1 mg of guarana/kg (8.7 mg/lb) and 5.8 mg of ma huang/kg (2.6 mg/lb).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Accidental ingestion of herbal supplements containing primarily guarana and ma huang in dogs can lead to a potentially lethal condition that may require prompt detoxification and supportive treatment for several days. Most dogs recovered with supportive treatment. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:225–229)

Abstract

Objective—To describe the clinical signs following ingestion of an herbal supplement containing guarana and ma huang in dogs, estimate minimum dose at which clinical signs of toxicosis and death were reported, and evaluate treatment options.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—47 dogs with evidence of ingestion of an herbal supplement containing primarily guarana and ma huang.

Procedure—Records of dogs that had ingested an herbal supplement containing ma huang and guarana between July 1997 and October 1999 were retrieved from the National Animal Poison Control Center database. Data were retrieved and reviewed regarding signalment, dose ingested, clinical signs, laboratory test results, treatment, and final outcome. Cases were assessed by staff veterinarians as toxicosis or suspected toxicosis on the basis of strength of evidence supporting a diagnosis.

Results—Most dogs (80%) developed clinical signs of toxicosis within 8 hours of ingestion, and clinical signs persisted for up to 48 hours. Hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and behavior changes were reported in 83% of dogs; other signs included vomiting (47%), tachycardia (30%), and hyperthermia (28%). Seventeen percent of the dogs died or were euthanatized. Estimated doses of guarana and ma huang ranged from 4.4 to 296.2 mg/kg (1.98 to 133.2 mg/lb) and 1.3 to 88.9 mg/kg (0.58 to 40.0 mg/ lb) of body weight, respectively; minimum dose at which death was reported was 19.1 mg of guarana/kg (8.7 mg/lb) and 5.8 mg of ma huang/kg (2.6 mg/lb).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Accidental ingestion of herbal supplements containing primarily guarana and ma huang in dogs can lead to a potentially lethal condition that may require prompt detoxification and supportive treatment for several days. Most dogs recovered with supportive treatment. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:225–229)