Drunk and Disorderly: Ethanol and Yeast Dough Intoxications
Alcoholic drinks and yeast dough both have the potential to cause toxicity in pets, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center notes that pets seem to find both quite palatable.
Even though signs you’ll see from theethanol are the same for both exposures, there can be some differencesin the onset of clinical signs as well as some additional concerns.
Many dogs (and some cats) will happily lap up a cocktail that is left on the table. Parties are a very common time for pets to get into alcohol as drinks are often left unattended.The onset of action with alcoholic beverages is typically fast (within 30 minutes, potentially faster with higher dosages).
The opportunity for emesis with alcohol is often very short and is not recommended in symptomatic pets.
Rising yeast dough (such as bread, roll, and pizza dough) is often seen as a tasty snack by pets. Theyeast ferments the carbohydrates in the dough, producing carbon dioxide and ethanol.Unfortunately, this process continues in the warm, damp environment of a dog or cat’s stomach as well.
Treatment for Dough Ingestion
There are a couple of special considerations for bread dough that you won’t see when pets get into alcoholic drinks. The amount of dough ingested can be an issue. You can potentially see food bloat or even GDV, especially considering that the stomach can be distended with carbon dioxide.
With bread dough, you may see excellent emesis results (often the 1 pound dough will come up in a single lump, (though there are some cases with little to no recovery of the dough with emesis). When good emesis results are obtained, there will be a much faster resolution of clinical signs.
The onset of clinical signs is much more variable with yeast dough than alcoholic drinks – it can potentially take hours to see signs of intoxication.
Results of Ethanol Ingestion
Ethanol intoxication from either dough or drinks can cause ataxia, depression, recumbency, hypothermia, disorientation, vocalization, acidosis, tachycardia, dyspnea, aspiration pneumonia, tremors, coma and seizures.
Treatment is largely supportive and symptomatic. Aspiration is common, so antiemetics are indicated. Airway protection may also be indicated in some cases. Monitor acid base status and correct acidosis, fluid therapy for support, monitor for hypoglycemia and supplement dextrose as needed. Diazepam can be given for seizures – and some comatose pets will need ventilatory support.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) provides toxicology educational programs, consulting services, review of case data as an alternative to traditional animal research and a 24-hour veterinary diagnostic and treatment hotline at (888) 426-4435.