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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20611
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My golden retriever ate organic fertilizer containing bacillus

Customer Question

My golden retriever ate organic fertilizer containing bacillus licheniformis, bacillus megaterium, and bacillus pumilus. She's been vomiting quite a lot.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How much did she eat?
How long ago?

Can she keep water down?

Are her gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, does she have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Did the product have any heavy metals (zinc, iron, lead,etc) or cocoa hulls in it?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She ate a small amount from an 8 lb. bag...not more than a half cup. She vomits when drinking water.Her gums are fine, pink moist and not sticky. Has magnesium as well as potash, 2% sulfur as well as slow release nitrogen.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

Now fertilizer ingestion is quite common in dogs since they are often made ingredients that dogs find quite palatable The problem with this type of ingestion is that it can cause a few different issues.

First, I am glad to see that there are no worrisome heavy metals nor chocolate by-products. Those are too common ingredient groups that can make this type of ingestion even more dangerous. As well, its good news to hear that she didn't eat a large volume, since this material in large doses can actually act as a intestinal blockage. And as this was organic, we can at least be less worried about pesticide contents and I would note that the bacterial supplements in this product are not a worry.

Those worries aside, we do still have some concern here. The reason is because the fertilizer itself isn't dog friendly. Due to its high nitrogen content, we often see GI upset as you are seeing. Further to that high doses can also trigger neurological signs (since high nitrogen can sometimes cause issues for the liver and we can see seizures). Those would more sinister signs would be less or a worry with her small ingestion, but something to monitor for if she is older or has any known liver issues.

Now with all of that in mind, we need to tread with care. We can see if we can settle her nausea with supportive care at home but need to closely monitor while doing so. As well, while I am not overly worried about blockages in her case, I would just advise keeping an eye out for any signs of anorexia, straining to pass feces, vomiting blood, belly pain or tenseness, or if just cannot keep even water down. Any of those signs, and we'd want her to see your vet immediately.

In regards ***** ***** care at this stage, if she is actively vomiting, then she will need her stomach rested for a few hours. Food should be withheld but water can be offered as small sips or ice cubes (since over drinking can also trigger vomiting). Once she is more settled, you can try her with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose Here ), Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here), or Zantac (More Info/Dose Here). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if she does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease her upset gut signs.

Once that is on board and if she is settling, then you can offer a small meal of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples would be rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). Whichever you choose, offer a small amount (1 tbsp) to start. If she can keep this down, a bit more can be offered about thirty minutes later. If no vomiting is seen, then you can increase the volume you are feeding. I usually advise that the diet be continued until the vomiting is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.

Even if she is still drinking, I would still advise double checking her hydration since fertilizer can pull water into the stomach and cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. When checking a hydration status, there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If she is showing those dehydration signs at this point or any weakness; that that would be an indication that we may need to get her onto IV fluids at her vets to keep her hydrated and help her as she passes this fertilizer.

Overall, the bacterial ingredients are not the major worry here. We can certainly help restore a normal GI bacterial population for her using dog specific pre/probiotics. (ie Fortiflora (More Info) or Pro-Kolin Enterogenic (More Info)). The major concern is the fertilizer itself as a toxin. So, in this case, we'd want' to use the above supportive care to settle her stomach while monitor her. If you do so but she is too nauseous to keep down our oral treatments, then she may need to see your local vet. They can bypass her mouth and use injectable anti-vomiting medication to settle her stomach. As well, if there are concerns about dehydration or the severity of her nausea, then IV fluids +/- bloods (to check her liver) would be ideal here to pinpoint the extent of her risk and support her through this.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I gave her a half pill of Imodium multi-symptom relief (not AD). She seems settled. Her normal eating tome is in 3 hours, shall I start with the chicken and rice then...or wait?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

I am glad to hear that she is more settled, but must advise you to be careful with Immodium. It is a GI slowing drug (not one to settle nausea) and has a narrow spectrum of safety such that it is easily overdosed. So, do be careful with its use. And if she is due to have food in 3 hours, then I would just advise the light diet at that usual time.

Please take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your advice!

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome.
All the best to you both,
Dr. B