In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, we review tremorgenic mycotoxin toxicosis in a dog. In this video, a 10-year-old, male neutered, Shepherd mixed breed dog presented for evaluation of twitching, weakness and incoordination that started 2 hours prior to presentation. Previously, the dog was healthy. After further history, the dog may have ingested compost earlier in the evening, just prior to onset.
On physical exam, the dog was unsteady and would fall to either side. Initial diagnostics included blood work (which was normal) and abdominal radiographs, which revealed a moderately full stomach. During initial workup, the dog became more symptomatic, and was hypersalivating, tremoring, and more ataxic. Treatment included intravenous methocarbamol to effect (approximately 50 mg/kg), followed by diazepam (for anxiety) and maropitant (to prevent vomition and secondary aspiration pneumonia). Due to the potential for continued absorption of the tremorgenic mycotoxins from the stomach, orogastric lavage was performed under anesthesia to further decontaminate the patient. The patient was intubated and lavaged, and a moderate amount of grass, dirt, and yard debris (e.g., compost material) was removed. After the stomach was evacuated, activated charcoal with sorbitol was administered directly through the orogastric tube. The patient recovered uneventfully. While the patient continued to have symptoms for approximately 24 hours (requiring several additional doses of methocarbamol), the patient did well and was discharged. When in doubt, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for life-saving advice!