Break the Chain A Dog's Life

Created 5/24/2002 (1/9/2003) First-person accounts of tragedies or near-tragedies are often the vehicle of choice for e-mailed health warnings. It seems that the same is true with good old Fido as well.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

The following message is forwarded with permission from the writer, Diane Bassett.

"Diane Bassett" wrote:

Dear friends,

The ASPCA-run Animal Poison Control Center is working hard to get the word out to people that raisins and grapes are both considered toxic to dogs now. This is a relatively recent revelation, one that is painfully close to my heart since I personally had a healthy, young 70-lb male Irish setter die of complete kidney failure within 24 hours of eating raisins (he ate a 14 oz box he snuck out of my grocery bag).

I just got off the phone with them, providing them what data I could for their database and they were very grateful and were wonderful to work with. They asked me to do two things, which I ask your help with as well:

1. Tell everyone in our classes about this!! Many of us have used grapes as treats for our dogs. This is now known to be dangerous.

2. Encourage anyone who is quite sure they've had a death caused by this to contact the center and provide the details. They've even had some owners who contacted them very shortly after the death allow the center to get tissue samples for study. The number to call is the same as the poison hotline-- 888-4-ANIHELP (yes there's an extra digit there but never mind-- this will help you remember the number). They do charge for immediate crisis poison counseling, but do NOT charge people (of course) who call to provide information about a case, and they are grateful for the data.

Please, bring this up with your classes. The control center is in the early stages of studying this and doesn't know WHY it happens, if it's specific to a certain amount of the food, if some breeds are more susceptible than others, etc. Kidney failure is the common result, and they have had the opportunity to study the specific kind and areas of renal failure in some of the victims.

Meanwhile, it's easily preventible, so let's prevent it.

Thanks for spreading the word.

Diane Bassett
Dog Training With Diane

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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Diane Bassett told BreakTheChain.org that she did write the notice above and that the events described are true. The letter was initially distributed via her dog training network and was intended to educate as many people as possible of a danger that is not yet well known.

A spokesperson for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center adds further credence to the claim:

"We have recently had a number of cases reported to us where kidney failure occurred after dogs ingested large quantities of grapes or raisins. We are investigating all reported cases in hopes of finding out more about this unexpected toxicity. Any new information provided to us is valuable. We issued a statement on our web site in January. As new information becomes available, we will post it there as well.

"ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
1-888-426-4435"

Though the story is designed to illustrate the importance of the issue, it has raised a lot of doubt about the validity of the warning because of its resemblance to the common Urban Legend formula. In addition, Bassett's original letter has changed since she wrote it. In some versions, her attribution and contact information has been dropped or changed. In other versions, further comments and personal stories of unverifiable validity have been added. If you want to spread word of this cause, send friends directly to the ASPCA site. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: Real, But...
References: ASPCA Statement

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