Macadamia Nut Toxicity in Dogs and Cats
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Toxin
Unknown

Source
Macadamia Nuts

General Information
Macadamia nuts are the fruit of the trees of Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla. These trees are indigenous to Madagascar and Australia. They were introduced into Hawaii and California about 100 years ago. Symptoms usually start within 3-12 hours of ingesting the nuts, and tend to resolve over 24 hours.

Toxic Dose
10 grams per pound of body weight.

Signs
Lethargy, vomiting, and hyperthermia are initial symptoms with progression to ataxia or hind-limb paresis. Also seen are tremors, abdominal pain, lameness, joint stiffness, and pale mucous membranes.

Immediate Action
Induce vomiting if ingestion was within the past hour. Seek veterinary attention.

Veterinary Care
General treatment: The induction of vomiting may be continued, gastric lavage is performed, and activated charcoal administered, especially if the macadamia nuts were covered with chocolate. If large amounts were eaten, enemas may also be recommended.

Supportive treatment:In severe cases, IV fluids are administered to prevent dehydration. The animal will be monitored and treated for hyperthermia, and the pet will be protected from injury during the ataxia/paresis.

Specific treatment: Unavailable.

Prognosis
Good.

 
References and Further Reading

Hansen, SR. Macadamia nut toxicosis in dogs. Veterinary Medicine 2002;97(4):274-276.

Hansen, SR; Buck, WB; Meerdink, G; Khan, SA. Weakness, tremors, and depression associated with macadamia nuts in dogs. Vet Hum Toxicol 2000;42(1):18-21.

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