Fall 2018

A Miracle for Moose

Dialysis helps a puppy survive eating grapes.

By Genevieve Rajewski

Previous Next

Photo: Anna Miller

When Gavin Morrissey of Concord, Massachusetts, saw grape stems on the living room floor, he assumed one of his daughters left the mess. But when the family’s 5-month-old beagle-mix, Moose, vomited grape peels, it became clear he was the actual culprit.

The family rushed the lethargic puppy to their local veterinary emergency department, where they received dire news: Moose’s kidneys were failing. “We were told that he was going to die if we didn’t do something for him soon,” Morrissey said. “We were devastated.”

There was one ray of hope: The ER veterinarian told the Morrisseys to rush Moose to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in North Grafton, Massachusetts, the only place in the state that offers hemodialysis for pets. Dialysis is most often used there to help animals with kidney damage from a severe infection or from accidentally ingesting a poison such as antifreeze, explained Karah Burns, the internal-medicine resident at the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals who treated Moose. By filtering toxins and excess fluid from the blood, a dialysis machine “acts as an artificial kidney,” Burns said. “This buys time and gives the kidneys a chance to try and recover.”

Moose arrived at Tufts so ill that he was unable to urinate, his face and limbs swollen. But after two rounds of dialysis, the puppy’s kidney function returned to normal. “The turnaround was unbelievable—we call him ‘The Miraculous Moose,’” Morrissey said. “If you have a dog, keep the grapes out of reach.”

Top Stories

Have Rescue Dogs, Will Travel

It has become common for families in the Northeast to adopt pets trucked in from other parts of the United States. But is that good for dogs—and for communities on both sides of the adoption line?

Children Mourning Pets

A veterinary social worker discusses healthy ways that kids--and their parents--can grieve.

How Cats Think

A veterinary behaviorist and alum explains why cats are so different than dogs—and if that means they love us any less.

Editor's Picks

Better, Together

How Cheryl London, V90, and clinicians at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center are breaking down silos in cancer research to speed new cures for pets and people.

On the Front Lines of Cancer Care

Go behind the scenes at our small-animal hospital to meet the clinicians, clients, and pets helping advance how we treat the disease.

Do What You Can

A visit to an animal sanctuary in India revealed a lesson I brought home to my practice and my life.