Have a non-emergency question about your pet's health? Dr. Heather Oxford of L.A. veterinary
hospital California Animal Rehabilitation
(CARE) is here to help! In this installment of Ask a Vet, Dr. Oxford tackles canine nutrition -- and a commonly found food that can be harmful to your pets.
Heather Oxford, DVM: The toxic principle in avocados is called persin, a fatty acid derivative that is highly toxic to birds, horses, guinea pigs, goats and rabbits, among others.
Dogs seem to be less susceptible to the toxic effects; nonetheless, excessive amounts can cause fatal problems with the heart as well as gastrointestinal effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. Persin is located in highest concentrations in the leaves and is likely in the skin in lower concentrations.
Dog foods that utilize avocados for their nutritional value use avocado meal, which is the green fruit between the pit and skin, and avocado oil. Neither of these parts used in dog foods are toxic.
To submit your question for Dr. Oxford, just leave a comment on this post and look for her answer in an upcoming installment of Ask a Vet!