Onions poisonous?

William C. Banta wcbanta at american.edu
Sat Aug 29 15:39:36 EST 1998

Two days ago my mother-in-law's dog, a small spayed female 8-year-old
beagle stopped eating and got very ill. She took her to the vet, who
told us the dog was anemic, transfused the dog with blood and ran a
series of diagnostic tests. I have not seen the test results, and I do
not know what tests were performed. The dog is still very ill, receiving
intravenous food. The vet said he contacted a "specialist," who told him
that the dog was ill from onion poisoning. He said that "any food can be
poisonous" and that onions are well known to be toxic to humans as well
as dogs. The dog is jaundiced, and the vet said that at least part of
the problem is an autoimmune response. The dog was seen eating a little
something under a picnic table in a part the day before she got ill, but
I don't see how she could not have consumed any large quanitity of
onions. The dog is a chow-hound, but I never noted any fondness for
onions. I have been unable to locate a reference to any toxicity from to
dogs or people from onions - let alone life-threatening toxicity, and I
have looked at sources that noted toxicity to the likes of potatos and

I would be most interested to learn your opinions in this matter.
WC Banta, Professor of Biology
American University
Washington DC 20016
202/885-2181 (fax: 2182)
wcbanta at american.edu

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