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Keywords:

  • Decontamination;
  • Hyperlactatemia;
  • Hyperosmolality;
  • Osmolal gap;
  • Toxicity

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of an activated charcoal (AC) suspension containing propylene glycol and glycerol on serum osmolality, osmolal gap, and lactate concentration in dogs. Six healthy adult dogs were administered 4 g/kg AC in a commercially available suspension that contained propylene glycol and glycerol as vehicles. Blood samples were taken before and 1, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 24 hours after the administration of the test suspension. Samples were analyzed for osmolality, blood gases, and concentrations of lactate, sodium, potassium, serum urea nitrogen, and glucose. Osmolal gaps were calculated for each time point. Mean serum osmolality, osmolal gap, and lactate concentration were significantly increased after suspension administration compared to baseline. Serum osmolality increased from 311 mOsm/kg at baseline to 353 mOsm/kg, osmolal gap increased from 5 to 52 mOsm/kg, and lactate concentration increased from 1.9 to 4.5 mmol/L after suspension administration (all P < .01). Three of the 6 dogs vomited between 1 and 3 hours after the administration of the test suspension, and 4 of 6 dogs were lethargic. All dogs drank frequently after AC administration. Commercial AC suspension administered at a clinically relevant dose increases serum osmolality, osmolal gap, and lactate concentration in dogs. These laboratory measures and the clinical signs of vomiting, lethargy, and increased frequency of drinking might complicate the diagnosis or monitoring of some intoxications (such as ethylene glycol) in dogs that have previously received AC suspension containing propylene glycol, glycerol, or both as vehicles.