• Winter Holiday Safety:

    By: Kelsey Haney, CVT 12/12/2018

    Keep your holiday season merry and bright by keeping these holiday pet hazards in mind this season!

    Decorations: Tinsel is a fun decoration that can turn any tree into a festive one. But its shine and shimmer can also attract your cat to it, as it mimics many popular cat toys. This shiny string can be fatal if ingested as it can cause severe damage to the intestinal tract if swallowed and left untreated.

    Poinsettias are one of the more popular plants seen during the holidays and are only mildly toxic to both cats and dogs. More dangerous plants are those often found in holiday bouquets, including lilies, holly, and mistletoe. Lilies are the most dangerous of those listed above. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats,” reports Dr. Ahna Brutlag (Pet Poison Helpline). Other plants to watch out for are holly berries and mistletoe, which can be toxic and cause both gastrointestinal and cardiac issues.

    Some imported snow globes have recently been found to contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). This chemical is extremely toxic to dogs, even an amount as little as one teaspoon. Signs of poison exposure include loss of coordination, excessive thirst, and slight to extreme lethargy. Although physical symptoms may improve after 8-12 hours, internal damage is still present. Crystals from the ethylene glycol form in the kidneys, causing acute kidney failure. If your pet ingests this, immediate treatment is vital.

    Food and Alcohol: Fruitcakes are a holiday favorite for many, but watch out for those containing grapes, raisins, and currants as those food items can cause kidney failure. Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, which is highly toxic to both cats and dogs. Small amounts of ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea, however larger amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias. Sugarless gum and candies often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. It causes fatal drops in blood sugar and liver failure. Table scraps that include fatty meat scraps can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis.

    Alcohol quickly affects pets due to its rapid absorption into the bloodstream. It can cause very dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and basal temperature. Once intoxicated, animals may experience seizures and respiratory distress/failure. Alcohol can be found in not only the obvious beverage, but also unbaked dough that contain yeast. Other symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, disorientation, and stomach bloat.

    Source: Pet Poison Helpline, 2018. “Winter Holiday Pet Poison Tips” https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/winter-holiday-pet-poison-tips/
    holiday safety

  • Thanksgiving Pet Safety

    Overindulging is part of the Thanksgiving tradition, but it may be hazardous to our pets. “Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.” (AVMA). Read here to learn more about how to keep your pet safe this holiday season!

  • What is Heartworm Disease?

    Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease found in the United States and many other parts of the world. It most commonly affects dogs, cats, and ferrets but may also infect other wildlife such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, and even sea lions. This disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, is caused by parasites called heartworms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels associated with these organs. Heartworm disease can lead to heart failure, lung disease, and damage to other internal organs.

    Dogs: In the early stages of heartworm disease, many dogs may show few to no symptoms at all. The most common signs noted in dogs include a persistent cough, lethargy and reluctance to exercise, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As the disease progresses, dogs may be diagnosed with heart failure, have a swollen belly from excess fluid in the abdomen, or suffer from caval syndrome- which occurs from a sudden cardiovascular collapse. This is usually diagnosed by the sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, or very dark bloody urine. If caught early, heartworm disease can be treated; if left untreated this disease is almost always fatal.

    Cats: Heartworm disease in cats is very different from that in dogs. Cats are not natural hosts for this disease, and so most heartworms do not survive to the adult stage. Cats infected by heartworm disease will usually only have one to three immature worms, or microfilaria, and no adult heartworms. Because of this, cats that are infected with heartworms often go undiagnosed. However, these immature worms can still cause damage to their feline host- most commonly known as “heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD)”. Most importantly though, medication used to treat heartworm in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means currently available to protect cats against heartworm disease.

    Source: “Heartworm Basics” by American Heartworm Society, Copyright 2018.

  • Winter Pet Safety

    With the hustle and bustle of the winter months, there are many hidden toxin exposures that the holiday season brings about! Please keep your pets safe during the winter and holiday seasons by reviewing these helpful tips here .

  • Fall Pet Safety

    Every season brings potential toxic exposures for our pets, read the list of fall poisons here .

    Please be aware that some pets may be scared during the Halloween festivities. Make sure if you have an anxious pet that they are safely secured within your home during “Trick-or-Treating.” Also, be sure to keep the candy out of reach. Read here for more safety tips and ideas.

    While Thanksgiving is a holiday known for indulging in delicious foods, it is important to remember not to feed our pets table scraps. For more information of Thanksgiving pet safety, click here .