Category: Toxic

Let’s Talk Turkey!

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. The days following Thanksgiving are always busy at the Clinic and our cages are always full of pets that overdid it! Pets (and their owners!) won’t be so thankful when they get an upset tummy and have to visit the vet!

pet-care_thanksgiving-safety-tips_main-image

Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:

Keep the feast on the table—not under it: Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones are brittle and can be problematic for the digestive tract.

No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. Many ingredients such as chocolate and raisins are toxic to pets.

A Feast Fit for a King: If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones or a special can of food. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of pet friendly foods such as vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans)—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Some other Holiday Tips:

Put the trash away!   A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash.

Be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control) but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.

Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

And remember-  If you have an emergency with your pet on Thanksgiving, please contact one of the Animal Emergency Clinics:  Calder Rd: 281-332-1678 or Edgebrook: 713-941-8460.

 

Advertisements

Holiday Hazards

The holidays are a joyous occasion, and often people include pets in festivities. Unfortunately, the holidays can often create hazardous situations for pets and the number pet poison cases increases this time of year. To keep your pet safe, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Toxicology Section Head Tam Garland, DVM, PhD, suggests keeping an eye on the following:Santa Dog

 Lethal food combinations: Maintaining a pet on their normal food is always a good idea. Some foods, such as chocolate, may be poisonous to the pet. Feeding scraps may encourage inappropriate behavior such as begging. Changes in diet, such as table scraps can cause diarrhea or vomiting and thus make a holiday celebration less pleasant for all concerned.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to pets; vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems and death can occur if ingested. If your pet should get into chocolates, please call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell them what your pet weighs, and how much of what type of chocolate the pet ingested.

Baking chocolates and dark chocolates are more dangerous than white chocolate. Some pets can ingest a small amount of chocolate and be fine, other pets may develop vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, hyperactivity, bloat and possibly death. Chocolates of any kind should not be given to pets. This includes things like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered peppermint patties, and other holiday foods and treats.

Caffeine is found in many soft drinks and special holiday drinks, such as sweetened chocolate or coffee. These should not be given to pets.

Fruit Cakes may contain rum or other alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is very dangerous to pets, causing a drop in body temperature, blood sugar and blood pressure. Rising bread dough can cause obstruction if ingested. The yeast can also result in alcohol poisoning in pets. Please keep bread dough, fruit cakes, rum raisin cookies and holiday treats of this sort well out of reach of pets. Reminding guests to refrain from sharing human food with your pets is always acceptable.

Food products used in ornaments: Homemade ornaments, especially those made of play dough-type material or other salt-based products or food, can be extremely toxic to pets. The salt or play dough ornaments appeal to pets as a tasty treat because of the salt. However, an ingestion of a salt-based ornament can cause an animal’s death. Animals ingesting these types of ornaments need to be treated by a veterinarian for salt poisoning.

Pets do not often take a bite out of glass ornaments but it has been known to occur. Pets can step on and break glass ornaments as well. Cuts to the mouth or pads of the foot may be painful and need a veterinarian’s attention to remove the glass and close the wound depending upon the severity of the cut.

Holiday Hazards: Candles should not be placed where a pet could knock them over. Remember, cats often jump up and knock items off of a shelf or mantle, especially if it is in a location they are accustomed to occupying. A dancing flame can be interesting to felines who have been known to swipe at the flame. Burns may occur but fires may be a bigger danger in the home.

Plants: Poinsettia plants and Christmas cactus are often considered the must-havekitten Christmas plants of the season and can cause adverse reactions in pets. Animals that ingest these plants may experience gastric distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Generally this is self-limiting. The pet will often overcome this irritation within 24-48 hours. Provide small amounts of water but offer no food until the vomiting has stopped; this may help settle the stomach. It is always wise to consult your veterinarian anytime your pet has an upset stomach.

Tinsel decorating a Christmas tree or wreath is shiny, lightweight and moves very easily, enticing playful cats. Ingested tinsel can lodge or anchor in the stomach, inhibiting passage through the intestines. It can also wrap around the base of the tongue and cause serious injury and impede the ability to eat or drink. Tinsel can actually cut tissue as the intestines contract. Yarn can behave in a similar fashion. Both tinsel and yarn represent special hazards to felines.

Holiday Perfumes: Holidays are often filled with guests and the desire to perfume the home. Liquid potpourris may be the choice for the perfume but can contain essential oils and cationic detergents which if consumed can cause chemical burns to the mouth, difficulty breathing, tremors and fever. Dogs may be affected but are not quite as sensitive to these chemicals as cats. Potpourris, whether liquid or dry, should be kept well out of the reach of pets.

Watch for any signs of distress or changes in your pet’s behavior during this holiday season. An owner’s awareness of possibly harmful decorations and foods is the most effective way to reduce pet toxicity over the holiday. Following these simple guidelines will help make the holidays fun and safe for you and your pet(s)!

 

Toxic Plants & Fungi

-By Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

There are many toxic plants that can be found in your yard and around your house. Many factors can affect how much of the toxin is ingested, including: part of the plant, condition of the plant, stage of growth the plant is in, time of year, species of plant, age/size/species/condition of the animal ingesting the plant, and amount of plant ingested. These are just some of the most common and deadly plants we see affecting our patients.

Amanita / Agaric Mushrooms
Amanita / Agaric Mushrooms

Often found in Fall, mushrooms have over 100 toxic species, but the most toxic are the pretty red ones, known as Agaric mushrooms and Amanita mushrooms. Toxic ingestion symptoms include: diarrhea, vomiting, and a faster heart beat. If an animal eats these, it should be considered an emergency and your veterinarian should be contacted immediately to induce vomiting. Permanent liver and kidney damage can occur.

Cannabis Plant
Cannabis Plant

Symptoms of Cannabis/Marijuana ingestion can be: lethargy, droopy eyes, disorientation,  acute incontinence, seizures, and hyper-excitement. Recovery after treatment is usually within 24 hours; however the more potent the strain, the more potent the symptoms.

Daffodil
Daffodil

Daffodils, seen commonly in flower beds, have toxic bulbs if eaten, and can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) Plant
Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) Plant

Dieffenbachia/Dumb Cane is a common household plant. They can cause a severe oral irritation, causing salivation and swelling of the tongue. Pets that consume this plant often need pain medication and steroids to help them through their recovery. Philodendron/Elephant Ears, also a common household plant,  exhibit the same symptoms.

Grapes
Grapes

Grapes/Raisins are one of the few toxins that are not dose specific.  They have an unknown nephrotoxin that can cause anorexia, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and acute renal failure. Symptoms can last several days and often need hospitalization with induced vomiting and IV fluid therapy for a full recovery.

Japanese Yew
Japanese Yew

Japenese Yew is a beautiful shrub found in many yards. It is extremely toxic dry or fresh. If ingested, this is considered an emergency and veterinary medical attention should be sought immediately. This is a cardiac depressant, so many pets will go into cardiac arrest after ingesting it. If the pet is able to be stabilized, then medications to induce vomiting and then coat and soothe the stomach are usually given, as well as hospitalization with IV fluids.

Lantana
Lantana

Lantana is a flowering bush that is common in yards. It comes in many colors; however the purple is less toxic than the red or yellow. If consumed, it causes gastrointestinal upset for about 3-4 days, usually manifesting symptoms of bloody diarrhea. Veterinary care usually includes medication to soothe the gut and antibiotics.

Lily
Lily

A familiar scene around the house at Easter is the Lily. It is a nephrotoxin and especially toxic to cats, especially the flowers and leaves. A cat only needs to ingest 1-2 leaves for toxicity to occur. Early signs of ingestion include salivation. Late signs include renal failure. Hospitalization with your veterinarian is recommended for induced vomiting and IV fluids if immediately after consumption. If caught late, then long-term renal management is sometimes an option.

Oak Tree
Oak Tree

Oak Trees, including the leaves and acorns, are toxic and habit forming. The pet will need to eat 40% of their diet to exhibit symptoms usually. Symptoms usually present with constipation and then progress into diarrhea, and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Renal disease can also occur. Maintaining hydration is very important, so supportive veterinary care is encouraged.

Oleander
Oleander

Oleander is a beautiful flowering bush that is not only toxic to humans, but also toxic to pets, especially dogs.  Dogs only need to ingest 1-3 leaves for toxicity to occur. It is cardiotoxic, but can also cause gastrointestinal signs including vomiting and diarrhea. If the pet is able to be stabilized, then medications to induce vomiting and then coat and soothe the stomach are usually given, as well as hospitalization with IV fluids.

Sago Palm
Sago Palm

One of the most common toxins we see at TLC is Sago Palm (Cycas species) toxicity. It is a smaller palm plant that sits lower to the ground and is often used in landscaping. All parts of the plant are toxic. Although, the leaves and seeds are the worst. Symptoms usually present within 12 hours of ingestion. It is a hepatotoxin. Vomiting and diarrhea are often present. Other signs include: neurological degeneration, weakness, and progressive rear limb paralysis. Immediate veterinary care is recommended for induced vomiting and IV fluid;  long term care is expected.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to a toxic plant, please contact your veterinarian. The earlier we can act, the greater the chances of a full recovery.