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All Posts Tagged: Common Pet Dangers

PODCAST: Ticks … Suck!

The down-and-dirty about ticks! Since the weather has warmed up this spring, you’ve probably noticed more and more of these awful little critters. You might find them attached to your pet, on your clothes or even attached to your skin. Give our podcast a listen, and learn a little more about the diseases ticks carry — and how to prevent them.

© 2011 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.

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PODCAST: Common Household Pet Toxins

Our first podcast — and many more to come! This first podcast focuses on common household pet toxins — we’ll identify these toxins and briefly discuss treatments and outcomes. There are some tasty treats that you might never suspect are toxic to your pets.

© 2011 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.

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Winter Hazards for your Pet

Now that the holidays are upon us, I thought it would be a good time to remind pet owners of the many common household items that can be hazards to pets during the winter season. I’ll start with a list of common food items that can present serious problems for pets. Many of these items have their very own blog entries, so please search our blog after you read this post if you’d like more detail. I am constantly surprised by how many people aren’t aware that these foods are potentially toxic to pets, so I don’t think we can list them too often.

Foods
Yeast bread dough: converts to alcohol, causes bloating
Moldy foods: contain toxins that can cause tremors
Macadamia nuts: can lead to weakness, depression, vomiting
Chocolate: GI and cardiac signs, can make pets hyper excitable
Onions, garlic, leeks, onion powder: can lead to anemia
Xylitol (contained in sugarless gum): causes low blood sugar, liver toxicity and blood clotting disorders
Grapes/raisins: can lead to kidney failure. For some dogs, it only takes a few.
Fatty foods: can cause pancreatitis

Plants
The following plants are toxic to pets:
Lilies: can cause kidney failure in cats
Holly: can cause gastrointestinal problems, lethargy
Mistletoe: can cause gastrointestinal problems and is a cardiotoxin
Poinsettia: can cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal problems and is a mild toxin

Holiday-related items
Since many of the items below only come out seasonally, they can be a novelty — especially for those curious cats or puppies. Take care to pet-proof your holiday decorations!
Christmas tree water: can be laden with bacteria and/or pesticides; causes gastrointestinal signs
Ribbons/tinsel: cats especially love these, and they can cause linear foreign bodies requiring surgery
Liquid potpourri: can cause severe oral, ocular and dermal damage
Electric cords: can lead to electrocution, fluid in lungs

Other toxic items
Antifreeze: Extremely toxic to animals!! Lethargy, “drunk” behavior, kidney failure
Ice melt: irritating to skin, paws and mouth

Please keep your pets safe this holiday season. If you think your pet has ingested any of the above, please seek veterinary attention immediately. Many of these toxins can be mitigated with early veterinary intervention.

Dr. Elvira Hoskins

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Common Kitchen Items that are Toxic to Your Pets!

We just had a client come in to Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital the other night with a common case of toxicity involving a seemingly harmless snack. The owner had been feeding her dog grapes when her friend (thankfully) walked in and informed her that grapes are, in fact, toxic to dogs. We also recently had a dog come in after getting into her owner’s chewing gum stash. Both dogs had to be hospitalized, but happily both are doing just fine now. In both instances the owners asked, “Why didn’t I know that this was toxic to dogs?” The reality is that quite a number of commonly used household items and foods are dangerous if ingested by your pets. So in the interest of public awareness, here’s a list of potentially dangerous items that you may have in your own home. Some of these you might already be aware of — but some will probably surprise you.

Grapes/raisins/currants
These toxins are relatively new toxin discoveries in the veterinary literature. They can cause kidney damage and failure, although the mechanism by which the damage occurs is still unknown at this point. They affect all dogs differently, so the lowest dose for toxicity has not yet been worked out. It’s best not to give your dogs or cats any of these!

Yeast dough
Yeast dough can cause problems for your pet in two different ways. The stomach provides a warm environment for yeast to rise, and this kind of expansion in the stomach can cause a lot of discomfort. In extreme cases, the intestines can rupture. The other harmful effect of yeast is that as it ferments, it produces alcohol, which can actually cause alcohol poisoning — just as liquor would in your pet.

Onions/garlic/chives
These toxins can cause gastrointestinal upset if eaten in small amounts. Larger amounts can cause damage to red blood cells, causing them to rupture and resulting in anemia, which can in some cases be severe.

Xylitol
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is becoming more and more prevalent in the kitchen. Xylitol is often found in chewing gum and toothpaste and is now also showing up in some baked goods. Its toxicity is unknown in cats, but in dogs it causes low blood sugar in small doses, and liver failure in larger doses.

Macadamia nuts
Signs of macadamia nut toxicity include weakness, depression, tremors, abdominal pain and an elevated temperature. The exact mechanism of toxicity is not fully understood.

Chocolate/coffee
Many people are aware that chocolate and coffee are toxic to pets. Patients with this kind of toxicity present with a really elevated heart rate and can, in severe cases, suffer a heart attack. While many people would not feed their pets coffee, we have had pets come in to Greenbrier with coffee toxicity from getting into coffee grounds in the household compost pile. And when it comes to chocolate, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

All of the above can cause signs ranging from mild irritation and toxicity to more severe symptoms. It’s very important, if you suspect that your pet has gotten into any of the above, that you seek advice from your veterinarian or animal hospital to determine the optimal next steps for your pet. Many times, your vet will recommend that your dog be made to vomit and/or receive supportive care and further decontamination in a veterinary hospital. But the best treatment is prevention! Spread the word!

© 2010 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.

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Sock Snacks Can Be Dangerous for Your Dog!

They say things come in threes, and for me lately it’s been dogs who eat socks. In one month, I have had three such cases. While it might seem rather harmless for a dog to eat a sock, it can actually cause serious problems if the sock passes from the stomach into the small intestines. One of my patients came into the clinic in shock from vomiting. He was in terrible shape when he arrived, so we gave him shock doses of fluids and took a radiograph, which showed that he had an obstruction in his small intestines. We prepped for surgery, and as we were moving him in, he postured for a bowel movement and pooped a sock out! We were all so happy, but imagine how happy the owner was to get the phone call that we did not have to go into surgery!

My second case was not so lucky and had to have a red knee-high sock surgically removed — but he recovered well.

The third case was a bit more of a mystery. An owner came in with a pup who was, apparently, a chronic sock eater. The owner had seen the dog run down the stairs with something in its mouth, and then the dog rapidly swallowed whatever the object was. Since the dog had a history with snacking on socks, thankfully the owner reacted quickly and brought him into the clinic. The dog was stable and acting fine, but to find out what he’d ingested, we decided to give him an injection to make him throw up — and up came a blue sock!

We would come to learn that all three of these dogs had actually eaten socks on prior occasions, but had been lucky enough to throw them up without treatment. So dogs can be repeat offenders when it comes to sock snacking. The moral of the story is: Don’t leave socks lying around where your dog can get to them. Something as simple as a wayward sock can actually get your pup into a dangerous situation. But if you do suspect that your dog has eaten a sock, be sure to get them to the veterinary hospital as quickly as possible.

Dr. Elvira Hoskins

© 2010 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.

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