The holidays can be a very busy and chaotic time for families, and that’s why it’s so easy to let your guard down when it comes to preventing toxic exposure to your pet. Everyday items that we may not think twice about can become lethal to our pets. We have created a list of holiday-related items such as decorations, plants, and food items that we recommend keeping away from pets.
July 15th is a day to bring something to the attention of many pet owners that they don’t usually think of, Pet Fire Safety. It is not something we always think of, but between cats jumping up on counters and dogs zooming around tables, it is more common than one may think. Whether you are a new pet owner or have had pets your entire life, there are things you can add to your home or take away that you may not have thought of before.
Being prepared and proactive is key to helping and protecting your pets in case of an emergency. We have come up with the top 5 tips to help keep you and your pets safe:
In December 2016, a spay surgery was booked for a 5 month old Miniature Schnauzer named Ruby.
When we asked mom the routine admission questions, everything seemed normal. For example: Have
you noticed her going into heat yet? Mom reported “She might just be starting as there was a drop of
blood on the floor the other day.” Has she lost her baby teeth yet? “I think she’s just losing them now as her gums have a little bit of bleeding.” (Dogs normally get adult teeth in between 5-6 months).
As all good veterinarians do, we recommend pre-anesthetic blood work for all our patients to ensure
there is no underlying health concerns. And, like many puppy and kitten owners, Ruby’s mom declined
as Ruby seemed like a perfectly healthy, playful, and mischievous puppy with a great appetite.
We did notice a small amount of blood along her gums, which could be explained away by incoming
adult teeth. We sedated her and started our usual procedure, clipping her in preparation for surgery.
That’s when my nurse noticed some abnormal marks on her belly. Wondering if she was being bitten by fleas or mites we looked a little closer and found more on the inside of her ears. What we found on her belly and ears is called petechia - minor bleeding from broken blood vessels in the skin (ie. tiny bruises).This was a concern as it could be an indication of something sinister going on.
With a major surgery, like a spay, we want to make sure the patients blood can clot and won’t bleed
excessively. I opted to do a minor blood test to put my own mind at ease before starting surgery and
checked her red blood cell count (PCV) to see if we needed to do more digging. This came back very low at a level of 30, the normal level is 35, which indicated she was anemic and losing blood somewhere. This is when I called mom to tell her we needed to investigate further, explained what we found and asked for permission to do more blood work. Thank God we did!
Ruby’s full blood panel indicated that she had no platelets and was spontaneously bleeding (which is
why we saw the bruising on her belly and oozing from her gums). The blood spotting mom saw at home was actually her bleeding into her bladder. With a little more investigation Ruby was diagnosed with an immune disorder called Thrombocytopenia. This required months of medications and repeat blood tests to ensure she was getting better. She was eventually spayed a year after we initially planned, at the time of the spay we realized that wasn’t the only way that Ruby was unique. We uncovered an anomaly called uterus unicornous, meaning she only had 1 uterine horn compared to the two that most animals have!
In Ruby’s case, doing blood work was actually a lifesaving test. Had we gone ahead with surgery she
would have continued to bleed, not being able to clot on her own, and would have been in a dire
situation. Ruby is now one and a half years old and doing great!
This isn’t the only situation where pre-anesthetic blood work has been a saving grace, but definitely one of the more interesting (and scary) cases! Therefore we recommend pre-surgical blood work for
everyone, no matter how healthy they appear to be on the outside!
Written by: Dr. Monica Kovacs
Dr. Jenevieve Fuller is due to have another baby this June. We hope you'll join us in wishing her all the best with this new adventure!
Her last day is May 12th. During Dr. Fuller's absence we encourage you to try one of our other wonderful veterinarians.
Thank you Airdrie! It has been our pleasure caring for you and your pets for over 3 decades. We love seeing your dogs, cats, birds and exotics, and look forward to many more years of service in our growing community.
AARCS is a non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of the public to help cover the costs of all our expenses, the majority being veterinary care for our animals. While we have the manpower, drive and ambition, financial support is essential to cultivate and maintain not only the basic costs, but to further develop our programs and initiatives.
Airdrie's Exclusive House Call Service! - The Airdrie Animal Clinic Honda Element is dressed up and ready to go this June. Behind the wheel is
Dr. Jeni Liggett and she is ready to provide excellent veterinary care to your pets in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you may also see Dr. Monica Kovacs who will be helping out every opportunity she can. Give us a call at the clinic for more information or to set up your house call appointment today!
The following is a list of tips pet owners can keep in mind this Easter to ensure their pets have a happy, healthy holiday.
Keep Track of Hidden Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs spoil quickly, so it’s important to keep track of all hidden eggs and retrieve the ones that were never found. If a dog or cat finds the egg days later and eats it, they can become very sick.
Use Easter Grass Sparingly
Shiny green shreds of plastic look quite enticing to pets, especially cats. Because the plastic is indigestible, it can get caught in the pet’s intestines if swallowed and can be lethal. Use this decoration in moderation and remember to clean up any and all shreds after the celebration is over.
Don’t Feed Pets Leftovers
Fatty table scraps are very unhealthy for pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, panting, and excessive thirst. Ingestion of these scraps can also lead to bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists over itself, blocking gastric passageways. Make sure all guests know not to feed pets table scraps and make sure there isn’t easy access to tables or counters.
Keep an Eye on Chocolate Candies
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to pets. Ingestion could lead to heart damage and central nervous system damage. Make sure all chocolate is kept well out of pets’ reach.
Lock up Cleaning Supplies
Spring is a popular time to clean house (especially when expecting company for the holiday), and cleaning supplies can multiply during this time. Most of these supplies are very dangerous to pets, so make sure they are all securely locked and out of the way of curious noses.
Keep Flowers up High
If ingested, many flowers are harmful to pets. Lilies are particularly toxic to cats and tulips can cause stomach irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Display all flowers high on tables and countertops not easily accessible to cats and dogs.
Use Flameless Candles
Many candles can easily be knocked over, causing not only harm to pets, but harm to the entire house. When decorating, consider flameless candles, as they pose no danger.
“We know the holidays can be hectic and things can get overlooked,” said Darren DeFeo, Senior Vice President at Trupanion. “We want to remind pet owners of these dangers so they don’t have to go through the emotional toll that an emergency trip to the vet can bring.”
- Trupanion Pet Insurance
February is dental awareness month! Please come visit us at the clinic, or give us a call for more details!
The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about a potentially poisoned pet. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.
When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.
If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.
Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.
Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.
With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:
Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze(ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.
Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.
When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.