Potential Poison Pitfalls

first aid dogIt is poison prevention week. This is a good opportunity for us to remind everyone that we need to be sure to keep our pets safe. Now is the time to poison proof your home. Something as simple putting both your own medication as well as your pet’s medication in a secure place is an easy place to start.

If you can walk through each room and look around from your pet’s vantage point for possible enticing places for your pet to get into trouble. When you walked in the door did you throw your purse down on the couch? Do you have any sugarless gum with Xylitol or any products that contain nicotine or cannabis for instance in your purse or gym bag?   This could be a perfect storm for trouble with a capital T.  Best to put your contraband out of reach from curious paws and mouths.

Please keep in mind that a trash can in the kitchen can be filled with many different types of toxic products from cleaning supplies to left over chocolate chip cookies or other dark chocolate that you didn’t want to eat. (hard to imagine not eating the chocolate but some of us have more control than I do with chocolate).  In addition, grapes and raisins, coffee grounds, and bones are just some of the hazards lurking in your kitchen trash.  Pet proof the trash so your cat or dog cannot open it and get into trouble.

Wander over to the bathroom. Are you using an automatic toilet bowl chemical cleanser?  If so please keep the lid down, pet safe. We would not want anyone drinking the chemically treated water. Common human medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can be extremely toxic to pets if ingested.

In the garage, there can be automotive products that are toxic to pets as well.  Not to mention things on the street your pooch might pick up and ingest while you’re not looking.

Please take a moment to look over the links that we have here just in case you ever need them.

 

Microchip Your Pet

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Enough is enough.  We have had at least four lost/missing pets this past week alone.  This is four too many.  For the most part, assuming no foul play you can be reunited with your pet.  Signs can be put up both in your neighborhood, calls made to all the local area veterinarians. The animal care and control (http://nycacc.org/LostFound.htm) even has a website that allows you to both look for and post information about your lost pet.  However, the best way to get your pet back is by making sure your pet has a microchip.  A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted behind the neck area of your pet via an injection.  The microchip has a number on it that is just for your pet.  The number needs to be registered with your contact information.  The microchip contact information must be kept up to date in order to be reunited with your pet.  If not, it will be very difficult if not impossible to reunite you with your pet.

All dogs should have a microchip.  Dog’s can get off their leash, be left in the yard or run out of an open door in a matter of seconds.  However, a microchip is not only for dogs.     But…my cat is an indoor cat, it can’t get out.  Really?  For the most part that may be true, however what about the rare instance when the door is left open and your kitty wanders out, and down the hall etc.  Sounds far-fetched, but it does happen.  Or are you one of these people that think that your cat needs to go outside?  Bad idea, you may be asking for trouble.  They can get into fights, contract fleas and become lost.  Please keep your cat indoors and safe.

If you have adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue group, they usually have a microchip inserted.  Did you register the chip in your name?  Not sure?  No worries.  If you have the chip number you can check online at www.petmicrochiplookup.org   If you do not know the number of the microchip we can scan your pet.  The scanner is able to ascertain if a chip has been inserted and indicates the number of the chip.

Dangerous Toys

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Just because you see a toy in your local pet supply store does not mean that it is safe for your dog! Many toys that can be dangerous for your pet yet most pet owners are unaware of the damage they can cause.

  • Sticks and chicken bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting. They can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can damage teeth; bone is harder than the enamel on the teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.
  • Soft, latex toys can be shredded by a chewing pet. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.
  • Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.
  • Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
  • Be careful if you offer your pet rawhide, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets. Try using CET Enzymatic chews, great for chewing and keepstheir breath fresh and teeth clean.
  • String, yarn, thread, feathers and rubber bands often offer enticing play for cats, but these can be swallowed whole, possibly lodging in the intestinal tract and causing blockage. If only partially swallowed, this, too, can result in severe problems. If you ever see your kitty with string (or a similar object) caught in its mouth, NEVER try to pull it out. If the string is lodged internally, pulling it can cut the cat’s intestines, killing him. Instead, see your veterinarian immediately.
  • For birds, bells can be problematic. Most medium-sized or larger parrots can take apart a bell and choke on the clapper.

If you notice anything unusual about your pet’s behavior or health, call Steinway Court Vet right away. If a toy or part of a toy is swallowed, signs of problems (like intestinal upset or blockage) may occur within minutes or hours; other times, you may not notice anything unusual for days. The obstruction may pass through with no more signs than vomiting or diarrhea. Or it may cause blockage, in which case your pet may be constipated or not want to eat. If you even suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, call us immediately. It’s also a good idea to bring with you any left over pieces of the swallowed/chewed up toy.

Used appropriately, many household and store-bought pet toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your pet. It’s a good idea, however, to supervise your pet during play. Not only will this minimize the chance of accidents happening, but you’ll also be providing your pet with quality time spent with his or her favorite toy.

Do I have an Emergency with my pet?

Have you ever wondered if you have an Emergency and needs you to seek emergency care for your pet?  Here are a few emergencies that will need you to get to the nearest emergency clinic ASAP.  ANY concern about your pet’s health warrants, at minimum, a call to our office.  718-728-2822

  • Your pet isn’t breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
  • Your pet is unconscious and won’t wake up.
  • Your pet has been vomiting or has had severe diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
  • You suspect any broken bones, lameness or inability to move leg(s).
  • Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
  • Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
  • Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum, or there is blood in her urine or feces.
  • You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, Common pet toxinsinclude but are not limited to:
    • Rat poisons (D-con)
    • Chocolate
    • Prescription, over the counter or illegal drugs (BRING THE CONTAINER WITH YOU)
    • Artificial sweeteners (e.g. xylitol)
    • Nicotine
    • Household cleaners.
    • Antifreeze
    • Certain household plants (e.g. Easter lillies)
    • Any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed.
    • Please bring the ingested product if possible with you.
    • Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
    • Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
    • Your pet collapses or suddenly can’t stand up.
    • Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
    • You can see irritation or injury to your pet’s eyes, or she suddenly seems to become blind.
    • Your pet’s abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or she’s gagging and trying to vomit.
    • restlessness, retching and abdominal swelling in large breed dogs
    • You see symptoms of heatstroke.
    • Refusing to eat or drink for more than 24 hours.
    • Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.

Most important, remember to trust your instincts. You know and love your pet, and you have the right to be worried if something seems wrong.

Xylitol Poisoning from sugarless gum and other products

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Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is found in fibrous vegetables and fruit.  This  includes  mushrooms, raspberries, strawberries, yellow plums, lettuce and cauliflower. In fruits and vegetables the amount found is miniscule therefore most Xylitol is made in the lab.

Xylitol is used instead of sugar because it helps reduce the development of dental caries and plaque formation as well as being  low in calories.  Xylitol is a common ingredient in sugar-free products such as sugar-free candy, chewing gum, baked goods, and oral hygiene products.    Xylitol also is an ingredient in many over-the-counter human drugs, such as chewable vitamins,  throat lozenges and sprays.

However it is nothing like sugar for our four legged dog friends.  . Unfortunately, many people are unaware that Xylitol, even in minute amounts is extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested in significant quantity, the toxin causes severe liver necrosis (destruction). The amounts necessary are surprisingly small.  Should a 10 pound dog ingest a stick and a half of sugarless gum,  it is sufficient to cause life-threatening liver failure.

If you notice that you dog ate sugarless gum or another product that contains Xylitol seek immediate medical care!  Dogs with this intoxication should be presented as soon as possible to a veterinarian for evaluation of liver function  via blood work.  If the ingestion is noticed quickly, the  therapy would include  inducing vomiting.  If it is caught  late, agents may be given orally to try and bind the Xylitol in the gut. Supportive care with intravenous fluids, antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial hepatitis, and mucosal protectants may aid in recuperation.

Sadly, most of the time, however, dogs simply present with sudden onset liver failure. which can make the diagnosis difficult and delay onset of treatment if the owner does not know about the ingestion of the gum.

Please keep this and other hazards away from your dog.

Curious about Xylitol and other household hazards?  Watch this.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435

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Chocolate’s a No-No

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Chocolate is toxic to your dog (cats do not typically eat chocolate).  You may have heard of chocolate being bad for your pet but were unsure as to why.  A sudden high fat diet i.e. devouring a bag of candy bars left on the counter can create a lethal metabolic condition called pancreatitis.  Vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are some of the symptoms that may appear.  Pancreatitis is due to the fat found in the chocolate, not the chocolate itself.

The chocolate itself is very toxic because of the theobromine that is found in the chocolate.  Theobromine occurs naturally in the cocoa tree/beans. The more chocolate liquor in a product, the more theobromine is present. Theobromine levels are higher in dark chocolates than in milk chocolates.  Higher quality chocolate tends to contain more theobromine than lower quality chocolate.  For instance, this makes baking chocolate the worst for pets, followed by semisweet and dark chocolate, followed by milk chocolate, followed by chocolate flavored cakes or cookies.  Why it is toxic to dogs and other pets but not people?  (I could not imagine a life without chocolate).  Animals metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans, therefore being in their system longer.  Theobromine may causes:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity/restlessness
  • Increased urination or incontinence
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Racing heart rhythm progressing to abnormal rhythms

If you see that you dog at chocolate call our office 718-728-2822 immediately so we can induce vomiting and provide the necessary supportive care needed depending on the symptoms and time of ingestion.