Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dog Safety Tips for Memorial Day

Like many Americans, you may be planning a festive Memorial Day, complete with barbecue and fireworks. It’s important to remember, fireworks and dogs don't mix.

Unlike people, dogs won’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with a celebration. Fireworks will often cause panic and anxiety in dogs. It’s important to remember that dogs panic at the sound of fireworks and flee into the night, often winding up lost, injured, or killed.  

Here a few safety tips that will help you keep your pet safe during your Memorial Day celebration. 

1.    Keep your pet indoors at all times, if possible.
2.    Use Pet Friendly Repellent.
3.    Don’t give your pet table food.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pets and Electronic Cigarette Dangers

Electronic cigarettes are becoming popular in our culture as an alternative to cigarette smoking. Please be mindful with your pets around the e-cig cartridges or fluids. There are many kinds of electronic cigarette varieties but please keep them far away from your pets reach. The link below explains the story of the first dog in the UK to die after coming into contact with the owners e-cig refill fluid.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today is Love Your Pet Day

Don’t forget today is Love Your Pet Day. Spend extra time with your pet or give him/her a special treat!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pancreatitis and Pets

Pancreatitis Pancreatic disorders occur frequently in the dog and cat. The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that produces enzymes which aid in the digestion of food. It also produces some hormones such as insulin which are secreted into the blood. If, because of injury or disease, these digestive enzymes become activated within the pancreas before they are released, they will begin digesting the pancreas itself. This self-digestion causes severe inflammation called Pancreatitis which is associated with pain and tenderness of the abdomen. Pancreatitis is usually classified as either acute (occurs suddenly) or chronic (an ongoing condition).

 Signs of Pancreatitis
The signs of pancreatitis usually occur suddenly in dogs and cats. You ll need to be aware of the signs so you can get treatment for your pet as soon as possible. A pet with pancreatitis will exhibit some or all of the following signs: lack of appetite, frequent vomiting and diarrhea which may contain blood. A pet may also drink more water than usual and vomit it soon after consumption. Weakness, inability to walk and abdominal tenderness or pain may be present. Body temperature will vary in pets with pancreatitis, but usually the temperature will be higher than normal at the onset of the disease and then fall to below normal as the condition continues. The eyes may become sunken, and the mouth and eyes may become very dry, indicating dehydration. These signs are not unique to pancreatitis; therefore your veterinarian may recommend tests to differentiate pancreatitis from other diseases.

 Causes of Pancreatitis
Although the exact cause of pancreatitis is often unknown, there are several contributing factors. Hyperlipemia: Hyperlipemia (high blood fat content) is a condition in which the amount of fat in the blood is elevated. Hyperlipemia occurs normally for a short period after a meal then returns to the correct level. However, some pets, like some people, have a metabolic problem which prevents the proper clearing of the fat from the blood stream. Some research studies have shown recently that hyperlipemia contributes to the development of pancreatitis. Obesity: Many dogs with pancreatitis are overweight. Dogs also are more likely to develop pancreatitis after eating a meal with a high fat content, especially fatty table scraps. Therefore, dietary fat intake and the nutritional status of the animal are important factors in this disease.

Infectious Disease: Bacterial or viral infections can contribute to the development of pancreatitis in the dog or cat. Bacterial infections are often contracted by consuming spoiled or contaminated food or water. Viral infections usually result from contact with other infected animals. Trauma: Any trauma or injury that involves the abdomen in the dog or cat can contribute to the development of pancreatitis. For example, pets injured in automobile accidents commonly develop pancreatitis.

 Diagnosis of Acute Pancreatitis
Your veterinarian will want to perform a thorough physical exam, evaluate your pet's clinical signs, and ask you questions about your pet's health history. If, after examining your pet, your veterinarian suspects pancreatitis, a blood sample for laboratory analysis may be required. This lab evaluation will determine the levels of cholesterol, amylase and lipase (digestive enzymes) and white blood cells.

 The most important therapeutic measure is to withhold all food, water and medications taken by mouth in order to reduce the need for the pancreas to work. Dehydration must also be corrected or avoided by giving fluid intravenously or by injection under the skin. Occasionally the severity of this disease requires that no solid food be fed for a period of two to five days. Any food that is eaten will stimulate the release of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Since the pancreas is especially sensitive at this time, the amount of these enzymes required should be kept at a minimum. Solid food should be reintroduced gradually.

During recovery, your pet should be fed small quantities of diets that contain highly digestible nutrients and a low fat level such as Prescription Diet® Canine i/d® or Prescription Diet® Canine w/d® or Prescription Diet® Feline w/d® dietary pet food. These feedings can be increased in quantity until a return to normal dietary habits has been achieved. Indiscriminate feeding practices may help contribute to the occurrence or recurrence of pancreatitis. If your pet has been treated for pancreatitis previously or if your veterinarian indicates that your pet may have a tendency to develop pancreatitis, you must be careful what is fed. Under "Causes of Pancreatitis," it was pointed out that hyperlipemia and high blood fat levels may contribute to the development of pancreatitis, therefore, high fat diets should be avoided. Long term dietary management includes avoidance of fatty meals, treats such as table scraps, meat trimmings or fat supplements.

Feed a maintenance diet of Prescription Diet Canine w/d or Canine i/d or Feline w/d. Obese pets should be placed on a weight reduction program. This may be accomplished with a diet such as Prescription Diet® Canine r/d® or Prescription Diet® Feline r/d®. (Ask your veterinarian about additional information for the treatment of obesity.) In addition to dietary management and fluids, there are certain drugs your veterinarian may recommend to help manage pancreatitis. Those drugs may include medication to help relieve the severe abdominal pain, antibiotics to prevent or treat pancreatic infections or abscesses, and/or drugs to decrease pancreatic secretions. If drugs are prescribed, please follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully. It may be necessary for your pet to return to the veterinarian periodically for exams and additional blood work to evaluate the treatment protocol and check for recurrence of the disease.

 Chronic Pancreatitis
In dogs, chronic pancreatitis is characterized by frequent bouts of acute pancreatitis. Pets with chronic pancreatitis often have a history of repeated bouts of abdominal pain aod gastrointestinal upset. Between episodes, the dog seems normal, but each episode of acute pancreatitis causes additional destruction of the pancreas. Eventually, some dogs develop progressively more severe signs. Careful dietary management can alter these repeat episodes. Cats, in contrast to dog's frequent bouts of acute pancreatitis, experience persistent chronic pancreatitis, producing a slowly progressive inflammation and vague signs of illness. Some researchers report that chronic pancreatitis is more common in the male than in the female cat. Abdominal pain is not present in cats with pancreatitis. Most cats with pancreatitis suffer loss of appetite, weight loss and variable lack of energy. Many of them also urinate more often than usual. Abnormalities are not as consistent in the blood analysis of cats with pancreatitis as they are with dogs, which makes the disease more difficult to diagnose in cats. Often, laboratory results from cats with chronic pancreatitis are normal.

 Dietary Management
Dietary management can help avoid pancreatitis in the dog and cat. If your pet has a predisposition to the development of pancreatitis or a history of pancreatitis, diets low in dietary fats, such as Prescription Diet Canine i/d and Prescription Diet Canine w/d and Feline w/d should be fed to your pet. If your pet is overweight, a weight loss program utilizing Prescription Diet Canine r/d or Feline r/d respectively should be initiated. If your pet suffers from hyperlipemia, a high fibre, low fat diet, such as Prescription Diet Canine w/d or Feline w/d, should be fed to your pet. Under no circumstances should your pet be fed treats such as meat or meat scraps that are high in fat. Talk to your veterinarian about the correct diet for your pet.

 Feeding Directions
Follow your veterinarian s directions when feeding the prescribed diet. Although these diets may not look like typical pet foods, most pets will readily eat these diets. If your pet is one of the few that doesn t readily accept the new diet after two days, you may want to try the following: If the canned diet has been refrigerated, warm the food to, but not above, body temperature. Hand feed the new diet for the first few days. Mix the dry diet with a little warm water and wait ten minutes before serving. (Use this technique with the dog only.) Over a seven to ten day period, mix the diet with your pet s former food, gradually increasing the proportion of Prescription Diet until only the new diet is being fed. Add one to three tablespoons of homemade clear, unsalted chicken broth to the prescribed diet. Feed only the prescribed diet. Be patient but firm with your pet. This is important. The recovery of your pet depends to a large degree on strict adherence to the new diet. The information on this page is provided by Hill's®Pet Nutrition Inc. to help you learn about the disease and how to care for your pet at home. SOURCE: ©1991 Hill's Pet Products Division of Colgate-Palmolive Company

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Safety

“My pet would never eat food off the table!”

“My pet would never knock over the Christmas tree!”

“My pet would never bite someone!”

We all know our pets pretty well, but what we don’t always realize is that stress can make anybody do crazy things! When you have holiday guests or flashing Christmas lights or loud holiday music—or all of the above—at your house all at once, your pet may get stressed and frustrated, causing them to act out in unexpected ways. Most pet accidents are met with the statement, “He’s never done anything like that before!”

We recommend always making sure that your pet has a safe place to sit and relax during your holidays parties. Just like some people, pets need to get away from the action and de-stress, but most of the time they don’t know how to ask for their space. If your pet is comfortable in their crate, we recommend moving it into a quiet room and letting them spend some time resting during your holiday get-togethers. Your pet will be happier, and by extension, you and your guests will be happier! And holidays disasters will be prevented.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Toxicities

Poinsettia (Euphorbia plucherrima) is known to be highly toxic, but it is just an old wives tale. This plant is the least toxic of the four and most likely will only cause GI upset.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncate) is another plant that if ingested would generally only cause GI upset.

American Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) most often causes depression and vomiting, but the mistletoe family has the potential to cause more serious signs, such as hypotension and cardiovascular collapse. Keep in mind that ingestion of large amounts of plant material can cause a foreign body obstruction. Yesterday I had a call regarding a 65 pound lab that ingested 2 medium sized poinsettias that contained approximately 6-8 flowers a piece. The only thing he left was the dirt. We recommended emesis just to lower the risk for GI upset and FBO. Plain canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie kind_ is the main bulking agent I recommend.

Are you hungry?
Chocolate (not sugar free) is the most common food agent I have received calls on around the holidays. Chocolate contains methylxanthines (theobromine and caffeine) which can cause GI upset, polydipsia, stimulatory signs, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors, and seizures. Toxicity is based on how dark the chocolate is (white vs. mile vs. baking chocolate). The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

Candy (non chocolate, not sugar free) most likely will cause GI upset and polydipsia/polyuria from all the sugar. However is a high volume of sugar candy is ingested, electrolyte disturbances are possible.

Xylitol is the sugar free substitute that is found in candy, gum, and baked goods. Depending on the amount ingested GI upset, hypoglycemia, and liver damage can develop.

Garlic and onions are part of allium species and can cause GI upset and Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia.

Yest and bread dough when ingested produce alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation which can cause the animal to become drunk and bloated. Mmmm that yummy fruit cake that may contain Grapes and Raisins can cause GI upset and acute renal failure and Macadamia nuts which can cause GI upset, depression, weakness, ataxia, tremors, and hyperthermia.

So you need something to walk all this food down with right?
Coffee and coffee grounds contain caffeine. Signs are very similar to those of chocolate. Once the coffee has been brewed, most of the caffeine has been extracted, so it is not as potent. And my favorite stimulant: Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Alcohol usually causes vomiting, depression, lethargy and ataxia. Other possible signs are vocalization, disorientation, hypothermia, tremors, tachycardia, acidosis, and dyspnea. Rarely it can cause coma and seizure. Keep in mind that the holiday feasts may contain a lot of fat, sugar, and salt.

Fat and sugar can trigger pancreatitis.

Salt can cause electrolyte disturbances. Hypernatremia leads to CNS signs such as ataxia, tremors and seizures.

After all festivities, the leftover food is discarded and your trash can is an animal's ideal dinner table.
Spoiled food can cause significant GI upset and secondary dehydration.

Molds can cause tremogenic mycotoxins and can cause significant vomiting and CNS signs including ataxia, tremors, seizures, and hyperthermia.

Decorations add to all the holiday cheer.
Electrical cords from all those pretty lights. Chewing on the cord can lead to mucosal injury in the mouth and electrocution.

Plastic and glass from ornaments and lights can cause trauma to the mouth and GI tract and can cause an obstruction..

Tinsel and ribbon can cause linear foreign body obstructions and can get caught in the mouth and throat.

Toys can be chewed on and those small parts, including batteries can be ingested.

Batteries can cause corrosive injury to the mucosa of the GI tract and lead to ulceration and possible perforation.

Christmas trees pose a few hazards. Some of the calls I receive involve the animal chewing into presents under the tree. Do not put food items, such as chocolate or nuts in a gift box under your tree.

Dead and dying needles tend to be ingested. Depending on the type of tree you have, generally the needles will cause mechanical irritation and GI upset.

Christmas tree food and preservatives added to water can turn into your pets new water bowl. Generally these are diluted an only cause GI upset.

Liquid Potpourris can cause oral, pharyngeal and esophageal ulceration.

Essential oils are known to cause CNS signs depending on the strength. Cats are more susceptible to the adverse effects of essential oils. Dermal exposures may cause skin irritation and re exposure if the animal continues to groom itself.

Artificial fire logs are generally made up of sawdust and wax. They tend to crumble when chewed so the main concern is for GI upset and FBO.

Crackle or colored fire logs contain metals to give off different colored flames. Signs may vary depending on the type of metal used.

Java fire logs contain coffee ground and give off a coffee type aroma. The caffeine in the grounds can cause signs similar to chocolate as discussed earlier.

Ice melts can cause dermal and GI irritation. Ingestion can lead to salt toxicosis. Walking the pet away from salted sidewalk and driveways is recommended. If this cannot be avoided, the owner should wipe/wash off the pets paws.

This is a brief overview of holiday hazards. If you suspect a toxicity and need assistance, please contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. That number is 888-426-4435.

You may also contact The Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas directly at 817-410-2273.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dangers of Gum: Ice Breaker Ice Cube Gum for Pets

Here at the Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas we would like to inform owners to beware of leaving containers of Ice Breaker Ice Cube gum in reach of or in the general vicinity of your pets.  We have seen numerous toxicity cases involving this type of gum.  The pets probably view the container as some sort of toy, proceed to play with and open the container, and then consume part or all of the contents.  
Unfortunately, the gum does not work to freshen your dog’s breath, but the xylitol sugar substitute  is extremely toxic to your dog.  Ingestion of this sugar-free product can rapidly cause a severe drop in your pet’s blood sugar.  When the blood sugar levels plummet, it can result in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and seizures.  This effect is sometime prolonged for several days, requiring extended hospitalization.  Each piece of the gum contains approximately 1 gram of xylitol, and only one or two pieces can be toxic or even fatal to your dog.  Xylitol toxicity can also affect the liver, causing bleeding tendencies and other life-threatening complications.    
If you suspect that your pet has consumed any sugarless  gum, please have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.  If your pet can be seen quickly (within 30 minutes of ingestion) then it may be possible to make your pet vomit the gum but xylitol can be absorbed within minutes.  Beyond this time frame, your pet may require an IV drip to support their blood sugar for a minimum of 24 hours and monitoring of liver values, blood clotting times, and potassium and phosphorus levels for a period of 2 to 5 days.  

So please be aware that this particular type of gum product, no matter the flavor, seems to be as appealing to your pet dog as to you but it is definitely not something that you want them to consume.