Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 12 days of Christmas is also the 12 hazards of Christmas....

Now that the holiday season is upon us, our pets are especially vulnerable to hazards sometimes we wouldn't even think were toxic or unsafe for them. Here is a quick list of what to watch out for put out by our friends at the Toronto Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They are:

1. Ethylene Glycol, this common toxin can cause renal failure with as small an amount as 4.2ml/kg in dogs and 1.5ml/kg in cats. Usually the first signs seens are lethargy, wobbliness, increased drinking and urination. If emergency treatment is not instituted this toxin is fatal.

2. Chocolate, seen mor efrequently during holidays, symptoms can be variable depending on the "purity" of the chocolate. Symptoms include increased thirst, vomiting, restlessness, increased heart rate or arrythmia and can progress to seizures.

3. prescription drugs, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays ingestion of our human medications can become a hazard. Animals do not react the same way as people do our human medications. Conculting with your veterinarian or Poison Control hotline can be a life saver.

4. Poinsettia. Commonly thought to be the "toxin of the holidays", this plant rarely causes more than gastric upset.  Avoid having diarrhea and vomiting in your pet and keep them out of reach.

5. Mistletoe, a rare toxin but none the less "out there" mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fluid loss and even death has been reported.

6. Raisins/Grapes, because of the mechanism of toxicity is not knownm we do not know much about raisins so please be careful of this treat. It can often cause reanal failure and even death.

7. Macadamia nuts, like raisins the toxicty of this nut has not yet been identified but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and inability to use the hind limbs or stand.

8. Bulbs, amaryllis is a favorite around this time of year but also cause vomitting and diarrhea in both cats and dogs.

9. Road salt, rarely seen an an ingestion but road salt can cause significant discomfort on the pads of dogs. Combine this with a small crack or cut- ouch!

10. Hypothermia, beleive it or not this can happen even though they are built with fur coats.  Cats are prone to this.

11. Foreign bodies, Toys, ribbons, ornaments- is it any wonder why this is common around this time. Pet proofing is the only way to go to avoid an emergency trip to the vets.

12. Table scraps/Diet change, sure everyone enjoys a good turkey over the holidays, but allowing your pets  to ingest the bones or feeding left overs can result in a trip to the vets. Try to avoid changes in diet as much as possible.