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November 26, 2010 > Veterinary and Pet News Tis the season for animal poisons

Veterinary and Pet News Tis the season for animal poisons

Submitted By Dr Raj Salwan

As the holiday season approaches, guests will arrive with chocolate in hand, mistletoe will be hung on doorways and large volumes of food will be consumed. Although many pet owners attempt to keep popular holiday poisons away from their pet friends, dogs and cats can be tempted to nibble on these delicacies. Because pets will get into mischief, pet owners are advised to be very careful during the holiday season.

Many pets get less exercise during the winter months and this lack of activity and stimulation often results in mischief.

No sweets for your sweetie
Every holiday we have at least ten pets that are admitted to the hospital for having ingested large amounts of chocolate. Depending on the dose ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, hyperactivity, increased heart rate including arrhythmias, increased thirst and urination, and seizures. Due to their smaller size, toy breeds are very sensitive to chocolate poisoning. Candies or gum containing an ingredient called xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar resulting in tremors, loss of coordination and/or seizures.

Leftovers should be left alone
Greasy, spicy, and fatty foods are the worst for causing severe illness during the holidays. Those delicious gravies, fried foods, and chicken skin are high in fat and can cause a severe case of pancreatitis leading to vomiting and diarrhea. The holiday chicken or turkey will leave a lot of little bones that can be easily swallowed by your pet. Bones can splinter and cause blockages or perforation. Last holiday season, I was busy removing bones from stomachs, esophagus, and intestines. Kindly, spare your pet the suffering and leave leftovers alone.

No kiss under this mistletoe
Mistletoe and holiday holly berries can cause upset stomach (vomiting, diarrhea, nausea), heart problems, and malaise. Poinsettias, although less toxic, can cause stomach irritation, vomiting or nausea. Toxic lilies are especially dangerous because they can cause kidney failure in cats.

Practice Christmas tree safety
Please secure your tree and ensure that all pine needles are picked up to prevent ingestion by your pet. Pine needles can be very sharp and can puncture or irritate your pet's intestines. Please keep your pet away from Christmas tree water. The water may contain fertilizers which may cause an upset stomach. The stagnant water can also serve as breeding ground for bacteria accumulation and if ingested can cause gastrointestinal symptoms.

Decorate with care
Decorations like ribbon or tinsel are great delicacies for pets, especially kitties. They can get lodged in the intestines and cause an obstruction.

No alcohol for your companion
Alcohol ingestion can result in severe respiratory depression and coma.

The Season of Giving
Would you like to contribute for pet welfare? Consider donating your old towels and blankets to the animal shelter or your local veterinarian. You can also donate to a Good Samaritan fund at your local veterinarian, find a new home for a pet, volunteer at the animal shelter or help a homebound neighbor who may need help in caring for their pet. Your pets give you a lot of love and companionship. Isn't it time you gave something back?

Happy Holidays and wishes of prosperity and happiness to everyone!

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