November Mews-Letter (Archive)


November Mews-Letter

With the start of daylight savings and the leaves falling off the trees, we are entering into the holiday rush and the end of the year. November is a wonderful month to be grateful for what 2015 has brought us and gives us time to reflect on the things we are most thankful for. At the Hampden Veterinary Clinic we are so grateful to be your “other pediatrician” and to be part of your family’s lives. With Thanksgiving right around the corner here is a twist on the safety tips during this time of year. As always, make sure your pet is wearing their identification tags during large gathers and that they have a safe place to be away from the hustle and bustle. If the door bell makes your dog’s blood pressure rise, place a “please knock” sign on the door. Please educate your extended family and small children about pet safety, proper animal interaction etiquette and any special needs your pet might have.

Thanksgiving Foods That Are Toxic To Your Pet

Onions, Garlic, chives:
Dogs and cats are susceptible to hemoglobin oxidation or disruption of the red blood cells when they ingest onion, garlic, or chives at high quantities. This makes the red blood cell unable to carry oxygen and is taken out of circulation by the spleen. Patients with this toxicity will develop port wine urine, pale gums which can soon turn yellow, and will have signs of severe anemia such as shortness of breath, fast heart rate, fainting, and weakness. Prognosis is good if immediately treated for decontamination. Once clinical signs such as severe anemia and collapse are present, prognosis is guarded and medical therapies such as hospitalization, oxygen therapy, and blood transfusion can be costly.

Yeast Dough/bread dough:
Ingestion of bread dough can cause GI obstruction, vomiting, diarrhea, blindness, inability to walk, vocalization, chance in behaviors and loss of consciousness. Bread dough will rapidly rise in the warm environment of the stomach and produce ethanol. Ethanol is rapidly absorbed from the GI tract causing the clinical signs. The bread dough can cause physical obstruction of the stomach and lead to bloating of the patient. Prognosis is good if treated immediately by a veterinarian.

Nutmeg in small dosages and in baked goods does not cause any harm to your pet. However in large doses i.e. eating the tube of nutmeg or eating a tablespoon of nutmeg raw can cause hallucination and increased heart rate, blood pressure, and disorientation. It can also be inhaled into the lungs and cause spasms and trouble breathing.

Both cooked and raw bones have the risk of becoming a foreign body or gastric irritant to the pet. Although not a toxin itself, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stools, stomach perforation, and pancreatitis. It is best to have any turkey bones secured and away from any pets. Marrow bones can become stuck around the lower jaw and straight bones can get lodged in the roof of the mouth.

Macadamia Nuts:
In some dogs, macadamia nuts can cause weakness, tremors, and ataxia (trouble walking). It is also high in fat and can increase your pet’s risk of developing pancreatitis. In small dogs and cats, if swallowed whole, it can also cause obstruction of the small intestinal tract.

Theobromine and caffeine are the main toxic components in chocolate (also coffee beans and cocoa beans). The amounts of each vary depending on the type of chocolate (i.e., milk, unsweetened baking, or semisweet chocolates). The lethal dose ranges between 100-200mg/kg; although, moderate signs can be seen with ingestion of as little as 20mg/kg. Treatment may be indicated when ingestion approaches 20mg/kg. Both dogs and cats are susceptible. The main signs referable to the heart and central nervous system: nervousness/anxiety, excitable behavior, tremors, seizures and coma due to CNS stimulation, high blood pressure, a slowed or increased heart rate, heart arrhythmias, which may be manifested as disorientation, weakness, collapse and loss of consciousness. Caffeine causes increased respiratory/breathing rate and increased body temperature (hyperthermia). Milk chocolate ( Hershey bar etc) can contain very little theobromine and caffeine. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are very high in theobromine and caffeine and even a small amount can be toxic to a pet.

The most important things for owners to do when a pet ingests chocolate (coffee beans or cocoa beans) are:

•to estimate how much was ingested,

•To bring packaging to the hospital so the type(s) of chocolate and relative doses of the toxic ingredients can be identified/estimated and

•To not delay the trip to the hospital ( you can also call the ER or Hampden if it’s during business hours and we can calculate whether your pet is at risk) It cannot be overemphasized that early identification and presentation to the hospital yield the best outcomes. Prognosis is good if the patient is decontaminated or presented promptly to a veterinarian for care.

Apple Cores/seeds/leaves:
Apple stems, leaves, seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting. Clinical signs associated with cyanide toxicity include brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock. A pet would need to ingest a high number of apple seeds, stems, and leaves. Toxicity is rare but possible.

Tobacco products contain nicotine. Cigarettes and cigars have varying degrees of nicotine in them. The butts themselves contain 25% of the total nicotine. Clinical signs develop quickly (15-30 minutes) and include hyperexcitablity, hyper salivation, fast breathing, diarrhea, and vomiting. Muscle weakness, twitching, collapse, coma, and death can occur at high enough doses. Animals seen ingesting any tobacco products or even several cigarette or cigar butts should present to a veterinarian for medical care and decontamination. Prognosis is good when presented before clinical signs are present and immediate decontamination occurs.

Ethanol or alcohol poisoning can easily happen in dogs and cats. Similar to people they can have in coordination, weakness, respiratory depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting while under the influence of alcohol can also increase their risk of aspiration and death. If you suspect your pet has ingested alcohol please contact us or a veterinary emergency facility.

Very little is known regarding grape toxicity in dogs. It causes acute renal failure in dogs and the exact way it works is unclear. Toxic dose range is 14 to 57g/kg but each dog can have a different level of sensitivity to the toxin. I have seen dogs go into failure from 1 grape and others eat a whole pound of grapes and be fine. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, and abdominal pain. The effects of the grapes can come on in a couple days to several weeks. Blood work changes include elevated kidney enzymes, high calcium and high phosphorus. It can lead to the inability to make urine. Patients with decreased urine output, ataxia( trouble walking), weakness, increased initial total calcium, increased calcium phosphorous ratio at time of presentation or increase in calcium phosphorus ratio have much more guarded prognosis. Prognosis varies based on when patients presents to a veterinarian and the degree of sensitivity to grapes and raisins per patient. As little as one grape can kill a sensitive Labrador while a Chihuahua that is not susceptible to the toxin may eat a pound of grapes and be fine.

Hampden Veterinary - 9 Commerce Court Hampden Me 04444