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Liver Disease in dogs

DDD_liver_gallbladder_pancreas-150x150The liver is one of the most important organs in the body of your dog. It performs various functions like aiding blot clot, digestion, detoxification of waste products, and manufacturing of the body’s building blocks. If the liver fails to work properly, your pet can fall sick causing hepatitis which can progress into serious liver disease.

The liver is prone to being affected by a variety of diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, toxicities and neoplastic and degenerative diseases. According to canidae.com, “Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver”. However, liver diseases can be treated and your pet can make a full recovery. [Read more…]

Toxic Plants

plants

Kitten in Plants

Literally hundreds of common plants, both indoors and out, have toxic effects on our pets causing everything from mild gastro-intestinal upset to death. Sometimes dogs and especially cats like to munch on grass and plants for a variety of reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. Try to keep poisonous plants away from your pets’ reach, a list of toxic plants compiled by the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the American Animal Hospital Association (AHAA) can help you determine if you have any poisonous plants around your home or yard. Here are some common toxic plants:

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Foods That Are Toxic To Your Pets

Who hasn’t been tempted to throw their pet a table scrap now and then? I mean, look at that face! How can you resist those puppy dog eyes or that kitty cat purr? Unfortunately our pets can’t decide what is good or bad to eat so we have to do it for them. Below are some people foods that are toxic to pets and should be avoided.

Many pet owners know that chocolate is toxic and keep it out of reach. Sometimes the sweet temptation is too hard to resist and ends up being consumed despite our efforts to prevent it. When this happens a trip to the vet is almost always necessary. The level of toxicity depends on the size of the pet, how much and the type of chocolate ingested (dark, milk, unsweetened bakers…) Different types contain different levels of Theobromine, the toxic chemical in chocolate. Contact or go to your veterinarian as soon as you find your pet has eaten chocolate no matter how much or what type. I always tell pet owners who are unsure if they should make a trip to the vet “Better safe than sorry!”

Although once thought to be an urban legend, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. Many pet owners have used them for treats or snacks but the toxin, which is not known at this time, can potentially cause kidney failure. Some dogs may be more sensitive than others so the amount consumed can be a handful of raisins (more concentrated) or a pound of grapes. Some dogs will seek them out so keep them out of reach of your hungry hound!

The toxin in Macadamia nuts is also not known and, like grapes and raisins, the sensitivity of the pet to the toxin and the amount of nuts causing toxicity may vary. Signs to look for are weakness and inability to walk, especially in the hind legs, vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and elevated body temperature.

Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum and mints, nicotine gum, chewable vitamins, and oral-care products, can be fatal if ingested. In addition to causing a sudden sharp decrease in blood glucose, liver failure can occur within 12 to 24 hours of ingestion. Increasing use of the sweetener in our diets has of course increased the number of xylitol poisonings according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Seek veterinary attention right away if your pet consumes xylitol.

When in doubt, don’t feed it to your pet. We love to spoil them but when it comes to treats, pet appropriate ones help keep our fur kids happy AND healthy. As I always say, better safe than sorry!

Toxic

American Red Cross

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Chocolate Toxicity in Our Pets

The holiday season means lots of sweets and treats. Animals often have a sweet tooth just like their human counterparts. Unfortunately chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and rats. Kansas State’s Susan Nelson, DVM points out that chocolate contains large amounts of methylxanthines such as Theobromine and caffeine. It is theobromine that causes the majority of symptoms in pets. Unlike people, pets take much longer to clear theobromine from their bodies, which leads to the build up of toxic levels. Those are big words but the message is simple, do not give it to your pets!

Guide for Theobromine levels in different types of chocolate:
From The Merck Veterinary Manual, here are approximate Theobromine levels of different types of chocolate:

  • Dry cocoa powder = 800 mg/oz
  • Unsweetened (Baker’s) chocolate = 450 mg/oz
  • Cocoa bean mulch = 255 mg/oz
  • semisweet and sweet dark chocolate is = 150-160 mg/oz
  • Milk = 44-64 mg Theobromine per oz chocolate
  • White choc contains an insignificant source of methylxanthines.

Take precautions by keeping all foods out of a pet’s reach to avoid hazardous consumption situations. Also, confining pets during parties or family gatherings will help prevent guests from feeding them toxic foods. Follow these guidelines and have a safe and happy Halloween!

chocolate

Kitten with Top Hat Mark

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