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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Hidden Christmas Dangers for your pet

At BROAD LANE VETS each Christmas we see problems with pets caused by the Festive Season. This year we have put together a newsletter to help you and your friend enjoy Christmas and avoid the hazards. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Christmas tree
The best place to put a Christmas tree is in a room that is off limits to your pets. The entire Christmas tree can be knocked over by a dog running through the room or tugging at your string of Christmas lights. Cats love climbing up the tree with it crashing down in their wake!
Decorations, like tinsel, lights and ornaments, are often too much for your pets to resist. Wooden, plastic and glass decorations can easily be ingested or smashed, either way potentially very dangerous to your pet.
Some pets find lights of great interest and chewing on these presents a danger of electrical shock, cutting their mouths and ingesting glass. House-rabbits just love to investigate and have a nibble!

Christmas Dining
Broad Lane Vets, along with many other veterinary practices throughout the U.K see an increasing amount of gastro-intestinal problems in pets over the Christmas period.
An abundance of food on our tables presents a danger not only to our waist lines but to the health of our pets. Fat-laden scraps of food fed to dogs and cats can cause vomiting and diarrhoea but more importantly pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It is a very painful disease which is difficult to treat and can prove to be fatal. Avoid feeding your pet any scraps of food they do not usually eat.

Turkey
Whilst lean turkey may cause nothing more than a tummy upset in some pets the carcass can cause serious problems. Bones from poultry or other meats can become lodged in the mouth, throat or stomach. Cooked bones can often shatter leaving sharp edges to penetrate through stomach and gut walls. Never feed bones, and if your pet happens to eat a bone contact the Surgery for advice.

Chocolate
Chocolate contains Theobromine, a chemical very toxic to pets. Dark chocolate can be fatal in very small amounts. One small bar (50g) of milk chocolate can be poisonous to a small dog, but less than half a bar of dark chocolate could cause serious problems.
Cats are even more sensitive to Theobromine poisoning than dogs!
If your dog happens to steal one or two milk buttons don’t panic, but do be aware that even a small bar of chocolate can be toxic. If your pet ingests chocolate contact the surgery as soon as possible. Speedy treatment can be the difference between life and death.

Antifreeze
Although much less common than it used to be, we still see cases of antifreeze poisoning. The sweet taste of antifreeze attracts dogs and cats to drinking it. Unfortunately it is very toxic and ingestion is often fatal. If you suspect your pet may have swallowed antifreeze please contact the surgery immediately. Clean up any spillages and keep all product out of reach of pets.

Grapes and Raisins
A common toxicity in dogs, grapes and raisins can cause severe kidney disease and may even result in death if eaten. There is much individual variation to the sensitivity, so consult the surgery for advice even if a very small number have been consumed.

Fireworks and guests
Firework displays are becoming increasingly common around Christmas and New Year. Most homes transform at Christmas time with extra guests or visitors, excited children and new objects making their way into the home. Some pets can find this really stressful. At the surgery we can supply pheromone treatments to help keep your pet calm. Make a free appointment to see one of our nurses to discuss this.

Plants
Festive plants such as Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Holly all look beautiful and bring the festive feel to any home. However, all of these plants are toxic to pets and although small amounts are not usually fatal they tend to cause hyper-salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Call us at the surgery if you have concerns.

Artificial sweeteners
These are toxic to our pets and few people realise their danger. Cakes and cookies made with them will have the cause the same symptoms. A recent report warns that the sugar substitute xylitol may cause liver failure in dogs. Xylitol is a naturally occurring product that is used in sugar-free chewing gums, toothpaste, candies, and baked goods. Even a small amount of xylitol can trigger a major insulin release in a dog’s body, causing their blood sugar to drop dramatically. So again resist feeding your pet items that are not usually in their diet.

Alcohol
Keep your half empty tins or glasses out of reach as some pets love the taste. Sadly alcohol in pets can result in tragedy, as heart arrhythmias, seizures, tremors and death can occur in a pet that is untreated after consuming alcohol.

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