5 Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Post Falls, ID

America’s favorite winter holidays are just weeks away! We know you’re busy shopping, decorating, and party planning, so we wanted to remind you of a few things to keep your pet safe this holiday season. Consider the following five pet holiday safety tips from Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls. We hope you both have a holly jolly season and a wonderful new year with your pet!

Tinsel and Garland Safety

As you decorate your tree, keep in mind that there are certain decorations like tinsel and garland that can be dangerous to your pet if ingested. This is especially important to remember if you have a cat, since cats are known to be drawn to shiny, stringy items. If ingested, these decorations can pose an obstruction hazard, which may require surgery to correct. So either avoid buying these decorations altogether or keep them in an area where your pet can’t access them.

Keep Pets Away from Christmas Tree Water

Many pet owners opt for real Christmas trees, unaware of the potential dangers that they can create for their pets. To a thirsty pet, a bucket of Christmas tree water is just another harmless bowl of water to slurp up. But if that water contains toxic agents like preservatives and pesticides (often used to keep the tree fresh), drinking it can be very dangerous to a pet. If you have a real Christmas tree in your home, use a tree skirt to cover the water to eliminate any temptation for your pet to drink it. Also make sure to leave plenty of water in your pet’s bowl to keep them hydrated.

Dangers of Holiday Plants

Mistletoe, holly, and lilies are just a few of the seasonal plants that are toxic to pets. If ingested, these plants can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and even kidney failure if treatment isn’t sought. So either keep these plants out of your pet’s reach or choose artificial plants instead. If ever you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic plant or any other toxic substance, call Kootenai Animal Hospital at (208) 77-6000 or your local emergency veterinary hospital for an after-hours emergency.

Keep Electrical Cords Out of Your Pet’s Reach

If you have a curious pet, don’t string the bottom of your Christmas tree with lights, since many pets are known to paw at twinkling lights or chew on them. Chewing on electrical cords and lights can cause electric shocks and even mouth burns. Keep those Christmas lights out of your curious pet’s reach, or opt for a fiber optic tree instead.

Dangers of Fatty Foods and Table Scraps for Pets

We know you might be tempted to share your holiday meals with your pet, but before you do, keep in mind that there are certain foods that can be dangerous for them. Fatty foods like bacon, sausage, and poultry skin are on the list. These and other fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. They can also contribute to weight gain and obesity. So as a rule of thumb, avoid feeding your pet any fatty table scraps from your holiday feasts.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many because it’s a time when we get together with loved ones, give thanks, watch football, and, of course, FEAST! We want your four-legged friends to enjoy this time of year, too, but we also want them to be safe from the food and weather-related dangers. Consider the following Thanksgiving pet safety tips by Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls, ID to make your turkey day with your dog or cat a happy one.
Thanksgiving Pet Safety in Post Falls

Good Table Food vs. Bad Table Food

With those big eyes staring up at you and that soft chin resting on your knee, it can be hard to resist giving your pet some scraps from your Thanksgiving dinner. Although there are some table foods like green beans and other green veggies that are harmless to pets there are others that aren’t, so it’s important to know the difference. Remember to check your trash can to make sure it’s securely closed and inaccessible by your pet, so they don’t go digging for scraps.

Turkey: Turkey is a lean protein that provides many health benefits to both pets and people, so feel free to share a few scraps with your fur baby. Just be sure to give them only the white meat and to remove any excess skin or fat. Too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis, which can leave your pet in pain. It’s also important not to feed your pet any turkey with bones in it, since bones can lead to digestive and obstruction issues.

Mashed Potatoes: If not prepared with a great deal of dairy products like cheese, butter, or sour cream, potatoes are typically safe to feed to your pet. The gravy, however, is not, due to its high fat content.

Onions: Onions and other alliums (garlic, scallions, etc.) are also a no-no for pets. In large amounts, these foods can be toxic to your pet and can affect the red blood cells, leading to anemia, so if you’re feeding your pet scraps, make sure they’re free of these ingredients.

Sweet Foods: On the list of sweet foods that should never be fed to dog or cats are grapes, raisins, chocolate, and food with xylitol (sugar substitute). These foods contain toxic ingredients that can cause a number of health problems for your pet, including vomiting, diarrhea, hypoglycemia, and even kidney failure.

Cold Weather Safety

Here in Idaho, late fall temps can get pretty chilly, so we at Kootenai Animal Hospital want to remind you to keep your pet warm and healthy during the cooler months of the year. Of course, the one obvious way to keep your pet warm is to keep them indoors and limiting their playtime and walk time outdoors when temps are frigid. You may even want to consider purchasing a dog or cat sweater to provide your pet with an extra layer of warmth and protection, especially if you have a hairless or short-haired pet.

Another potential cold weather danger is antifreeze. Many antifreeze products are made with ethylene glycol, which creates a sweet smell and taste. This is what attracts so many animals to it and causes them to drink it, but ingesting even a couple table spoons can be deadly. To protect your pet, switch to an antifreeze brand that’s made with propylene glycol, which, although still dangerous if ingested, is much less toxic. You can also simply be mindful of any antifreeze spills in your garage or driveway, and make sure the containers are properly sealed and stowed away, out of your pet’s reach.

If you ever suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze or a toxic food, or if you have any questions about these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, contact Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls at (208) 773-6000.

 

Pet Safety For Halloween

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Holmdel, NJ

The Halloween season may be fun for us but there are many seasonal dangers that can affect our furry friends. The veterinary team at Kootenai Animal Hospital is committed to keeping our patients safe and healthy during the Halloween season and we’re here to be your partner in your pet’s care. Explore some of the most common Halloween season dangers detailed below, and as always, contact us immediately to speak to Dr. Rogers and the team if you have any questions or if you suspect that your pet is in an emergency situation. Prompt treatment is often the best means of getting your pet back on the road to good health as quickly as possible.

Jack-o-Lanterns, Candles, and Fires, Oh My!

Jack-o-Lanterns are some of the most popular Halloween decorations, and while they can be cute, they can also be quite dangerous! Anytime lit candles are within your pet’s reach, precautions should be taken to ensure that your pet stays safe. We recommend using battery operated candles in your carved pumpkins so that if they are knocked over by your pet, the danger of hot wax and burns is eliminated.

Bonfires can also be dangerous for our pets, especially when they spark. Our pets may not realize how dangerous a fire is and can venture too close, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet and make sure they are always supervised around fires.

Sweet Poison: The Danger of Halloween Candy For Pets

Candy, especially sugar-free candy and chocolate, are extremely dangerous for our pets if consumed! These treats contain ingredients that can be toxic for them. If your pet eats any candy, please contact our team right away so we can assess the situation and determine if your pet needs immediately treatment.

Halloween Costume Dangers for Pets

This may not seem like a real danger, but trust us, Halloween costumes have been known to cause many hazards for our pets! If you’re dressing your pet up for Halloween, t’s so important to ensure that your pet is comfortable in their costume and isn’t struggling to get out of it, which can cause them to injure themselves. Never keep your pet in costume if they are unattended and always keep an eye on the situation, watching for signs of discomfort or irritation.

 

Top Ten Emergencies in Cats

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs and symptoms of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by their owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally deadly if left untreated. Knowing what signs to look for is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition which may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats very vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often not aware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to their feline companions. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

 

The signs your cat displays depends on what type of poison they have encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cats blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in urine or stool.

Breathing Problems

Many times cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be very late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes but the most common are feline asthma, heart or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

As you know cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), however, you may not know the serious danger that strings can pose to your cat. When a string is ingested, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the remaining string passes farther into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible from your pet.

Most times emergency surgery is necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang”, teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in several days after the injury.

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so that your veterinarian may thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics for your pet. Occasionally the wounds will develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to help with healing.

Hit by car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common reasons for your pet to suffer traumatic injuries such as broken bones, lung injuries and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle even if he or she appears normal as many injuries can develop or worsen over the next few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these signs are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s signs. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important as the sooner your pet receives treatment, the better their chances for recovery. Many times exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

Sudden inability to use the hind legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. Many times these clots can lodge in a large blood vessel called the aorta where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of their hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

On arrival at the emergency room, your pet will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that their cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require life-long treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. Upper respiratory infections, or URIs, often cause sneezing, runny noses, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, they can cause ulcers in the mouth, tongue, and eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments such as shelters. Small or poor-doing kittens are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications such as low blood sugar.

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common causes are increased blood pressure (hypertension) that may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to try to lower the pressure and restore vision.

Anytime you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether they lose vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

Pyometra

Pyometra: An Overview

The word pyometra is derived from the Latin words “pyo” meaning pus and “metra” meaning uterus. Thus pyometra literally means pus filled uterus and that is exactly what the condition is. The infection normally occurs in middle-aged or older, non-spayed female dogs. Symptoms normally will present 4-6 weeks after a female dog has been in heat. There are two types of pyometra, closed and open. In open pyometra the cervix of the animal remains open while in closed pyometra the cervix is closed. Closed pyometra is more severe due to the fact that there is no way for the uterus to drain the infection inside it.

chihuahuas and rottweiler

Causes of Pyometra

The main causes of pyometra are hormonal and structural changes in the lining of the uterus. Over many heat cycles the lining of the uterus thickens and in some instances this can become persistent. When the lining becomes persistent it is termed cystic endometrial hyperplasia. This persistent thick lining provides a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Under normal circumstances the uterus is free of any bacteria. When the bitch is in heat the cervix is open and bacteria from the vulva can travel up into the uterus. Once there, the bacteria can thrive and will eventually lead to the uterus filling with pus. The main bacterium associated with this infection is E. coli. Estrogen injections given to prevent pregnancy in bitches that have been accidentally bred increase the risk of developing pyometra greatly and should be avoided.

Preventing Pyometra

Pyometra can be prevented by having your female pets spayed early in their life.

Symptoms of Pyometra

Clinical signs of pyometra vary from case to case but can include:

  • not eating
  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • increased water intake
  • increased urination

In open pyometra there may be a pussy white or green colored discharge from the vulva. There may also be a foul smell being emitted from the vulva. In cases of closed pyometra the abdomen may look bloated or swollen due to the uterus being filled with pus. Clinical signs are not normally seen until the condition is in the late stages. Pyometra can progress rapidly and even cause shock or death due to toxins being leaked through the uterine wall into the abdomen of the bitch.

Care for Dogs with Pyometra

If your animal has been diagnosed with pyometra it is very important to follow you veterinarian’s instructions carefully. If antibiotics are prescribed be sure to give the correct dose at the intervals specified. Always complete the round of antibiotics given. Do not stop giving them because your dog acts better. Following treatment the bitch should be monitored and her activity restricted. Encourage your dog to eat and drink to keep them hydrated. Any abnormal signs observed should be reported to your veterinarian and a follow up appointment should be scheduled.

Contact Kootenai Animal Hospital at (208) 773-6000 with any questions you may have.

 

Source: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/disease-information/pyometra.html