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.

 

Keep Your Cat Safe in a Heat Wave

The temperature is soaring, and it’s only going to get hotter. Make sure you know how to keep your cat safe in the summer heat.

cat is in the garden

cat is in the garden

  1. Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your cat may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP — the condition can cause permanent organ damage and death. Learn more about heatstroke in pets.
  2. Offer your cat several ways to cool off. Leave a fan on in a place where your cat can sit in front of it, add some ice cubes to her water or offer her a cool treat (check out our recipe for catsicles.)
  3. Let your cat find cool spots in the house. Your cat will seek out the cooler parts of your home, so make sure she has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun.
  4. Play in the morning or evening. Any exercise should take place during the cooler hours of the day. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke. (If your cat has just eaten, make sure you give her some time to digest before you begin playtime.)
  5. Brush your cat often. A well-groomed, tangle-free coat will help keep your cat cool. (Learn more about grooming your cat.)

 

Article originally published by PetFinder.

Top Ten Emergencies in Cats

portrait of beautiful young woman 20 years with a fluffy red ca

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

Kootenai Animal Hospital Uses Digital X-Ray Technology

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The veterinary team at Kootenai Animal Hospital is committed to providing exceptional care to our patients, and that means utilizing the latest in diagnostic technology. We have upgraded to digital x-rays as a part of our commitment to providing the best.

Why Digital X-Rays?

Digital equipment yields higher quality imaging that results in a number of benefits. Because digital technology takes clearer images, requiring fewer retakes and therefore less exposure to radiation for your pet!

When we invested in our digital technology system, our intention was to provide top-of-the-line care to our patients. Our digital technology is a state-of-the-art system allowing us to conduct full-body and complete dental x-rays. We would love to tell you more about our exceptional technology and how it benefits you and your pet. Contact our team today for more information.

Labor Day Safety Tips for Pets

 1. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.

2. Always assign a dog guardian. No matter where you’re celebrating, be sure to assign a friend or member of the family to keep an eye on your pooch-especially if you’re not in a fenced-in yard or other secure area.

3. Made in the shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, and make sure they have a shady place to escape the sun.

4. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing-or even kidney disease in severe cases.

5. Keep your pet on his normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea.

6. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingesting any of these items can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in your pets, and if inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.

7. Never leave your dog alone in the car. Traveling with your dog means occasionally you’ll make stops in places where he’s not permitted. Be sure to rotate dog walking duties between family members, and never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.

8. Make a safe splash. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers.

Source: http://www.dogster.com/the-scoop/labor-day-pet-safety-tips

Car Sickness In Pets

Does your dog throw up in the car when you go for rides? He may be experiencing typical motion sickness, just like some people do. Motion sickness usually begins very shortly after starting the car ride. The dog will begin to drool and then vomit. It’s not serious, but certainly not something that we like to clean up! To solve the problem, first try acclimating the dog to car rides. Do this by simply putting him in the car for a few minutes each day without going anywhere. Then try just going down the driveway and back, and the next day going around the block. Gradually build up the distance and time the dog rides in the car.

Sometimes this will help to decrease the dog’s anxiety over riding in the car and may help to decrease vomiting. If that doesn’t work, there are some over-the-counter medications you can try. The medication will need to be given about an hour before the car ride. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation as to what drug to try and the dosage for your pet.

 

(Never give any medications to your pet without your veterinarian’s advice!) These drugs are safe, with drowsiness usually the only major side effect. But since your dog isn’t driving the car, that shouldn’t be a problem! If over-the-counter drugs don’t work, your veterinarian may be able to suggest another method for curing the car sickness.

 

Source: http://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/dog_care/general_health/car_sickness.aspx