With nice weather and sunshine, people tend to find the urge to spring clean. But more often than not, cleaning leads to finding chemicals, rat poisons, paints, and a variety of other items they didn’t know they had that can be hazardous to pets.
Whether you’re cleaning or not, every home has some form of everyday items and substances that can be harmful and even fatal to pets. Knowing and being aware of what is in your house, shop, garage or any other building on your property is the first step to protecting your pet’s health.
Several foods such as: coffee grounds, fatty foods, tea, chocolate, avocado, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes/raisins, salt, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, and any products containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener) can all be harmful and potentially deadly to pets. It is best not to keep them out in the open or in places where your pets can get into.
Typically, most indoor cleaning products can be used safely around pets, but it is best to always read the label and follow label directions. Cleaning products should also always be kept in their original containers and in a secure cabinet where pets cannot get into.
Just like with cleaning products, insecticides should be used as the label directs. For example, if a flea and tick product says for dogs only, do not use it on cats or other species.
The most common form of poison that people think of is rat poisons. Rodenticides should be only be placed in areas that are absolutely inaccessible to pets. Ingestion of rat poisons and other rodenticides can lead to serious or life-threatening illnesses. Most new types of poisons have no known antidote and can be of danger to animals and people.
Although many prescription drugs are used in both animal and human medicine, that doesn’t mean all of them are safe for your pet. You should never give your pets any human medication, over the counter included, unless directed by your veterinarian. Medications should be tightly secured and stored out of reach of any pet in your house. Some medications of higher risk than others are: NSAIDs(ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen), Tylenol, vitamins/diet pills, cold medicines, antihistamines, prescription drugs, and antidepressants.
Other household items
Other household items that can pose a threat to your pets are probably things you wouldn’t quite think could cause them to be sick. Items such as toothpaste, soaps, sunscreens, and liquid potpourri can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset. Moth balls, tobacco products, and batteries can lead to seizures, liver, kidney, and blood cell damage, digestive tract irritation, and even death.
Garage and Yard
Antifreeze and coolants containing ethylene glycol can be fatal to pets, regardless of how much is ingested. Propylene glycol containing ones can still be quite harmful and should be cleaned up and stored properly. Other chemicals that may be stored in the garage such as fertilizers, ice melting products, gasoline, weed killers, and insecticides, all pose problems to pets and should be stored tightly in a safe place out of access to pets. If you treat your lawn with any kind of chemical treatment, pets should be kept off it according to package directions. Granules or wet chemicals can stick to your pets fur and when licked off may cause a variety of problems.
Polyurethane adhesives, or glue, can pose a larger threat to your pet than you may think. Glues containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate (often abbreviated as MDI), can form gastrointestinal masses of glue within minutes of ingestion.
Paint thinners, mineral spirits, and other solvents can lead to severe burns if ingested or comes in contact with skin, and can also lead to severe irritation. Most common household latex paints will only lead to mild upset stomachs, but artist’s paints may contain heavy metals and can become harmful upon ingestion or inhalation.
Ways to keep your pets safe:
If you’re from around here, you probably know that we’re quickly approaching our busiest time of year. But if you’re new to our page, or new to the area, let me quick explain: its baby season!
Most people, us included, tend to focus on just the calving part, but it’s also lambing, farrowing, and kidding seasons too. Lambing is baby lambs from ewes (mama sheep). Farrowing is baby piglets from sows (mama pigs). And kidding is baby goats from nannies (mama goats). Although yes, 90% of our work from now until May-ish, is centered around cows and calves, we do care for other species as well. Mostly because there is greater volume of cattle producers than other species in our area, but also because pigs, goats, and sheep don’t tend to have near the birthing issues as cattle do, or issues that the owners can’t solve themselves.
Issues we see for all species this time of year are prolapses, birthing complications, broken limbs, and being “down”. Being “down” can come from nutrition issues, heavy pregnancies or injuries of some form. It isn’t necessarily a death sentence, but it is something that should be treated with urgency. When an animal is down and cannot get up, your veterinarian should be called. With standard treatments, your animal should make progress in 24 hours. If not, diagnostic testing should be done to determine an exact cause, and a plan should be developed with your veterinarian.
Broken limbs happen, usually due to overcrowding in a pen, aggressive moms, or just pure accidents. Most of the time they can be fixed, with lower limb fractures having the best outcome. Lower limb fractures can be set with a cast and most animals respond with little to no issues and heal in 3-4 weeks. Upper limb factures is where it gets difficult. Because animals have so much muscle mass on the upper part of their legs, you can’t really properly cast them like a lower limb. There are options for treatment though, but they take patience and hard work from the owner.
Prolapses, I’ll just say it, they’re the worst. In a female animal, there are 3 different types of prolapses. Rectal, vaginal, and uterine. Their names basically say it all, but a prolapse is when a part or organ of the body is displaced from its normal position. Rectal and vaginal prolapses should be treated with urgency but it is not an emergency. Those animals should not be kept in the herd as breeding stock for the next season. Animals that rectally or vaginally prolapse will reoccur again and they can be hereditary. Uterine prolapses on the other hand are emergencies and should be fixed immediately. As long as they are treated quickly, cleanly and carefully, the animal should recover uneventfully. Uterine prolapses are not likely to reoccur, and as long as the animal breeds back there is no reason to cull from the herd.
There are a variety of birthing issues that come with livestock. This is called dystocia. Dystocia is considered any birth that needs assistance or results in a weakened or dead baby. Normal presentation for birth is right side up with head and fore limbs extended into the pelvic canal. Any other position that involves a head back or a leg back is abnormal. Abnormal positions can be head back, leg(s) back, head between forelegs, breech, backwards, and sometimes twins. Dystocia is also caused by lack of uterine contractions or uterine fatigue, the causes of which are not completely understood. Other birthing issues are baby is too large, or moms pelvic size is too small, or both, almost always resulting in a C-section. And lastly, issues can be of genetic abnormalities which don’t usually result in a live outcome.
This time of year can be outrageously stressful for animals, producers, and veterinarians (and their families). We truly do enjoy helping bring babies into the world, but please remember to be patient and kind to everyone involved! Happy calving/lambing/farrowing/kidding seasons!
Celebrating the holidays with your pets can be a joyous occasion, but it can also be a dangerous time. Though it’s fun to have your furry friend by your side while wrapping presents or decorating or simply cozying up by the fireplace, sometimes those little things can lead to a bigger problem. Long standing traditions can pose a risk to many pets during the holiday seasons.
Plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and lilies can cause gastrointestinal obstruction and even toxicity in pets if ingested. This can be life threatening and can lead to emergency surgery as well.
Most people know that chocolate is toxic to pets, but what most don’t know if the length your pets will go to find that chocolate wrapped under the tree or up on a counter top. Grapes, raisens, macadamia nuts, onions, and sugar free foods can cause a variety of health issues like low blood sugar and liver toxicity. There are also table scraps and bones, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis. To find out more food that can be harmful to your pets, check out this great article from the ASPCA https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets
They may seem harmless, but to a cat that tinsel looks like a toy. Cats and dogs tend to be curious about new eye catching decorations around your house. Ingestion of things like tinsel, cardboard, wrappings, or ornaments, can lead to gastrointestinal blockage. Not to mention, lights and wires can lead to electrical shock if chewed on.
Pets as Presents
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), around 6.5 million companion animals are surrendered to community animal shelters nationwide, including during and directly after the holidays. Pets shouldn’t be given as a present. They should be made as a family or personal decision. Though the intention might be well, it often ends up the recipient not having time or ability to care for the new pet.
Although you might be ready for guests to come into your home, your pet may not be. Anxious pets can struggle with large gatherings of people in the home. Some options for anxious pets are to make sure they have a safe room to retreat to or board them at a boarding facility. It is also important to make sure pets can run out the door as people come and go. Guests also tend to like to give into the begging eyes of pets and treat them to human food or an overabundance of treats. If your pets do stay in the house during your gatherings, it is best to encourage your guests to not succumb to their sweet begging behavior.
Even though September is quickly coming to a close, we want to touch on pain awareness. IVAPM(International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management) has proclaimed September as Animal Pain Awareness Month, coinciding with human medicine’s Pain Awareness Month. Pain in animals can come in many forms just like pain in people does. Injury, arthritis, surgical, and cancer related are just a few types of pain seen in animals of all types and sizes. There are two different types of pain: Acute and chronic. Acute pain is obvious, sudden, and tends to be distressing. Chronic pain is long lasting, typically more than 6 months, and is still ongoing even after the cause is healed or gone away. Chronic pain in animals tends to be masked as “getting old” and “slowing down.”
There are several different types of treatments varying from pain medications to massage. Physical rehabilitations, laser therapy, and acupuncture are just a few to name.
We encourage pain management in all species, whether it is in small cats or horses and cattle. Our goal is education and advocacy to help our clients understand what their animals may be suffering from earlier rather than later.
If you’re noticing any of the following signs, it may be time to contact us.
We are excited to launch our new website as well as formally introduce you to Petly, the new way to communicate with us. Petly is your pet's story in one place! It's fun, it's yours, and best of all, it's free! You can upload photos of your pets, find important health information, get appointment reminders and find tips and tricks to keep you and your pet living "happily ever after". Simply click on the green "Go To Petly" button at the bottom of this page. Don't have a Petly account yet? No problem! Give us a call and we can set it up for you.