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Holiday Hazards for your Pet
Tis indeed the season to eat holly, as well as poinsettias, chocolate, tinsel, ribbon, raisin spice cake, turkey carcasses, whatever is in the garbage can, maybe some leftovers from the table, that yummy foil that has all the fat drippings on it, and oh! How the compost bin smells delicious right now! At Adobe Animal Hospital, we generally see a lull in emergencies and appointments after the summer is over, but then business ticks up around the holidays. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say that the opportunities for ‘dietary indiscretion’ abound, as we celebrate the abundance in our lives. What starts as a heartfelt gathering of family and friends often ends in an emergency visit when the beloved family dog starts throwing up after having been unattended in the kitchen for just a second, or kitty couldn’t wait until Christmas day to open the presents. We have compiled a list of holiday hazards. Please note the list is not exhaustive. That is, the number of ways that pets can get into trouble is greater than the number of pets. Here are some of the more common reasons for a visit to the veterinary ER during the holiday season. Raisins, grapes, and currants – These can be deadly for some pets. Fortunately, ingestion rarely results in illness. However, when it does, kidney failure develops, often leading to death. Please call us right away if you think your pet ingested any of these. Chocolate – The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is to your pet. Most people know that chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats, since they do not metabolize the caffeine-like compounds in it as well as humans do. If enough is ingested the consequences can be quite serious, but fortunately it is rarely fatal if treated promptly. Fat – Makes everything taste more delicious. While not technically toxic, ingestion of too much fat can cause a really bad upset stomach, and more seriously, acute pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is extremely painful, and potentially life threatening. Bones – The main problem with these is when they get stuck in the esopagus causing retching or choking behavior, or make it through the stomach into the intestines, where they can result in a blockage. Stringy Things – A diagnosis you never want to hear from your veterinarian: ‘linear foreign body’. This tends to be more of a problem for cats, but we see it in dogs, as well. The pet swallows the string, ribbon, or tinsel, and it catches on something on the way down. This normally requires surgical intervention to get it out. Holly, Mistletoe, and poinsettias – Ingestion in small amounts can lead to mild gastrointestinal upset. If plants in the holly family are ingested in large quantities, neurologic signs can develop. Mushrooms – They can cause upset stomach in your pet. If your pet is outside, be on the alert for wild mushrooms. If your pet ingests a bad mushroom, it can cause liver failure that is difficult to reverse once it has started.