Holidays Can be Dangerous for Pets

animal hospital mckinney txThe Christmas holiday season is a festive, busy time. It’s a hustle-bustle period of visiting friends and relatives; plenty of noise and activity; decorations throughout the house that include lights, ornaments and tinsel. Bright lights, various plants, and foods of all description are plentiful as people celebrate the season. Our pets usually tolerate this time of year well and some even enjoy it. However there are holiday dangers that can pose risks to some of our pets.
Many animals are intrigued by the décor on trees and around the house, and find tinsel particularly fascinating — sometimes mistaking the shimmering strands for string. If swallowed, tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage we call a “string foreign body.” The intestines are unable to push the tinsel along, which leads to dangerous consequences that require surgical intervention at our animal hospital McKinney, TX.

Ornaments may be knocked off the tree and chewed by pets, causing painful oral lacerations, tearing of the esophagus, and damage to the stomach and intestinal tract.
Some pets, especially young dogs, cats, and rodents such as rabbits and hamsters risk electrocution when they chew on electrical wiring. The results can be sores at the corners of the mouth, oral lesions, and sometimes pulmonary damage. If lung tissue is affected, fluid buildup must be treated at our animal hospital McKinney, TX.

One of the chemicals in glow-in-the-dark jewelry may have the potential to cause respiratory paralysis in cats if enough of the compound is ingested. Because this chemical has a bitter taste, cats usually only take in small amounts that can cause heavy salivation, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior which lasts for several minutes. It can be helpful to give the cat small amounts of milk, canned food, or tuna juice to dilute the chemical in its mouth. Wash off any of the chemical that might be on the cat’s coat and flush the eyes with water if there has been ocular exposure. There is no known antidote for the chemical; cats that have ingested large quantities should be taken to our animal hospital McKinney, TX right away for close monitoring and supportive treatment.

Plants decorating the home may also prove hazardous, especially to puppies and kittens. Young ones tend to eat practically anything; ferrets and rabbits are also well-known chewers.

Poinsettias have long been associated with special risk, but have more recently been proven to be generally safe, causing at worst only minor physical discomfort and mild nausea.

The holly plant can be poisonous if enough of the berries are eaten. Symptoms can include GI upset, along with vomiting and diarrhea.

Berries of the American Mistletoe cause hyper-salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, increase in urination, and elevated heart rate. Severe cases can even proceed to shock without prompt treatment from an animal hospital McKinney, TX.

Always assume that a plant is toxic until proven otherwise, and be very careful about allowing your pet to nibble on them. If your pet ingests a plant, call our animal hospital McKinney, TX and provide the name of the plant, how much was eaten, and how long ago it occurred. You may be advised to induce vomiting, but never do so with an animal that has breathing difficulty, altered heart rate, is losing consciousness, or has seizures.
Chocolate toxicity usually results from overeating candy. Several chemicals in chocolate (known as methylxanthines) affect the digestive and nervous systems of the unwary sweet tooth. Pets become agitated and hyperactive, may vomit, and develop elevated heart and breathing rates. This can lead to abnormal heart beats, tremors, seizures and coma. No direct antidote exists for methylxanthines, so veterinary consultation at an animal hospital McKinney, TX is very important in these cases.

Animals in Texas are not acclimated to cold weather, so they must be protected from extreme weather conditions accordingly. Cold temperatures affect the sick, elderly, and young animals most acutely, but adequate shelter from wind, rain, and snow must be made available for all pets exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Holiday leftovers, especially fatty foods, are often the culprits that cause problems with the stomach, intestinal tract, pancreas and liver. Pancreatitis is a painful condition that often requires hospitalization for intravenous fluid therapy along with a host of other medications. If your pet develops vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or becomes lethargic after ingesting foods from the holiday table, contact your veterinarian.

During the holidays we also see an increased incidence of seizure activity in animals so predisposed. Seizures may be caused by a wide variety of maladies, including many diseases, but the majority of cases are diagnosed as epilepsy. Epileptic patients are more at risk at this time of year, because blinking lights, excitement, anxiety, and elevated activity levels in the home can all serve as triggers. Owners with epileptic pets should be aware of and attempt to control factors that can stimulate their pets’ seizure activity.
Thoughtful preparation for the special perils that exist during this time of year can go a long way toward keeping our pets safe. The Central Texas Poison Center can be reached at 1-800-764-7661 (1-800-POISON-1). The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at 1-800-548-2423.

animal hospital mckinney tx
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
5913 Virginia Parkway
McKinney, Texas 75071

Photo Credit: © willeecole

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