The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. We look forward to sharing time with family and friends, decorating, eating extra special dishes, enjoying holiday music and festivities. Many people include their pets in the festivities as well! There are a just a few precautions that pet parents need to take to keep their pet's safe this holiday season. Dr. Rusty Tracy, D.V.M. lists the 5 most common things to watch out for.
Human foods that are high in fat can be especially harmful to your pets. Since dogs and cats are accustomed to normal to low fat diets, ingesting fatty foods can cause weakness and pain as well as severe stomach upset including throwing up, diarrhea, and severe pancreatitis which is potentially life-threatening. If your pet exhibits several of these symptoms repeatedly, contact your veterinarian right away. Avoid giving your dog ham, fatty table scraps and left overs, and dark turkey meat.
Bones & Other Choking Hazards
Ham bones & turkey bones are choking hazards for your pet. While you may not be directly giving your pet leftovers or bones, many dogs and cats get into the trash. For this reason we recommend that you take your trash out quickly. During this time of year we see an increase in dogs coming in for foreign body removals of disposable plates, silverware, or other items that had food remnants on them.
Chocolates & Sweets
Candy, chocolate, and other sweets that contain xylitol can be toxic for both dogs and cats. Xylitol is just a sugar substitute found in some sugar-free candies, gum and recipes. When ingested by pets, xylitol may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure. Make sure that you put your sweets far out of reach from your pets.
Certain foods like nuts & raisins can also cause stomach upset for your pets. In high quantities, these can be toxic. Keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food. It's also okay to set some house rules for your guests and ask your them to not feed your pets.
Tinsel & Holiday Decorations
Cats are notorious for eating tinsel. This sparkling decoration attracts cats like nothing else, so it's best to use a different decoration for your tree. Tinsel is thin and sharp and can easily wrap itself around the intestines or ball up in the stomach once ingested. Dr. Tracy has had to do several surgeries to remove balls of tinsel from cat intestines. Lights are another thing to watch out for.
Dr. Rusty Tracy states, "You've got to watch out for cats getting up into the tree and electrocuting themselves. They like to chew on those lights! You don't have to get rid of all your decorations; it's just a time of year to be cautious."
Be mindful of where you place your electrical outlets, and if possible, keep them out of reach from your pet.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Ill
If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian right away. If you are in Cypress, Texas or the surrounding areas, you can call us at 281-970-0601. Dr. Rusty Tracy, Dr. Tanner Tracy, and the staff at Tracy Animal Hospital are here to help. For after hours help, we recommend contacting BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
Share our article with others and have a happy and safe holiday season!
Just like people, dogs and cats can have allergic reactions to foods or environmental factors that impact their health. Learn how to protect your pet and be able to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Would you know if your pet was having an allergic reaction? Our pets get into a lot of things that can spell real trouble. Stinging insects, food and other items they might ingest can cause serious consequences. Some signs of a severe allergic reaction include swollen eyes and face, hives on the body, and weakness. If treated early, allergic reactions typically resolve quickly but if left untreated some severe allergic reactions can progress to anaphylactic shock, collapse and sometimes death.
There are numerous benefits to walking your dog! Make sure to keep his or her vaccinations up-to-date, and make walking part of your daily routine this year. Here are just a few good reasons why you should start today.
Dogs need to release energy.
If a dog doesn’t expend extra energy, behavioral issues, such as chewing or separation anxiety, can develop. A tired dog is easier to train than a dog full of energy. Plus during the walks, you can reinforce training such as heeling, sitting, etc. If your pet is a puller, gentle leaders and harnesses can help.
Did you know that cancer is not just a human condition? It affects our pets as well. In fact, cancer is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats. Just like with humans, the sooner the cancer is found the better. During a comprehensive exam, one of the main things we look for are lumps and bumps.
There are few things that will startle you more than discovering a lump or bump on your dog or cat. You may be snuggling or petting your pet to find that there is something there that wasn't there before. Now, not all lumps and bumps on or under your dog or cat’s skin will be cancerous, but there is no way to know for sure without getting your veterinarian involved – this is especially important if the lump is not resolving itself or is growing in size.
Many times the lumps can be “lipomas”, or fat deposits under the skin. They are soft, rounded, non-painful masses, and usually present just under the skin. They are common and usually present no problems. However, A needle aspirate is commonly done and a veterinarian can let you know if the cells are cancerous or not.
In most cases, lipomas do not have to be removed. However, there are occasions tumors grow to a very large size, or are in a location that is causing a pet an issue. In those cases, surgical removal may be recommended.
Types of Lumps and Bumps
Cysts, warts, infected hair follicles, hematomas (blood blisters) and others do cause concern and can create discomfort for the dog, though non-cancerous lumps have less health impact than cancerous growths.
Cancerous growths on dogs can be either malignant or benign. Malignant lumps tend to spread rapidly and can metastasize to other areas of the body. Benign growths tend to stay in the place of origin and do not metastasize; however they can grow quite large, and become difficult to remove (see such an example of inoperable tumor pictured on the right).
How is this diagnosed?
For superficial or subcutaneous lumps, a needle aspirate can be done. In some cases, further diagnostics are needed to determine if a mass has metastisized. Your pet may require ultrasound, CT scan, or radiographs.
Treatment can range from surgical removal to referral to a specialist for chemotherapy and radiation. Sadly, there are times where removal of a limb is necessary if the tumor is aggressive. Your veterinarian will be able to speak with you about the best option of care for your pet.
Take a good surface inventory of your dog or cat today, and take your pet to the veterinarian every year for their physical check- up. Your veterinarian is looking for many things, lumps or bumps just being one of many. If you are in Cypress, Texas, come visit our practice. New clients will get a free comprehensive exam for their pet! Give us a call at 281-970-0601.
What You Need To Know About Canine Influenza
There are many causes of Kennel Cough, both bacterial and viral. As of right now, there are 2 cases of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in Spring, TX. Know the facts and bring your pet to get treatment right away if you see symptoms of CIV.
Here is the story from Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Spring:
"There has been a report of an influenza outbreak in the Southeastern U.S. in the last couple of weeks at large dog shows in Florida and Georgia. It is believed to be the H3N2 variety previously thought to originate in Asia. Some of these dogs traveled from all over the country, so it is feasible that you could see cases.
We currently are treating 2 confirmed cases of influenza in our Spring hospital, and both of these cases were exposed to the Perry, Ga outbreak...."
What is CIV?
CIV is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has affected thousands of dogs in the US. Because it is a relatively new virus, the majority of dogs have not been exposed to it before.
How is CIV spread?
Dogs of any age, breed and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection. CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.
What are the symptoms of CIV?
Most dogs will have minor symptoms, but some could develop a more severe illness. For this reason it is very important to take them to your veterinarian right away. Be on the look out for the following symptoms:
How do you treat CIV?
If diagnosed and quickly treated, the fatality rate is very low. It is incredibly important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care right away. Treatment includes supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections. While your dog works through the virus, we recommend a few of the following tips:
It can take 10-30 days for most dogs to fight the infection. During that time, secondary infections may develop that require antibiotics and sometimes hospitalization. While the CIV vaccines helps reduce clinical signs of infection, it cannot prevent your dog from getting CIV. If you are concerned that your dog has CIV, contact our clinic at 281-970-0601 or make an appointment conveniently online.
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