November 24, 2015
The holiday season is fast approaching and it’s time to talk about some of the common dangers that this time of the year presents for our beloved pets.
Parties with lots of people may seem like a nightmare for a cat and a time for hiding in the back room, but for our dogs it is the perfect chance to sneak some delicious treats. We often see patients post-party time for gastrointestinal upset. They present with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, or inappetence. These symptoms can be mild or very severe and even life threatening. Fatty foods such as turkey drippings, casseroles, or pecan pie to name a few, are especially likely to cause an illness called pancreatitis. This condition involves inflammation of the pancreas which if severe causes abdominal pain, recurrent vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea. It can be life threatening and treatment often involves several days of hospitalization for intravenous fluids and symptomatic care. Feeding our pets cooked turkey bones should also be avoided, as the sharp shards of bone can damage the intestines or cause an obstruction, which can quickly become a surgical problem. Avoid your pet getting gastrointestinal upset by asking guests not to feed the animals, or even by putting out a small bowl of your dog’s normal Milkbones or dog treats so they can safely enjoy the party along with your guests.
Cats may not enjoy the crowds around the holidays but they usually find the Christmas tree to be a fun new toy. Cats are notorious for chewing on the electrical cords of the tree lights, which can cause electrocution and death. Keeping the cords taped to the floor makes them less enticing to playful kitties. Some people need to resort to keeping cats out of the room where the tree is kept. Cats also enjoy playing with tinsel or ornaments with strings. The strings can become entangled at the base of the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string is swallowed. This results in what’s known as a linear foreign body. The string stays attached to the tongue base but the intestines pull on the other end until the string acts as a saw to cut into the soft tissue of the intestines. This is a surgical emergency and should be seen promptly by a veterinarian. Signs to look for include vomiting, extreme salivation, lethargy, and anorexia(lack of appetite).
We often get questions here at Brewer Animal Hospital about cats chewing on poinsettias, a popular Christmas plant. While cats ingesting this plant can develop mild vomiting and diarrhea, the plant is not deadly for the cat. It is best to keep cats from eating houseplants in general, because some can be harmful, but the poinsettia’s poison potential has been blown out of proportion over time.
We at Brewer Animal Hospital hope these tips help to keep your pets healthy and wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!