December abounds with holiday celebrations, but nothing can spoil good cheer like an emergency trip to the veterinary clinic. These tips can help keep your winter holiday season from becoming not-so-happy – for your pet and for you.
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate, and anything sweetened by xylitol. Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Fatty, spicy human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other, fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic, can cause stomach upset, and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems.
Tinsel can add a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure you hang it up out of your pet’s reach. Ingesting the tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.
Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up in the lights, they are a burning hazard. Additionally, your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through a wire.
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets, and can also cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape proof area as midnight approaches.
Did you know? Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to cats and dogs. If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, they should be in an area your pet cannot reach.
Ornaments need to be kept out of reach too! In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths, or other parts of your pet’s body.
For those buying a live Christmas tree this year, keep the area free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet’s intestines if ingested.
Prevent your pet from drinking water in the tree stand if you have added preservative chemicals. These can be poisonous to pets. Also, stagnant water may contain bacteria, which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
Make sure those cords are well secured so your pet doesn’t make a chew toy out of them. Consider using cord containers or running them through PVC piping to avoid having your pet chew on them when you are unable to supervise.
Never allow your dog to walk on a lake or pond that looks frozen. The appearance of ice can be deceiving, and pets can fall through and drown.
Continue using monthly flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. Pets should take these preventatives year-round. Remember, it’s often easier and cheaper to prevent parasites than treat them when a pet’s infested or infected.
When the weather cools, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood. So be sure you know where your cat is and honk the horn before starting your car.
Antifreeze can be lethal. It tastes sweet to pets and contains ethylene glycol, a toxic agent. So always clean up after any antifreeze if it spills. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze.
Rock salt, used to melt snow and ice, can irritate paw pads. Clean pads thoroughly after a trip outside.
Uneven, icy surfaces can slash dogs’ paw pads, so keep your dog on a leash or dress him in canine booties.
Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings together family and friends, but it also can carry some hazards for pets. Follow these tips to keep your pets healthy and safe during the holiday.
Overindulging in the family feast can be unhealthy for humans, but even worse for pets: Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.
Keep the feast on the table—not under it. Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them.
No pie or other desserts for your pooch. Chocolate can be harmful for pets, even though many dogs find it tempting and will sniff it out and eat it. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.
Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
Put the trash away where your pets can’t find it. A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).
Be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats, but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.
Quick action can save lives. If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435. Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers this year by following these tips.
Trick or treat candies are not for pets.
All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? YES! But preventable nonetheless.
Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick or treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night… a night no one wants to be searching for a loved one.
Keep your outdoor cats inside for several days before AND several days after Halloween.
Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.
Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed.
Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.
Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.
Keep wires and electric cords out of reach.
Most people love to decorate for Halloween, but with most decorations, those come with cords and wires. If chewed, your pet could cut himself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life threatening electrical shock.
Try on pet costumes before the big night.
If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go without the costume. Festive bandanas may work for pets that do not want to be dressed up!
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet has a microchip.
Don’t dress up your pet unless you know they will like it.
Pets look cute dressed in costumes, but they might not enjoy it as much as their owners. If you do dress your pet in a costume, be sure it doesn’t impair his vision, movement, or air intake. If the costume contains metallic beads, snaps, or other small pieces, be aware that if ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Also, don’t be tempted to dye or apply coloring to your pet’s fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to humans, it could still be harmful to pets.
Grapes and Raisins are poisonous to dogs.
Some people prefer to distribute healthy snacks instead of candy on Halloween, such as mini boxes of raisins. These are extremely poisonous to dogs! Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs, and potentially cats. When it comes to your pets, raisins deserve the same pet proofing treatment as chocolate, stored in containers far from their reach. Symptoms or ingestion poisoning include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.
Keep an eye out on those candy wrappers!
Generally when pets eat candy, they don’t bother to remove the wrappers. Ingestion of foil and cellophane can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which if severe, can require surgical intervention to correct. Watch for vomiting. Decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy. X-Rays may be necessary to diagnose this problem.
Glow sticks and glow jewelry can be harmful!
Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these items. While not usually life-threatening, their contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth, as well as profuse drooling and foaming.
Watch those candles closely!
Keep candles out of the reach of curious noses and wagging tails. Sometimes pets don’t realize something is hot until they get burned.
What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition resulting in an excessive amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. This is caused by a deficiency of insulin, which is a hormone secreted by the pancreas.
The clinical signs seen in diabetes are largely related to the elevated concentrations of blood glucose and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source due to the deficiency of insulin.
Diabetes mellitus affects an estimated one in four hundred cats, and is seen more frequently in middle to senior-age cats, and is more common in males than in females.
What are the clinical signs of diabetes mellitus?
The most common clinical sign seen in diabetic patients are an increase in water consumption and urination. Weight loss is also a common feature, and an increase in appetite may be noticed in some cats. Recognition of these signs is variable, particulary because of the lifestyle of some cats. If a cat spends a lot of time outdoors, it may drink from ponds or pools of water outside than appearing to drink excessively from what is provided indoors. Cats that are fed canned or moist diets recieve much of their water intake from their diet, and increased water intake will be less easily recognized in these patients.
How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?
The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is made based on clinical signs, persistently elevated blood glucose concentration, and the presence of glucose in the urine. However, a diagnosis of diabetes cannot be made on a single blood and urine sample because other conditions, such as stress, may also cause a transient rise in glucose levels. Confirmation of diabetes may therefore require more than one blood sample collected over a period of one to five days.
How is diabetes mellitus treated?
Diabetes mellitus is a treatable condition. Although long-term treatment requires commitment and dedication, it can be rewarding to successfully manage this condiiton in a beloved pet.
Initial steps in treating a diabetic cat may involve removal of any predisposing causes for the diabetes. For example, the administration of some drugs predisposes cats to develop diabetes and withdrawal of these drugs may lead to resolution of the condition. Obese cats are more prone to developing diabetes, and weight reduction can lead to resolution of the signs in some cats.
If there are no predisposing causes, or if correction of the predisposing causes does not lead to resolution of the diabetes, specific treatment is required. Although a small proportion of cats will respond to oral hypoglycemic medication, most cats will require insulin injections to control the diabetes.
During the intial stages of treatment, your cat will require several hospital visits until an appropriate insulin dosage is determined. Most cats will achieve initial stabilization within a few days to a few weeks. Many cats will require once or twice daily injections of a small dose of insulin. Small needles are available which cause no pain to the cat, and within a short period of time, the procedure becomes routine. Administration times, dosages, and type of insulin will be determined by your veterinarian.
Do treated cats need to be monitored?
Yes, it is important to monitor treatment to make sure it is working properly and to determine if any insulin dosage adjustments are necessary.
Monitoring can be done in part through the collection of occasional blood samples by your veterinarian, but it is particularly valuable to keep accurate records of the following information:
What happens if my cat receives to much insulin?
If a cat receives too much insulin, it is possible for the blood sugar level to drop dangerously low. For this reason, it is important to be very careful in ensuring the cat receives the correct dose of insulin.
The typical signs displayed by a cat with a very low blood sugar level are weakness and lethargy, shaking, unsteadiness and even convulsions. If a diabetic cat shows any of these signs, it is important to seek immediate veterinary advice or attention. In mild cases of hypoglycemia, you may observe a "wobbling" or "drunken" walk or appearance, and the cat may not arouse when you call or pet them. If you notice any of these symptoms, please seek veterinary advice or attention. If more severe signs are displayed, such as ataxia, or severe incoordination and unsteadiness during walking, or convulsions, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian can advise you on specific emergency treatment of low blood sugar in your cat.
As always, if you have any question or concerns, call your veterinarian today!
Bringing your cat to the vet can be stressful, not only for kitty, but for you as well. Here are a few tips to help the trip go as smoothly as possible.
Step 1: Choosing a carrier
A properly designed carrier can make all the difference when you are transporting your cat. When selecting a carrier, be sure it is large enough so that your cat can turn around inside.
Top loading carriers are often a favorite because they allow you to gently lower your cat into them. It can also be helpful to find a carrier that has a removable top. This is especially helpful at the veterinary clinic; if your cat is too scared to come out of his carrier, the veterinarian can remove the top and examine him while he is still huddled in the bottom half of the carrier.
Soft-sided carriers, while they do look nice, are often more difficult to maneuver when you're trying to get your cat inside because the sides can collapse. These are not recommended.
If you're still having difficulty with carriers, clear Rubbermaid tubs can make great make-shift carriers. Just make sure you poke air holes and secure the lid tightly.
Step 2: Getting your cat into the carrier
It's important to get your cat used to the carrier. Keep it in a common area of your home. Make sure to secure the door open so it doesn't snap shut suddenly and scare him. Put treats into the carrier to encourage your cat to go inside. Also, spraying the carrier with a pheromone spray like Feliway may help to calm your cat. You want him to recognize the carrier as a safe place.
Top loading carriers are the most convenient, but if your carrier does not open from the top, you may tilt the carrier onto its back side so that you can gently lower your cat (back feet first) into the front opening. Some cats like to go spread eagle as soon as they see the carrier, which makes it difficult to fit them through the opening. It may help to wrap them in a towel.
Step 3: Riding in the car
The carrier is the safest place for a cat to be while riding in the car. Please do not allow your cat to roam freely- this is a hazard to both you and your cat.
If you want your cat to become more accustomed to car rides, it may help to take him to places other than the veterinarian. Start with short rides at first, and then slowly increase the duration of the drive. After each successful trip, reward your cat with affection and kitty treats.
Many cats are prone to car sickness, so it's a good idea for them to travel on an empty stomach.
Step 4: Visiting the vet
The carrier is the safest place for your cat to be when he comes to see the vet. It will help him to feel more secure when he comes into an unfamiliar environment.
It may help to do practice vet visits at home with your cat before bringing him to his appointment. Get him used to you touching his face, ears, feet, and tail. This may help him not to feel threatened when the veterinary staff come into contact with him in a similar manner.
Be sure to praise and reward your cat with treats for his good behavior!
The Mostly Cats Staff
At Mostly Cats, we are all about making connections with people and pets so that we can provide the best care possible. This blog is designed for education purposes and is not meant to treat or diagnose any diseases. Please contact your veterinarian for individualized care for your pet.