Common Toxins in Pets

We share so much with our pets, our house, our bed and our food, that we sometimes forget that they are dogs and cats and their physiology, and psychology are different than ours. Their are a few food items that we can eat, but our four legged friends cannot, as the owners of Sparky discovered last night.

Dad was treating himself to some chocolate covered raisins, and left the bag sitting on the couch when he went out on an errand. When he returned, the bag of raisins was consumed by Sparky, a rat terrier. Both chocolate and raisins are considered toxic to pets, and Sparky spent the night in the ER.

The top five common toxins ingested by dogs and cats include:

  1. Chocoloate
  2. Rodenticides (mouse and rat bait)
  3. Ethylene Glycol (anti-freeze)
  4. Metaldehyde (slug bait)
  5. Marijuana

Ingestion of these items warrants a trip to your veterinarian for decontamination and treatment.

The top ten human medications that commonly poison our pets are:

  1. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These are common pain-relieving medications we all keep around the house.  Whether you refer to them by brand name (Aleve®, Advil®, Motrin®) or by generic (ibuprofen, naproxen), these medications are very dangerous to pets.
  2. Antidepressants: As we begin to understand more of how chemical imbalances can affect our moods and our mental stability, an increasing number of Americans are now taking these drugs.  Examples include:  Effexor®, Wellbutrin®, Prozac®, and Zoloft®.
  3. Acetaminophen:  One of the most common pain relievers in North America, Tylenol® may be great for us, but it can be deadly to cats.   Dogs are also affected, but often not to this extreme. Dogs can experience liver damage and occasionally red blood cell damage.  A single extra strength Tylenol® has been known to kill cats.
  4. Methylphenidate: This medication is used for treating attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder.  Like antidepressants, it is all too common in North American households, especially where children are present.  Ritalin® is an example of a medication containing methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is also supplied as time release patches.
  5. Fluorouracil: This anti-cancer drug is used to treat minor skin cancers in humans. Discarded cotton swabs used to apply this medication are a prime source of pet poisonings.
  6. Isoniazid:  First line tuberculosis drug with a very narrow margin of safety. Extremely dangerous to dogs.  Dogs will have serious seizures and then enter a stuporous state. Toxic doses:  Five 300 mg tablets are fatal to a 10 lb dog.
  7. Anti-diabetic medications: Glipizide (GlucotrolR)  gliclazide, and glyburide (MicronaseR) belong to a class of drugs known as sulphonylureas. These tablets work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin.  Medications like glipizide and glyburide can cause sudden and major drops in blood sugar of pets.
  8. Vitamin D derivatives: Calcipotriene (Dovonex®) is a form of Vitamin D used topically to treat psoriasis.  It is available in ointments or solutions.
  9. Pseudoephedrine:  This very popular decongestant is found in a variety of cold and sinus products (Dimetapp®, Sudafed®, etc).  It is also a common ingredient as a precursor for methamphetamine. Ma Huang is used as an herbal weight loss aid and is also toxic to our pets.
  10. Baclofen:  Baclofen is used to treat muscle symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal disorders, including spasm, pain and stiffness.

The Top Toxic Plants

  1. Azalea
  2. Rhododendron
  3. Lily
  4. Oleandar
  5. foxglove
  6. milkweeds
  7. Castor Beans
  8. Cyad Palms (Sago palms)
  9. Lily-of-the-Nile
  10. Squill
  11. Marijuana
  12. Mistletoe
  13. Amaryllis
  14. Tulips and Daffodils
  15. Cyclamen
  16. Kalanchoe
  17. Autumn Crocus
  18. Pothos
  19. Chrysanthemums
  20. English Ivy
  21. Scheffelera
  22. Peace Lily
  23. Yew

The Top Toxic Foods

  1. Chocolate
  2. Moldy Foods
  3. Onions
  4. Macadamia Nuts
  5. Avocado
  6. Rising Bread Dough (Yeast)
  7. Grapes and Raisins
  8. Tobacco
  9. Xylitol (Sugar substitute)
  10. Garlic

Other toxicities that can occur are with improper use of flea and tick medications, insecticides, ant and roach bates, glow sticks, toilet bowl drop-ins, silica gel packets and zinc pennies (pennies minted after 1982).

In the event of ingestion of these substances, contact your veterinarian and the ASPCA Poison Center

I hope you find this information useful

Can You Have Allergies And Still Have A Dog?

Many dog lovers simply do not have a pet due to allergies.  It isn’t the pet itself that causes the allergies, but the pet dander that most dogs and cats shed naturally that cause people to have allergic reactions.  Keeping your pet well-groomed may allow you to keep it in your home.

Some people are allergic to cats and cat dander and not to dogs, therefore they are able to tolerate dogs and not cats. Others, like my nephew, are allergic to dogs and not cats. My nephew loves dogs, he and his family actually have four outside dogs. Since the dogs do not live in the home he is able to maintain his allergies and still have a rewarding relationship with his dogs. But what if you live in town and cannot keep your pets outside? Some non shedding breeds of dogs such as Poodles or Portuguese Water Dogs seem to have less dander and are more easily tolerated by people with allergies. For example my sister had a Cocker Spaniel named Charlie that she dearly loved, but Charlie made her eyes and sinuses run; so sadly my sister had to find a new home for him.  A few years later she really wanted another dog and decided to try sharing her home with a pair of poodles. Sassy and Lucky are now a permanent part of her home and she can enjoy having a dog without the misery of allergies.

So it is possible to have a pet in your life and still control your allergies. With help with your doctor you can

Is Your Cat Shedding Again?

If you share your home with a cat, you know all about their shedding and finding their hair on your clothes and furniture. How many cat owners haven’t seen a frisky ball of hair cavorting across the floor just when company drops by? Shedding in our cats is a normal occurrence and we all know about the many tricks to remove cat hair from our clothes when we are getting ready to go out! If the shedding of your cat seems excessive you may want to check with your veterinarian to rule out other reasons for this hair loss.

Seasonal shedding is normal. The best way to keep this excess hair from clinging to your clothes or furniture is to brush your cat and remove the hair before your cat leaves it on you or your sofa. Hair balls can be another result of your cat shedding its hair. When your cat grooms itself, the loose hair is swallowed and hairballs can be formed. These are unpleasant for the cat and also unpleasant for us to find on our carpet or bed. The best way to keep shedding under control is to brush our cats regularly. My own cats really like it when I groom them; I use the Furminator because I have found it to be the ideal tool to quickly and easily remove the loose undercoat.  The Furminator removes the undercoat without harming the top coat of my cats. With regular grooming, I don’t have to worry about my cat shedding again.

Furminator: The Terminator Of Pet Hair

Terminate pet hair and dander floating around your home by grooming your pet with the Furminator! Long haired or short haired, cats or dogs, you will be amazed at the amount of hair the Furminator removes from your pets. This truly amazing tool was developed by a professional groomer and now it is available for us “at-home groomers.” Removing more than 90% of your pet’s loose hair, the Furminator will help the pet lover’s with allergies by reducing the number of allergens released.

I first saw the Furminator used by a local groomer and could not believe the amount of hair that he had removed from one small dog! This unique tool efficiently removes the loose undercoat without harming the top coat of hair. When using the Furminator, circulation and hair growth are stimulated giving your pet a genuinely healthy hair coat.  A remarkable tool, the Furminator is guaranteed to work better than any rake, comb, or brush. Use the Furminator on your cat to help eliminate the amount of hairballs she leaves for you to find. Use it on your dog and greatly reduce the amount of hair on your furniture.

The Furminator is available in small, medium and large sizes, and now there is even one available to use on your horse. How small or large your pet may be, there is a Furminator waiting for you.

If you are ready to terminate the pet hair and dander that is drifting through your home, try the Furminator; you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. The clinic will be closed Saturday thru Monday and back on tuesday. If you should have and emergency, Deerbrook Emergency clinic will be open. You can reach them at 281-443-4900.

Please have a safe and fun holiday, see you next week

Debra Garrison,DVM

Shedding – The Nemesis Of Pet Owners

Shedding is the nemesis of anyone who has a dog or cat living in their home. If there is one reason many people do not own a pet, it would have to be the disgust of having pet hair on their furniture and clothing. My sister and brother-in-law are not pet owners and are totally grossed out when they visit their daughter’s home. My niece owns two cats, and there is always cat hair on the sofa, which really bothers my sister-in-law when she visits. The reality is that pets shed; some shed more than others, but with the proper grooming tools, pet hair on your clothing and furniture can be diminished greatly!

There are many wonderful grooming tools available to pet owners.  With regular use, your clothing and environment need not tell people that you own a pet. One tool that has quickly become my favorite for removing large amounts of loose hair very quickly is the Furminator. This tool comes in three different sizes; the newer version called the Furejector actually has a button to quickly release the hair so you never even have to touch it! Both of these tools remove as much as 90% of the shedding hair with very little effort.  In a minimal amount of time, your pet will be looking great and so will your furniture! These awesome tools work well on dogs or cats, so with a little effort shedding need not be the nemesis of pet owners anymore.

Does My Cat Have Allergies?

How can I tell if my cat has allergies? Is the amount of hair she is shedding normal? What could she be allergic to? All of these may be questions you might ask if you suspect something is wrong with your cat. The best advice I could give you would be to first make an appointment with your veterinarian; he or she would be able to help you decide if your cat had allergies.

Keeping your cat and home free of fleas is very important, as some cats have allergies to flea saliva.  They may have a reaction when bitten. Interestingly enough, ear infections are sometimes indicative of an allergy.

If your cat has developed an allergy to food, you can ask your veterinarian’s recommendations as to how you should introduce new foods to find out which one your cat may be allergic to. Pollen and dusts can cause allergies in your cat just like they cause allergies in people. Your veterinarian may recommend antihistamines if the offending allergen cannot be found or taken away from your cat’s environment. In severe cases of allergies, your veterinarian can take skin or blood tests to determine the allergen and a combination of the allergens can be injected to help build up your cat’s immunity to them.

Hopefully when you find hair floating around and covering the cushions of your sofa, it is due to normal seasonal shedding and you will never have to ask, “does my cat have allergies?”

Bathe That Itchy Pet With Hypoallergenic Shampoos

Bathing your pet with hypoallergenic shampoos is beneficial to pets with allergies. Sometimes we may unknowingly worsen an allergic response in our pets when we bathe them with a soap based shampoo. Have you ever given your pet a bath and then noticed that he was scratching himself more than before the bath? Your pet may be having an allergic reaction to the soap in the shampoo.

Hypoallergenic shampoos are soap free and cleanse your dog or cat without leaving a residue in their coats. Often it is the perfume or the soaps added to regular pet shampoos that can give our pets the urge to scratch. I found this to be the case with my Long Haired Chihuahua named Howdy. When Howdy was about a year old, I noticed that he was scratching himself vigorously several times a day. Thinking I was doing the right thing, I gave him a bath using a regular shampoo for dogs. Soon after his bath, Howdy was once again scratching himself; he could hardly walk across the floor without sitting down for a good scratch. Realizing that it may have been the soap, I had shampooed him with I decided to try a hypoallergenic shampoo. The shampoo I now use on Howdy has soothing oatmeal in it and helps to moisturize and condition his coat. Howdy once again has a silky clean coat with no residue left behind to make him itchy and uncomfortable.

If your dog has allergies ask your veterinarian about hypoallergenic shampoos and soothe your pets urge to scratch.

The Purrfect Way To Carry Kitty, With Cat Carriers!

Carry Kitty with you in a cozy cat carrier. Many people travel with their cats these days, so why not find the purrfect carrier just for Kitty? There are many designs and styles of cat carriers available that will keep your cat content while traveling. While most of us tend to leave our independent feline friends at home, sometimes it is necessary to take them with us; for these times we want a safe comfortable haven for our pets.  Help your feline get accustomed to her carrier before the need to use it arises. This way at least she will obtain some comfort from the familiarity of the carrier.

The Meowme SleepingPod Mobile pet bed is a cozy bed that your feline will feel comfortable sleeping in. Once Kitty is used to sleeping in it, if the need arises you can simply zip the mesh top onto the base of the Sleepypod and your cat is ready to travel. Hopefully some of the stress of traveling will be eliminated if she is familiar with her environment. Another carrier is the Pet Coupe, it too can be a second home for your cat. Your cat will love this carrier and want to sleep in it all the time. Its interior is airy and the pet coupe is totally different from any box type carriers. The Pet Coupe quickly secures into a car seat keeping your cat safe when you travel. These cat carriers are the purrfect choice when the need arises to travel with your cat.

Dog Allergies Are Nothing To Sneeze At

Sneezing isn’t the usual sign of dog allergies. When my dog Yoda developed serious allergies, he began shedding more than normal and scratching himself continuously. This is a common sign that your dog may have an allergy.

Allergies to food and substances breathed in are the two most common allergies in dogs. My veterinarian did some blood evaluation tests on Yoda and discovered that he had food and inhalant allergies, nineteen different allergies to be exact! His allergies ranged from cotton to carrots, as well as grass, pollens, and the dust in my home. Sometimes allergies can be helped just be removing the source of the allergy or changing the type of dog food you are feeding to your dog.

Just like in people, sometimes antihistamines can help control allergy symptoms. Steroids helped Yoda but we had to be careful. When used too long, steroids can have adverse effects.  Since Yoda had so many allergies, it was impossible to remove the source of all of them, so my veterinarian recommended a gradual desensitization to the many allergens that were affecting him. A mixture of all the different things that Yoda was allergic to was developed into an injectable form and periodically injected into him. These injections of the allergens he was sensitive to in time reduced his reaction to them. Because of the secondary infections allergies sometimes produce, Yoda also had to be on antibiotics for a short time.

So if your dog is scratching and shedding a lot, you may need to see your veterinarian to determine if you are dealing with dog allergies.