“Chocolate contains a naturally occurring stimulant called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. If enough theobromine is ingested it can be toxic to dogs and cats,” said Dr. Sarah Nold, staff veterinarian at Trupanion.
Trupanion traditionally sees a high number of chocolate toxicity claims around Easter.
Last year, in the month of April, Trupanion paid $31,757 in claims related to chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and other foreign body ingestions. This includes the fun-loving Labrador retriever who couldn’t resist the big bowl of chocolate and jelly beans he stumbled upon. After an emergency room visit and a $3,000 bill (covered by their Trupanion policy) the dog left the veterinary hospital a happy camper and was safe at home in time for Easter Sunday.
Easter lilies are bright, beautiful, and a staple floral decoration in the springtime. However, lilies are incredibly dangerous to our feline friends. In fact, lily toxicity is one of Trupanion’s most common and one of the most expensive toxicity claims, with an average claim cost of $830.
The toxins impact the kidneys and often cause symptoms like vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and appetite loss. Cats can develop tremors or go into seizures, and ingesting even a small piece of a lily plant can lead to kidney failure and death. Every part of the lily plant is toxic and cats can get sick even by licking pollen off their fur or drinking lily vase water.
There are plenty of other options for those who want to bring some fresh flowers and plants into their cat-friendly home this spring. Look for some cat-safe flowers like roses, snapdragons, gerbera daisies, sunflowers, or zinnias. Many herbs—like catnip—and ferns are also safe for pets and can help freshen the house and keep things green.
It’s Warming Up!!! If you are enjoying the warmer weather now, so are the snakes! As a matter of fact, while driving home, a Garter Snake slithered in front of my car while at a stop sign. Some of my neighbors have told me that they’ve seen Copperheads about.
Venomous snakes injure over 150,000 dogs and cats every year in the US. This data is about 10 years old! So, you can only imagine as we continue to encroach upon their territory, there are going to be more exposures. In our area, the Copperhead is the most common venomous snake; however, there are also Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake, Cotton Mouth, Pigmy Rattlesnake and Coral Snakes in Georgia. In North Georgia, the Timber Rattlesnake and Copperhead are most commonly the cause of envenomation in pets and people. Rattlesnake venom is much more potent and deadly than that of the Copperhead. All of the snakes listed with the exception of the Coral Snake are Pit Vipers which belong to the family Crotalidae. Pit Vipers have triangular heads, elliptical pupils and “pits” or scent glands where there “nose” is (pic. #1).
Pit Vipers in Georgia:
Pit Viper venom contains over 50 enzymes which damage tissue. The snake uses the venom to immobilize their prey and pre-digest the tissue. Basically, these snakes cannot digest food that well in their gut, so venom breaks down the muscle, the connective tissue and the blood before they ingest it. So, the same thing happens when a dog or cat is bitten. The venom starts to digest the tissue and causes the blood to not clot.
Bites to pets most often occur on their face and front legs. Most owners will say they saw their dog digging after something and then hear a loud “yelp.” Soon after being bitten the area becomes swollen, bruised and very painful.
Signs your pet has been bitten by a venomous snake may include:
• Rapid swelling at the site of the bite
• Severe pain
• Bleeding from the fang punctures
• Discoloration of the skin to dark red or purple
• Bite marks—these may be difficult to see because the pet’s fur
• Rapid breathing
• Collapse (inability to get up)
• Pale gums
What to do if your pet is bitten:
• Limit your pet’s activity and keep your pet calm. This will help decrease the venom from circulating throughout the body. The more activity, the more blood flow and faster the heart beats increasing the amount of venom spread in the body.
• Contact your family veterinarian immediately or an emergency veterinary hospital such as MEAC.
What NOT to do if your pet is bitten:
• Do not place a tourniquet above the bite
• Do not cut over the wound
• Do not try to “suck” the venom out of the area
• Do not apply ice to the area
• Do not apply electrical shock to the area
• Do not give any medications
Typical testing and treatment performed
• Blood tests to check cell counts, blood clotting ability (coagulation times), organ function tests of the liver and kidneys
• X-rays of the chest if the pet is having trouble breathing or congestion in the lungs
• Pain medication
• Cleaning of wounds
• Intravenous fluids for shock and blood loss
• Antivenin administration—this is the best treatment and acts as an antidote to the venom
• Supplemental oxygen
• Plasma and sometimes blood transfusion
• Hospitalization and observation
In today’s segment with Dr. Whaley, he and BKP discuss the following viewer questions:
Is acid reflux the same as ulcers or GERD?
Is the expiration date on medication mean it can be harmful if used after the date? Are there any kinds which are dangerous if outdated?
What is the most effective exercise for weight loss?
This segment is sponsored by The Georgia Cancer Specialist.
Dr. Timothy James has been involved in various aspects of the medical field throughout his life. In college, he studied tick-borne diseases and illness of muscle proteins and was considering a career
researching infectious diseases. During his undergraduate years, he shadowed several veterinarians and decided that working with small animals would be his new career path.
Dr. James graduated from the University of Georgia, earning his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2003. From that point on, he was immersed in surgery and emergency medicine. He started his career at a large specialty practice in Indianapolis where he also completed a residency through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
During that time, he also became a certified canine rehabilitation therapist. After several
years in Indianapolis, Dr. James moved to Tennessee, working at the Regional Institute for Veterinary
Emergency and Referrals. It is at that facility where completed a surgical residency program over
Dr. James was most recently a staff surgeon at North Georgia Veterinary Specialists. He
has special interests in surgery of the spine and orthopedics; however, Dr. James also excels in soft
Mountain Emergency Animal Center would like to welcome Dr. James to our team!
Mountain Emergency Animal Center is a outstanding emergency vet clinic located in Blue Ridge, GA. They have a full surgical room, ICU kennels, a blood bank, and they keep anti venom on hand at all times. They are fully equipped to deal with any medical emergency your pet may have.
In this video they do a CPR training to show you exactly what you would need to do if your pet goes into cardiac arrest. This is great information for any pet owner.
Mountain Emergency Animal Center
Serving the Tri-State Area (GA, NC, TN)
Call us at 706-632-7879
Pet Emergency? Read no further and call us right away!
Pet emergencies, like human ones, can happen anytime. Your pet’s injuries and illnesses may require immediate attention.
The Graduation Ceremony of Rescued was held on January 26th at the Colwell Detention Center. Rescued is a joint effort between Colwell Probation Detention Center, Mountain Shelter and Castoff Pet Rescue to rescue dogs who would otherwise be euthanized, while providing a positive impact on the offenders within the Colwell Detention Center.
Each Program participant made an impact statement and it was abundantly clear the positive effect the time spent working with these dogs and the wonderful people associated with the program had made on these men.
I have always thought dog was God spelled backwards because dogs are such a beautiful reflection of unconditional love. This program makes the lives better for so many more than the ones in the program, it reaches every aspect of the rest of these men’s lives, family, coworkers, friends and each person they may ever encounter. I would love to see this program all over the United States.
Enjoy the photos and the full graduation video below.
Pet Safety Tips Brought to you by:
Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you