Pet Dangers and Toxins for the Fall Season!

Hi Everyone!  Well Labor Day has come and gone and the white pants have been put away, the summer weekend trips to the Beach have come to a halt, the kids are back in school, and cinnamon spice candles and fall decorations cover the house (well my house)!  With the autumn time comes common pet emergencies that I see at my animal hospital.  Today, I wanted to take a moment to prepare everyone for the common fall pet emergencies and toxins.

Football Parties and Food. It’s officially football season, and we certainly love hosting.  I see a lot of upset stomachs during the fall because of table scraps and foods that guests give pets.  Dogs and cats are used to eating the same food everyday.  Their gastrointestinal tracts develop a natural flora or bacteria that specifically digests their regular food.  When they get something that they aren’t normally accustomed to, such as nachos and chicken wings, they can develop severe inflammation with vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis.  In addition to foreign foods, many of foods in large quantities are toxic to our pets, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins. Grapes and raisins are safe for cats, but keep onions and garlic away from them.  Some foods can present a risk for choking, such as corn on the cob, fruits with pits, foods with bones, toothpicks, or skewers.  I have surgically removed all of these items, which can be very costly and stressful. Make sure to talk to your guests, especially kids, before parties and remind them to not feed your pets any food.  You want to enjoy the party too, not spend it looking after a pet with an upset stomach.

Mushrooms.  There are certain types of mushrooms that can be toxic for our pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, tremors, seizures, and possibly liver and kidney diease.  Amanita phalloides is a mushroom found throughout the United States which can be difficult to identify.  I tell my clients to avoid all mushrooms and consider them toxic until proven otherwise.  Make sure to check your yards for any wild mushrooms, and scour the area when you take your pets for a walk.

Mothballs.  Mothballs contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, which cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, possible kidney or liver failure, and severe abnormality of your pet’s red blood cells.  If you use mothballs, please make sure they are well out of the reach of your pets.

Antifreeze.  Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste and our pets love to lick it. Antifreeze is extremely dangerous if ingested and is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets.  As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs, depending on the size of animal, can be fatal.  Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, lethargy, and acute kidney failure.  Please click here to learn more about antifreeze and other garage hazards.

Rodenticides.  There are  several different types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients.  Many of these mouse and rat baits are toxic and can be deadly if ingested.  If your pet ingests any rodenticides, bring them to your veterinarian immediately. Try and take the label or box that the rodenticide came with so your veterinarian can assess the active ingredient and whether it is toxic.  When placing rodenticides, it is imperative to keep them away from your pets!

Compost bins or piles.  Piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding food products in your backyard compost pile have the potential to contain “tremorgenic mycotoxins,” meaning molds which cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours.

Happy fall everyone!  I hope this helps to prepare and keep your pets safe and out of harms way!

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