Springtime Checklist for Poisons

March 20-26, 2023 is Pet Poison Prevention Week. Forty-six years ago the 3rd week in March was designated Pet Poison Prevention Week. Each year the Pet Poison Hotlines keep track of the most common pet poison calls. It is interesting to compare from year to year what the top accidental exposures are. They do not alter much from year to year. A few years ago though Cannabis entered the top 10 related to all the edible products that are now available for humans. With the online sales of CBD oil for anxiety and pain in canines there are accidental overdoses as well. 

It is noted that these are all accidental situations. No one offers these items to pets but our pets gain access to them one way or another. Puppies are the largest group involved because they chew and seem to be indiscriminate with what they put into their mouths. My suggestion is to get down at their level and look around to see what items my be in harms way. Check all rooms that the dogs have access to. Be certain to revisit these actions as the puppies grow since their reach increases as well. If visiting family and friends make certain to do a similar check in their homes and garages. With sheds and garages being open as warm weather increases these buildings are often a source of these toxins. Watch for access to neighbor’s buildings as well.

One common way to get pets to vomit up items they have consumed is to offer hydrogen peroxide orally until they vomit. My Weimaraner a few years ago gained access to my daughter’s gum in her room and I administered hydrogen peroxide orally until he vomited. I used up over 2/3rds of that bottle before he gave it up. I realize that seems like a lot but better to have him vomit then deal with the toxin going into his body. If your pet has swallowed gasoline or a caustic chemical, you should consult with poison control since those substances can cause more burning when coming back up again. I have used hydrogen peroxide to get a puppy to vomit back up a cat ball that he consumed to prevent a blockage as it moved through the digestive tract. Rat poison exposure is another good time to use the peroxide. If the time since consumption has been over 3-5 hours you will not gain anything by having them vomit. In those situations consulting with your veterinarian or the poison control would be advised. If you do not know exactly when it was consumed offering the hydrogen peroxide will not cause any permanent damage but may not be helpful either.

 The Pet Poison Helpline listed these as the top 10 poisons in 2022.

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes and raisins
  3. Xylitol – gum
  4. Ibuprofen
  5. Bromethalin – rat poison that causes brain edema – limited treatment options
  6. Marijuana
  7. Anticoagulants rodenticides – rat posion that causes clotting issues – have a treatment
  8. Vitamin D-3
  9. Onions/chives/leeks/shallots
  10. Carprofen

Item number 5 and 7 are confusing to people. There are differences between the poisons available to rid your home and buildings of rodents. The active ingredients sound similar but are very different in their toxicity to pets.  Brodifacoum is the active ingredient in anticoagulant poisons verses Bromethaliin. Bromethalin is a poison that causes lethargy, weakness, limb paralysis, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death at toxic levels of consumption.  Once this toxin has left the stomach, we do not have an antidote for it.  Please know what you are purchasing and how lethal the Bromethalin can be.

Another source that listed the top 10  poisons in 2021 was the ASPCA organization. This link will take you to their site. I like how they listed the items and gave more examples of what substances are important to consider.  Please take note of the plants listed and maybe visit the link provided to see a detailed list of toxic plants for pets. Many people are unfamiliar with what plants and flowers are a concern for our pets if consumed. Yet we may already have some of them in our home or landscaping.

In February 2017 my blog was about March being Pet Poison Month. I have attached the link since additional information is available there: March is Pet Poison Awareness Month

Spring is just around the corner so get outside and enjoy! Make certain to protect your pets so our children can enjoy their best buddies for years to come!  FYI – the photo is my oldest daughter with Coach from 1992. Weren’t they cute!

Dental Health Month is Here

We made it to February. This is a short month and before you know it the spring flowers will be in bloom! The days are longer and the sun is getting closer to the earth to heat it up! Bring it on!

Looking back at the blogs from the last 6 ½ years I have discussed dental health month 4 different times. Of course, the blogs were about different teeth concerns but it still emphasizes the importance of dental health. I still counsel people regularly about what items to avoid their dogs chewing on. The blog from January 2018 talks about the common issues we see with pet’s teeth that are chewing on bones and antlers. If these are common items you offer your dogs, I would look at this blog:

Read the Post: No Bones About It (January, 2018)

Was your New Year’s resolution to start brushing your pet’s teeth? It is a great time to start during Dental Health month. The February 2020 blog goes through a step-by-step process to introduce this new procedure to your pet. I always encourage people with kittens and puppies to get them accustomed to brushing while they are still young. This is always the best time to start all routine care programs such as cleaning ears, clipping nails, giving bathes, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. This blog also has a nice video from a client who brushes her dog’s teeth. What a difference this has made in their oral health.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2020)

Ever wonder how a dog’s teeth are cleaned. Certainly, they will not just lie there and let us clean the teeth. They do need anesthesia and are required to be still during the entire procedure. We do the dental scaling, cleaning, and polishing in the morning so our patients can go home in the afternoon. This blog talked about the equipment needed to clean teeth. Extractions are necessary if we have extensive damage to the gums or roots present. It makes no sense to keep teeth that are no longer viable for chewing. The reports indicate most dogs and cats have some dental decay by 3 years of age. Check out this blog from a year ago.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2022)

Imagine what your teeth would look like if you did not brush daily. Our pets are no different. This is one daily task that can make a huge difference in the oral health of our pets. The Pet Industry wants you to believe that chewing a dog biscuit or piece of rawhide is all that is needed to keep their teeth clean. I hope you realize that only by brushing are you going to impact their long-term oral health. Go ahead and FLIP THE LIP of your pet! If you do not see pearly whites flashing back at you….It is time to set up a dental procedure to protect your furry friends oral health.

Why is “Pet Selection” Still Important?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 2023 and all this year has to offer for new beginnings. We are excited to be here to assist our customers and their furry friends during this year and beyond. Dr Jim and myself will be celebrating 35 years since receiving our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees. The clinic will be celebrating 40 years of business this year. Dr Jim has been here for 35 of those years. Stephanie celebrated 20 years as an employee and myself, 15 years in 2022. We all feel a connection to this business but more importantly to the clients that we serve and their critters. Whether they are big and cannot come in the building or small and we need a gram scale to weigh them, they all are important to us.

I recognized last year, that I have now come full circle with my time here at Winterset Veterinary Center (WVC). What I mean by that is, I am now helping my clients(friends) say goodbye to those bounding puppies and snuggling kittens I first got to know back 15 years ago when I began working at WVC. This is a first for me. Most of my career I have moved around enough that I never got to this stage at my previous locations. It is heart wrenching but also fulfilling to be here through all the stages of our pet’s lives. Both Dr Jim and myself know that helping a pet pass from this life to the next is as important as other needed therapies.

I have been doing blogs for 6 ½ years now and realized that there are many topics that I covered early on that I should revisit in 2023. I am looking at which ones have been googled most often and plan to adjust or add to the original blog. One topic that is near and dear to my heart is pet selection. I feel the blog is still relevant and needs very little adjustments. I know there are more online tests that can be taken to help someone select the best pet or if it is a dog you are wanting, there are tests to help you select the right breed.

Reach out to your veterinarian and ask for their help in assisting with pet selection. The years of training not only in higher education but also practice will serve you well in finding the perfect pet for its forever home. Many factors are used to help someone decide if they should get a rescue pet or a new pet. How much time do you have each week to spend with your pet? Are you home regularly to feed, water, and exercise? Do you have allergies against pet dander and hair? Are you willing to commit to this pet for the next 15-20 years if it is a dog or cat? How much money do you intend to spend to purchase the pet and care for it each year? These are some of the questions that are important to consider when selecting a pet. The online tests cover these and other questions to help guide you in the selection process. Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Jim or myself if ever you need help in this process. Daily we see decisions that were made quickly without thinking through the long-term scenario. Once the pet is home it can be difficult to return so do your homework first! Thanks for reading my blogs and let’s make 2023 the best year yet for caring for our furry friends who make our life complete just by being here.

Click on the link and read all about the importance of pet selection.

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