October 2018: Vet's Advice
Autumn is certainly here now and a time to remind pet owners of some of the specific dangers for the season.
Warm weather and moist days can lead to growth of fungi and molds. The UK has many species of fungi and it can be very difficult to identify them. As a rule do not let your pet eat any moldy foodstuffs or any fungi. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems with vomiting and diarrhoea through to severe liver and kidney damage.
Conkers are to be found in plenty locally, if dogs eat these then they will cause salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea which can lead to dehydration.
As the firework season approaches so the calls to the Veterinary Poisons helpline increase with enquiries about firework eating dogs! Dogs will eat almost anything including fireworks and even sparklers! Some of the contents of fireworks can cause abdominal discomfort and mouth irritation and in more severe cases vomiting and diarrhoea that may be bloody and require hospitalisation for treatment.
Burger vans at firework displays are a source of dropped onions that are very tasty for dogs to hoover up. All onion species are toxic to dogs and signs may take up to a few days to appear causing gastrointestinal signs and an anaemia. Treatment is usually successful but as the signs can take a few days to appear often the owner may have forgotten about the possibility of eating onions or may have been unaware of the ingestion in the first place.
Luminous bracelets and sticks are now also a feature of Halloween and firework parties. Dogs can mistake them for chew or throw toys and will bite them to be exposed to the chemicals within. The chemicals are usually of low toxicity but can still cause frothing at the mouth as they are irritant and sometimes hyperactive behaviour. If eaten they can cause a gastric upset and beware of eye or skin contact with the chemicals as the irritant nature can cause problems.
And we can never remind often enough about the dangers of Antifreeze! Even the very smallest amount, less than a teaspoonful, can be a fatal dose particularly to cats. It seems that cats are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze and will lick it from the ground if spilt. Antifreeze causes a very rapid kidney failure which often is fatal. Please be careful when putting antifreeze into your car not to spill any and after use check that the lid is securely on the bottle and it is stored safely.
Finally as the darker evenings are here it is time to buy your cat a luminous collar if he likes to be out at night. For dogs we now have a wonderful range of high-viz collars and reflective ‘Proviz’ dog coats available as well as flashing lights for collars. Be safe, be seen, as they say!
If you want any further advice please do call in and see us at Animal Health Centre and we will be pleased to help you. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning out of normal surgery opening hours, call the Animal Poison Line, 01202 509000. There is a fee for this service but for peace of mind it is invaluable.