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Safe, Fun & Healthy Holidays for Feline Companions

Published December 21, 2012 in What's New |
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Here are great tips about having a healthy and safe cat-friendly holiday!

Tip 1
Remember that ribbons and tinsel are tempting toys for a curious feline. But if your cat swallows these objects, they can cause serious problems if they get “stuck” in the intestinal tract or wrapped around your cat’s tongue. Keep these types of decorations out of the reach of your cat.

Tip 2
If you put up a Christmas tree for the holidays, your cat may be tempted to taste the water at its base. Unfortunately, that same water may be stagnant or filled with fertilizers, preservatives, or other chemicals which are unsafe for your cat.

Tip 3
Many of the holiday plants that are popular this time of year are dangerous for our cats. Though poinsettias are generally over-rated in terms of their potential for toxicity, they can still cause mild intestinal upset for your cat. More importantly, holly can be very toxic, as can some types of mistletoe. In addition, lilies can be deadly for your cat and are often found in holiday flower arrangements. Do not leave these plants where your cat can chew on them.

Tip 4
Be careful about sharing your favorite holiday treats with your cat. Chocolate and many other types of foods can be dangerous.

Tip 5
Scented candles and potpourri are popular holiday decorations as well. Though they make our homes smell wonderful, they may be dangerous for curious cats. Even worse, an open flame can easily become a fire hazard if knocked over by your cat.

Tip 6
Many of the decorations we enjoy during the holidays are electric, and the cords can become a target for a playful cat. Biting into an electrical cord can pose an electrocution threat for your cat. Be cautious of dangling cords and place them where your cat cannot access them.

Tip 7
Be sure to spend a little extra time with your feline friend during the holidays. A little extra attention from you may help ease some of the tension of the holidays for your cat.

Tip 8
Make certain your cat has a place to retreat when company arrives if he feels the need. Your cat’s safe place should have a litter box, a food and water station, and a soft comfortable place to rest. It should be a private area where guests are not allowed.

Paying attention to small details can make a big difference in keeping your cat safe and healthy during the holidays, and will help both you and your cat weather the holiday season and start the new year on a happy note.

Coping with Chocolate Toxicity During Christmas

Published December 19, 2012 in Dr Peto Says, Monthly Care Tips, What's New |
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With Christmas around the corner, you’d find that there’s more chocolates gifted than you’d be able t consume. So we are not surprised that there’d be a lot lying around in your residence.

With chocolates readily available, that presents an ample opportunity for furbies to easy access the tasty treat with minimal effort. Most, if not all fur parents know the dangers when your furbie consumes chocolate. Theobromine, a member of the methylxanthine chemical class (which also includes caffeine), is found in varying concentrations in chocolate.

Unlike humans, dogs slowly metabolize theobromine and are more susceptible to toxicity from chocolate consumption. The common body systems that are affected and their associated clinical signs include (but are not limited to):

Cardiovascular – increased heart rate and arrhythmia

Gastrointestinal – vomiting, diarrhea, and increased water consumption

Neurologic – restlessness, muscle tremors, and seizure activity

Urogenital – increased urination or urinary incontinence

The highest theobromine concentrations are found in baking and dark chocolate, while semi-sweet and milk chocolate contain lesser but still concerning levels. Chocolate flavoured commercial products and baked goods have the lowest theobromine concentrations. Fat, sugar, and other ingredients (alcohol, preservatives, sugar alcohols, etc.) can also exacerbate the signs of chocolate toxicity.

Here’s a possible treatment course under the expert hands of your trusted veterinarian :

Emesis induction

An intravenous injection of Apomorphine induces vomiting. If your furbie had taken some food prior to ingesting chocolate, having a full stomach helps to promote clearance of undesirable gastric contents.

Emesis Reversal

After vomiting, an injection of Naloxone is given. It partially antagonizes the effects of Apomorphine to reduce the further urge to vomit.

Antiemetic and Antacid Drug

When the vomiting stops, injections of Cerenia (maropitant citrate) and Pepcid (Famotidine) is administered to further diminish vomiting and reduce his stomach acid level. (respectively)

Activated Charcoal

This black, thick liquid binds to toxins in the digestive tract to prevent their absorption and facilitate clearance in the bowel movements. It should be highlighted that charcoal not containing Sorbitol (a sugar alcohol which facilitates digestive clearance) should be used as there is a potential risk of inducing electrolyte abnormalities.

Fluid Therapy

To promote faster excretion of chocolate’s stimulants through the kidneys and to make up for body water lost through vomiting or potential episodes of diarrhea, a dose of subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids should be administered.

When appetite has been normalised, the defecate produced should be softer/darker (nearly black) from the activated charcoal for the next 24 hours.