Spring has sprung!

Spring has officially sprung! As we enter spring it is wise to remain vigilant as there are lots of potential consumable hazards at home and in the wider environment.
Spring brings pretty flowers and longer dog walks as the weather improves. Spring bulbs can be very appealing to dogs but can cause a nasty tummy upset and in some instances where large quantities are consumed, they can be fatal. Sometimes intoxication of bulbs can result in a skin rash. Tulip, daffodil and hyacinth are all ones to keep an eye on.

Over winter, anti-freeze is a concern, for our cats especially. However, as we reach summer, lilies start to arrive and these are also very toxic to our feline friends. Even if they don’t chew the plant itself, brushing up against the plant can leave residues of pollen, which when the cat grooms will become ingested. Like anti-freeze, lilies damage cats’ kidneys so possible signs of intoxication are vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, depression and neurological signs (for example in-coordination or seizures).

As with any potential intoxication, it is imperative you ring the surgery for veterinary advice as soon as possible after the event. If you are worried about plants in general and which ones are toxic and need some advice, please also feel free to call us. We are always happy to help!

Foreign bodies – what do we do?

We all love our house to be clean, but sometimes this can present a hazard to our pets as well as ourselves! Plastic bottles of cleaning products can look like fun chew toys to dogs, however they can have residual product in them that can be very harmful. Bleaches can burn mouths and skin and can be very damaging if they get into eyes. Emergency treatment involves washing products off skin and out of mouth and seeking urgent veterinary attention.

By Spring your dog will have probably managed to get that squeaker out of their new Christmas toy. Some dogs can be daft enough to swallow those squeakers or any other small items! We refer to these as foreign bodies. You may not notice these things being eaten or missing so often these pets will present with lethargy and persistent vomiting (because the foreign object is blocking the way through the stomach or the guts). We usually advise x-rays in these cases because often we can see clues for a blockage. If the blockage does not look like it will pass we usually have to perform surgery to remove the offending articles. It is most usual for dogs to eat abnormal non-food items, however the author’s first “foreign body surgery” was to remove a small conker from a cat’s intestine!

If your animal is brought to a veterinary surgery within 3 hours (as soon as possible) of swallowing something abnormal we will usually induce vomiting to try and get as much of it out as possible. (There are some exceptions to this rule). The drug that is used to make dogs vomit can also cause them to feel drowsy afterwards. The author has even seen dogs fall asleep in between vomiting! If we are satisfied most of the foreign material has come out and it has been very recently ingested we will usually discharge your animal with some activated charcoal. Activated charcoal mops up any toxin that might be left to prevent it from being absorbed. If we are concerned the toxin has been absorbed we usually advise hospitalising your pet for a minimum of 24 hours on fluid therapy to help “flush out” the toxin. There are rarely any anti-toxins so treatment is usually symptomatic and supportive. All vets have access to a Veterinary Poisons Service where there is a huge database of all potential toxins. In cases of unusual intoxication we can ring this service for advice.