Venomous Snakes in Maryland

This is Samantha who was bitten by a snake this morning. Her family got her to us and treatment was started within an hour of the incident, she seems to be responding well to the treatment. Here is more information about venomous snakes in our area and good recommendations –

 The copperhead, timber rattlesnake and cottonmouth (water moccasin) are venomous snakes that can be found in Maryland. During the day, the snakes are most likely to lie underneath objects to take cover from the hot summer sun. Their natural camouflage can make them difficult to detect if they are lying in leaves or brush.

copperhead[1]Timber Rattlesnakewater moccasin

Should you come across a venomous snake, zoology experts from the Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University advise you not to take chances. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake.

What to do in the event a snake bites your dog?
First, let me tell you what not to do. Do not take out your pocketknife and cut Xs over the fang marks! Do not attempt to suck venom through those X marks. Do not grab the snake in a fit of anger and attempt to choke it to death. You may be bitten yourself.

Instead, you should:
• Try to identify the snake by taking note of its size, color patterns and the presence or absence of a rattle at the end of the tail.
• Look the dog over carefully for fang marks, noting that there may be more than one bite wound.
• If bitten on a leg, wrap a constricting band on the affected limb snugly at a level just above the bite wound (on the body side of the wound). This band could be fashioned of a shirtsleeve or other fabric and should be snug but not excessively tight. The compression around the limb will slow the spread of the venom. The dog may lose the limb but that is better than losing his life.
• Start your journey to the nearest animal hospital while trying to keep the dog as quiet as possible.

Preventing Snake Bites
• While out walking, controlling your dog with a leash may be your best safety device.
• Do not allow your dog to explore holes in the ground or dig under logs, flat rocks or planks.
• Stay on open paths where there is an opportunity for snakes to be visible.
• Keep nighttime walks to a minimum; rattlers are nocturnal most of the year.
• If you hear a rattlesnake, keep your dog at your side until you locate the snake; then move away.
• Off-trail hiking with an unleashed dog may stir up a snake and you may be as likely a victim as your dog.
• If your dog seems unusually curious about “something” hidden in the grass, back off immediately until you know what it is.
Above all, be vigilant when walking with your dog in areas inhabited by venomous snakes. It’s not a bad idea to memorize your veterinarian’s emergency phone number, too!

Sources: Poisonous Snake Alert in Montgomery Co. | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/…/Poisonous-Snake-Alert-in-Mon… and
mypetMD “Snake Bites And Dogs”

Samantha’s Update

This is Samantha the next day. Samantha’s doing much better this morning. She is eating, drinking, much more alert and playful. The swelling in her foot has gone down. The plan is to send her home this afternoon, but will need close monitoring and daily vet exams. But overall, looks as good as we hoped for!! She is a very lucky girl!

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Fleas, Pesky Little Creatures

 cat-with-fleas  puppy-dog-with-fleas    

Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home, Step by Step

Is your dog or cat is scratching a lot lately? Have you seen something small and black jump from the sofa onto your arm? Don’t freak out, take charge of the situation.

 

Call the Veterinarian

Is your pet on a flea control program? If they are, read the instructions again. It’s easy to miss a step. Ask your veterinarian what they recommend. You want a product that treats fleas at every stage — from egg to adult bug — and one that works well in your climate. Most flea treatments only take one regular monthly dose to keep fleas from making you and your pets itch. Just be sure to treat all of your animals so the fleas don’t simply jump from one to the other.

 flealifecycle          flea-bites-on-human-side

Crank Up the Vacuum Cleaner

If you rarely vacuum, a flea invasion should inspire a change of heart. Regular vacuuming lowers the number of fleas and flea eggs from carpet, cracks in wood floors, and on curtains and upholstered furniture. It also catches them under furniture. Don’t forget to vacuum the areas where your pet sleeps and eats. Empty and wash the vacuum cleaner canister or throw away bags in an outside garbage can right away so fleas don’t sneak back inside.

Vacuum every day in the parts of your home where you and your pets hang out the most — like the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Vacuum once a week everywhere else.

If you have a serious flea invasion, have your carpets steam-cleaned. The heat will kill the fleas, but it may not kill all the eggs. They may hatch later, and you may have to have your carpets cleaned again.

In really bad cases, you may want to consider treating your house with a flea “bomb” or calling in an exterminator. Just make sure you choose a product that is safe for you and your pets.

 

Wash Bedding in Hot, Soapy Water

Hot, soapy water kills fleas too, so wash your pet’s bedding once a week. And if your pets sleep in your bed or with your kids, make sure to wash everyone’s bedding, too.

It may seem old school, but a flea comb with tiny teeth does a good job of removing these pests. Do it outside, and concentrate on the neck area and the base of the tail. Keep a cup of soapy water beside you. Use it to dip the comb so you can drown the fleas. Once the house is vacuumed and the bedding is washed, give your dog a bath. Bathing your pet regularly will also help get rid of fleas in your home. Make sure that the soap you use is made for animals.

getty_rf_photo_of_family_bathing_dog 800px-Fleadirt

 

Thank you to WebMD Medical Reference for some of the content in this blog.

FOXTAILS

green-bristlegrass_27[1]

I admit I cringed when I was asked to write a blog. Writing for me can be a joy, but only if I am inspired. Inspiration does not come on demand. I was fairly confident it would not be visiting me too often, then, I thought of foxtails. Suddenly, the idea of a blog did not seem such drudgery after all.

 

Recently, foxtails have become the subject of intense interest for us. These only started appearing as an issue in our practice 2 years ago. I remember learning about foxtails in veterinary school 22 years ago. At that time, foxtails were very common in California, where dogs would frequently develop abscesses secondary to the small grass awns which get caught into the pet’s fur and then burrowed into their skin. Having practiced in Virginia, and now Maryland, I never expected to see this disease. Then suddenly, a few years ago, we began to see dogs with mysterious abscesses on their feet and found the grass awns within the wounds.

 

What has changed? I did some research on the internet, and discovered that foxtail is a common name for several grasses which produce a “spikelet or spikelet cluster to disperse its seeds”. These seeds are soft in the spring, but when the seeds mature, they become harder and sharper, which explains the sudden explosion of cases we have seen this fall. But what it does not explain is why we are now seeing them in this area.

 

I wonder if landscapers might be using these perennial grasses more frequently in recent years. While I found many posts regarding foxtails from California veterinarians, according to the USDA, these plants are found throughout the US, except in the gulf coast states. Horbeum jubatum, foxtail barley, is considered a weed, which does not fit my theory that they are the hot new trend in landscaping.

 

If planting foxtails are a conscious choice of homeowners, a public relations campaign directed at informing owners of the risks of their choice might resolve the problem. However, if they are ubiquitous, then educating pet owners about the plant and its hazards is the better route. Either way, word needs to get out to the public.

Nature_Foxtail_Plants_87708_list_thumb[1]

 

I discovered four recommendations for prevention among the contributors to the Veterinary Information Network:

  1. Keep your lawn trimmed.
  2. Keep pets out of areas with foxtails.
  3. Inspect your pet’s body, feet, face and ears daily if they have been roaming outside.
  4. Keep their fur trimmed short. – This one makes a lot of sense to me, especially since I feel that the long-haired dogs have been overrepresented among the cases we have seen.

I also found a link to an interesting product called Outfox (www.outfoxfordogs.com). I have had no experience with this product, but it looks like it is worth trying.

 

In terms of treatment of the pets, we will usually begin with antibiotics and try to find and remove the foxtail if we can. This can prove to be a challenge. Many cases develop lesions on their feet, but foxtails can penetrate the skin anywhere on the body and migrate a remarkable distance. The latter quality makes them dangerous.

 

If you suspect your dog has a foxtail wound, please call our office to arrange an appointment so we can address the problem promptly.

 

Dr. Patricia Ainsworth, DVM

Happy Mother’s Day

Before I was a dog mom

Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort

“Before I Was a Dog Mom”

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I made and ate hot meals unmolested.
I had unstained, unfurred clothes.
I had quiet conversations on the phone,
even if the doorbell rang.

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I slept as late as I wanted
and never worried about how late I got to bed
or if I could get into my bed.

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I cleaned my house every day.
I never tripped over toys, stuffies, chewies
or invited the neighbor’s dog over to play.

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I didn’t worry if my plants, cleansers,
plastic bags, toilet paper, soap or deodorant
were poisonous or dangerous.

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I had never been peed on,
pooped on, drooled on,
chewed on or pinched by puppy teeth.

Before I was a Dog Mom:
I had complete…

View original post 160 more words

Winter Hazards To Your Dogs

  • Winter Hazards To Your Dogs

    Winter Hazards To Your Dogs

Winter Hazards To Your Dogs – What You Need to Know

Winter can be hazardous for dogs and it is important to be aware of the dangers to keep your pet healthy. There are indoor and outdoor winter threats to dogs, especially around the holiday season. As the temperatures outside start to get lower and you prepare for colder weather, it is important to also prepare your dog for the winter. Whether your dog lives indoors or outdoors, there are dangers in colder conditions. Your dog’s health, food, and environment all need to be taken into consideration when “Old Man Winter” approaches.

Indoor Winter Hazards

During the winter, people and their pets tend to spend more time indoors, so it is important to keep the home environment safe for your dog. The following are some common issues to be aware of:

  • Many types of houseplants can be poisonous to dogs. If eaten, these plants can cause problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as other reactions that can be severe or even fatal. It is important to keep all dangerous plants out of your dog’s reach.
  • Burning candles, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and space heaters create the potential for burns and smoke inhalation. The flickers and warmth of a fire can be an attraction for dogs; therefore, dogs should not be left alone in a room with open flames or hot electric elements. When these items are in use, monitor your dog at all times to keep him or her from getting burned or possibly starting a house fire.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning can be a threat to dogs as well as people. Furnaces, gas water heaters, and gas/kerosene space heaters should always be evaluated for any leakage. Because dogs tend to be in the house for longer periods of time during the winter, they can be exposed to carbon monoxide leaks for longer, which may cause serious health issues or death. Checking smoke detectors (and purchasing smoke detectors that also detect increases in carbon monoxide) are good ways to help protect your pets and family.

Outdoor Winter Hazards

Being outdoors in the winter can be a lot of fun, but it is important to keep in mind that dogs are susceptible to frostbite, hypothermia (low body temperature), and other cold-weather hazards. Dogs that live outdoors in the winter need special attention to protect them from the wind, rain, and cold. Hypothermia can affect normal body functioning and produce injury or, eventually, death. Fresh, unfrozen water must be available at all times. If your dog has a dog house or igloo, make sure the interior is insulated. Safe heated mats, along with a good layer of straw, are an option that can help keep your dog warm and comfortable.

Dogs that live outside should be able to come inside when they want to. Old or sick dogs should be kept indoors when possible and monitored closely for signs of illness. Even a dog that is used to being outside can suffer hypothermia and frostbite. If severe winter storm warnings or extreme cold weather alerts recommending that humans stay indoors are issued in your area, it is a good idea to bring your dog indoors, too. If your dog cannot be brought indoors, a garage or mud room can provide enough shelter in some cases.

Chemicals like ice melts and salts, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluids can all be toxic and cause serious complications if dogs eat or drink them. Ice melts and salts can stick to the bottom of dogs’ paws, so it is best to wash your dog’s feet after he or she has been outdoors. Methanol and ethylene glycol, the toxic ingredients in windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, can cause permanent kidney damage and even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if dogs are left in cars with the motor running or in a garage with a running car.

Going for walks in the winter can be invigorating, but it is best to keep dogs away from frozen water. Dogs can fall through thin ice into freezing water and may suffer hypothermia or drown.

Holiday Season Hazards

We all look forward to the winter holiday season each year, so it is particularly tragic when a family pet is harmed during this time. Paying special attention to safety as you celebrate is very important.

  • Christmas trees can be very attractive to dogs. Dogs may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink the water at the base of the tree, which can be toxic (especially if preservatives are in it).
  • Electrical wires can be a serious hazard. Dogs that chew on these wires can sustain severe burns to the mouth, injury to the brain and lungs, and death from electrocution. It is best to keep wires out of reach or taped down securely. Also, lights may become hot and are best used only on upper branches of trees.
  • Ornaments are beautiful for people to look at, but dogs may think they’re toys. Fragile, breakable or edible ornaments may be knocked over, and wire hooks can get caught in your dog’s hair, skin, or—if eaten—stomach and intestines. An alternative to wire hooks is to use loops of yarn, ribbon, or lightweight twine. Hang the ornaments out of reach of your dog.
  • Tinsel can block the intestines if swallowed, requiring emergency surgery. Tinsel also has sharp edges that can cause cuts in the mouth. Angel hair, which is made of spun glass, is also irritating if touched.
  • Gifts should be checked for small, breakable parts that can be easily swallowed. As with tinsel, string and ribbon can cause intestinal injury or blockage. Monitoring your dog around these items is highly recommended.
  • Human holiday foods, like chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, and alcohol, can all be hazardous to dogs. For example, theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate, can cause seizures and death if eaten by dogs. Caffeine (in coffee and chocolate) also causes seizures, along with diarrhea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm and death.

We all want our pets to enjoy the winter and holidays with us. By taking a few precautions and preventive measures, dogs can be protected from many common winter hazards.

More Cold-Weather Tips

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has more cold-weather tips at its website: www.aspca.org. Additional information about toxic houseplants, antifreeze, and other winter toxins is available at the Animal Poison Control Center: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/.

Feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holidays may be festive, but for most of us they are far from peaceful!  Left unattended, pets can get into mischief and serious trouble, so don’t forget to be prepared to protect your pets from these holiday hazards.

Dangerous Foods

Most people know about chocolate’s potential to be poisonous, but also make sure to keep pets away from sugar-free candy and gum (which may contain xylitol), raisins and macadamia nuts (often found in trail mixes, cookies, and candy), grapes, bread dough, coffee, and alcohol.

“Other” Foods

Remember to ask well meaning friends and relatives to avoid giving table food to pets. Plates and food should be cleared from areas accessible to pets.

Dangerous Plants

By now, many pet owners know that poinsettias are not as toxic as once believed. However, mistletoe, some evergreens (like some species of pine), holly bushes and berries, and aloe are potentially toxic, as well as some plants that are commonly found in holiday arrangements, such as lilies, baby’s breath, bird of paradise, daisies, and chrysanthemums

New Treats

Treat-stuffed holiday stockings are fun to give, but you should not pick out any items that are new or different. New treats may cause your pet some digestive up set! Offering only one of these at a time (ideally separated by a few days) can make it easier to track the source if vomiting, diarrhea, or other problems occur.

New Toys

New toys should be checked for small pieces that can be chewed off or broken and swallowed. sharp edges, or other potential hazards.

Indoor Holiday Decorations

Tinsel, angel hair, tree ornaments, ribbons, and string are well-known culprits. But even Christmas trees can pose a danger. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the tree stand, which can be toxic. Decorative lights can get hot enough to burn a pet, so  keep them out of reach.

Outdoor Holiday Decorations

Extension cords, lights (which can get very hot), decorations that hang low enough to be chewed on, and decorations that can fall or blow over are just a few of the dangers that pets can encounter outside. Make sure to  check food-related decorations (like pumpkins and corn cobs) regularly. Pets may eat these items, even after they begin to rot!

Electrical Cords and Outlets

Electrocution hazards include electrical cords, lights and other electrical decorations, and outlets (unused ones should be covered).

Heated Surfaces and Open Flames

Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters are just a few hazards to keep pets away from (or at least monitor when they are nearby). Not only can pets be burned, but candles or heaters can be knocked over and start a fire.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide

House fires and carbon monoxide-related deaths are doubly tragic around the holidays. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if pets are left in a garage with a running car or in a running car itself. Space heaters, furnaces, and similar appliances can also present a risk. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help ensure safer holidays.

Cold Temperatures

Even outdoor pets can suffer frostbite and hypothermia if shelter is inadequate. If pets can’t be indoors during cold weather, ensure that clean (and unfrozen) water and safe, adequate shelter are available for outdoor pets. Pets (particularly cats) may seek warm places that are not safe such as car engines. Fan belt injuries and other trauma can occur.

Antifreeze and Alcohols

Most pet owners know something about the dangers of antifreeze, but don’t forget about methanol, a common component of windshield wiper fluid, and isopropanol, commonly found in hand sanitizer gel, windshield de-icing agents, and rubbing alcohol. All of these substances are toxic to your pets!

Salt and Chemical Ice Melts

Pet-safe ice melt products can be purchased at most home improvement and pet stores. However, pet owners should wash their pets’ feet with a warm cloth after the pet comes in from being outside. The ice melting products can have a caustic effect to your pets feet!

Vigilance Can Be the Best Protection

The holidays can be hectic, but all pet owners should “check in” with their pets at least a few times a day. Making sure the pet is eating and drinking, observing activity level, and (if possible) observing urination and defecation can make it easier to detect any changes. Please contact your Vet if you notice any signs of illness or behavior changes.

For More Information

If a toxic exposure is expected, the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 can be a valuable resource. Visit their Web site (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control) for information.

Feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com