Snake Bite Risks To Dogs!

Do you know much about your dog’s risk of getting a snake bite? We generally think of poisonous snakes in the jungles of Africa or South America,Snake Bite Risk To Dogs but poisonous are common in North America, especially in the southeast and southwest United States. Although the northeast has less poisonous snakes to deal with in the area they are still here and a concern for pet owners. Coral snakes have short fangs and tend to “chew” venom into the wound.  Vipers have longer fangs that they use to inject venom deeply into the underlying tissues.  In general, poisonous snakes can be identified by their pointy, triangular- or arrow-shaped head.

Dogs are especially at risk of snake bites because of their curious nature and because of the relatively small size of some breeds compared with the amount of venom injected.  In fact, fatal snake bites are more common in dogs than in any other domestic animal.

Timely diagnosis is usually based on an owner having witnessed the bite.  A snake bite is a true emergency that requires immediate treatment by a veterinarian.  The first 2 hours are key, with most deaths occurring during this time.  Animals need to be hospitalized for supportive care, antibiotics, and possible treatment with antivenin, an antidote for the snake venom.  Pets that are doing well after 24 hours usually survive, so long as secondary infection can be effectively controlled.  However, even with long-term antibiotic therapy, widespread tissue damage and scarring can remain at the site of infection.  Tissue damage can sometimes be so severe as to claim an entire leg.

What should I do if I see my pet bitten by a snake? A snake bite is a true emergency, so take your pet immediately to your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center.  Emergency treatment involves supportive therapy for shock and administration of antivenin.

What is the prognosis after a snake bite? Treatment within the first 2 hours is an important part of successful therapy, and dogs that do well after 24 hours usually survive.  However, long-term therapy with antibiotics is often needed to prevent life-threatening secondary infection.  Snake bites are often slow to heal and produce scarring.

Please be aware of aware of what your pets are doing especially when outdoors! Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 874-8880. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

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The Danger of Chocolate To Pets

For a human, a few too many Easter eggs can be seen as a bit indulgent and lead to an afternoon on the sofa in a self-inflicted Danger of chocolate to dogs Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalchocolate coma.

But for a dog it can be potentially life-threatening and, in the most extreme cases, result in death.

Dog owners are warned to be on high alert this Easter and ensure the chocolate is hidden away to ensure dogs are not harmed as a result of chocolate poisoning.

With more instances of discarded Easter Eggs or half-eaten Crème Eggs lying around at Easter than at other times of the year, it is a potential minefield for canines all over the country, and can result in many becoming ill – or even die.

The reason for this toxicity is due to a natural chemical in the cocoa bean called theobromine. Easily digestible by humans, theobromine cannot be broke down by the dog’s digestive system and becomes toxic to dogs, having a serious effect on their nervous system and heart.

As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we’re reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.

Like with most poisons the toxic impact is dependent on the size of the dog.

Heavier dogs are far less likely to be affected by the same amount of chocolate than those of a smaller size.

For example, it would take just one tablespoon of dark chocolate to severely damage a small Yorkshire Terrier, while 5 tablespoons would lead to a Lab becoming seriously ill.

Yet, it is not only the amount of chocolate that can have effect on how badly a dog reacts. The level of cocoa and the darkness of the chocolate can also have an effect. With darker chocolate containing more of the toxic theobromine than milk chocolate, less is needed to have an adverse effect.

Symptoms of concern for owners can be anything from vomiting, to rapid breathing, to seizures and need to be acted on to ensure that there are not more fatal consequences.

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within a few hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours.

Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness.

These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.

In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die.

If your pet ingest chocolate you should contact your vet for immediately. Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com,

Easter Pet Safety And Hidden Dangers To Pets

Easter Pet Safety & Hidden Dangers To Pets

As you and your family prepare for Easter festivities here are Easter Dogsome Easter Pet Safety tips.

1. Easter grass is a decorative must for Easter baskets but can signal danger for your pet if ingested. If eaten it can cause several health problems even death. Easter grass can wrap around your pets intestine and cut off circulation. It can also cause vomiting, choking, constipation, painful defecation and abdominal pain. Instead opt for a safer alternative, tissue paper or real grass.

2. No Chocolate! Dogs can’t resist something sweet to gobble on, including the infamous chocolate bunny. Chocolate contains a highly toxic ingredient known as theobromine, making even small amounts of chocolate extremely hazardous to your pets health. Theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. Although your dog should avoid all types of chocolate, dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations of theobromine making it the most toxic. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling. If your dog exhibits these symptoms please seek vet help immediately.

3. Avoid Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and cats. If ingested can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and can lead to seizures & liver failure.

4. Poisonous Easter Bouquets & Plants. Lilies, amaryllis, and kalanchoe are just a few popular flowers used in Easter floral arrangements. While they make for beautiful centerpieces on your Easter table, certain plants and flowers can be deadly for pets. The Easter Lily is a plant commonly found in bouquets this time of year but highly toxic to cats if ingested. If eaten this flower can cause vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death. Please call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant. Other potentially poisonous flowers to avoid include tulips, calla lilies, daisies, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath.

5. Real or fake plastic eggs can be dangerous. Pets may confuse a shiny plastic eggs for their next chew toy or tasty treat. If they chew and swallow the plastic it can cause intestinal damage which may require surgery. While hard-boiled have a tendency to be misplaced or not found during those Easter egg hunts and can easily spoil. If the egg is discovered days later and eaten by your pet it can cause an upset stomach. Make sure you keep track of the number of eggs hidden and their whereabouts so you can easily inventory at the end of the hunt.

6. Cute Easter toys are not meant to be eaten: Festive bunnies and chick toys make cute Easter basket stuffers for the kids, but may be viewed as a mid afternoon snack for your pet. Small toys are a choking hazard and should be kept away from cats and dogs. Please be mindful of your pets this Easter. Happy Easter!

Please contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. www,fallsroadvet.com

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

  • Outdoor cats depend on people for their warmth and survival during the winter months; special steps need to be taken to keep these cats safe.
  • Holidays are a time for celebration but can pose multiple risks to cats. Lilies, chocolate, alcohol, ribbons, tinsel, and other common holiday items can all be dangerous to our feline companions.

What You Need to Know

Cats that spend time outdoors are exposed to various environmental and physical dangers. In the winter, cats are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia (low body temperature), just like humans. Cats should not be left outside for long periods of time in the winter and should always have the option of coming inside. It’s important to be aware of these risks, so you can keep your cat safe and healthy.

Colder Temperatures

Once temperatures start to dip below the freezing point, remember that any outdoor water will freeze. Cats need a constant supply of fresh, unfrozen water. For outdoor cats that only have access to outdoor water, heated water bowls can be used to keep water from freezing. If an electrical source is not available, water should be kept in a covered, enclosed space to prevent it from freezing quickly. Dog igloos filled with straw work well for outdoor cats, giving them a warm place to eat, drink, and keep dry from the winter elements. Heated pet mats are also helpful and will help a cat retain its body temperature, which is especially important for old or sick cats. It is important to only use heated products that are approved for pets.

Cats that spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter months use more calories in order to stay warm. Giving your cat a higher-quality, protein-rich food will help him or her stay warm and healthy. If your cat has any medical problems, consult your veterinarian before making any diet changes.

Outdoor cats may seek warmth under car hoods and can be injured or killed by the car’s fan belt. Before getting into your car, knock loudly on the hood to ensure that a cat is not hiding beneath.

Even cats that are 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 cat indoors, too. If your cat cannot be brought indoors, a garage or mud room can provide enough shelter in some cases.

Antifreeze

Also known as ethylene glycol, antifreeze is probably one of the most common and dangerous winter toxins. Antifreeze is highly toxic, and cats are sometimes attracted to its sweet smell and taste. Once a cat drinks antifreeze, the toxin is rapidly absorbed, and signs such as vomiting, loss of coordination, and depression can appear within 1 hour. The kidneys are most severely affected by antifreeze, and even if signs start to improve with treatment, they may have already started to shut down. Acute kidney failure can occur within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion of antifreeze, so it is important to take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect he or she has drunk even a small amount of antifreeze.

Salt and Chemical Ice Melts

Cats that walk on sidewalks or pathways that have been de-iced can have chapped, dry, painful paws. Also, because cats tend to lick their paws, they can be exposed to toxic chemicals found in some ice melts. Pet-safe ice melt products can be purchased at most home improvement and pet stores. However, not everyone in the neighborhood may use these products, so it is important to wash your cat’s feet with a warm cloth after he or she comes in from being outside.

Holiday Hazards

The holidays pose many risks to cats. Chocolate, alcohol, onions, and coffee are some of the popular party supplies that can cause health problems in your cat. A common holiday plant is the lily, found in many holiday arrangements. Lilies are poisonous to cats. If a cat eats any part of a lily, initial signs of poisoning could include lethargy (tiredness) and a lack of appetite, but kidney failure can occur within 36 to 72 hours. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant.

Most cats love tinsel and ribbon, which, if eaten, can damage the intestines, requiring surgery. Keep these items out of reach of your cat.

Cover up electrical cords to prevent them from dangling and being mistaken for cat toys. If chewed, these cords could electrocute your cat.

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