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St Anne's Veterinary Group Blog

» Christmas Hazards

It's Christmas time! We're already seeing the mince pie and chocolate poisonings coming in. But it surprises me how each year I speak to people in my school talks, in the park, chatting to clients in reception who still don't know about the common poisons we find at Christmas time. I blog, I have a Facebook page on poisonings, I talk about it in the local paper and I have even spoken on local radio – how else can I get the message out there? So many people think that if an animal eats something and doesn't straight away collapse or foam at the mouth then it's fine. They're not able to see the long term damage

Christmas time we have fruitcake and mince pies in abundance! These contain sultana's and anything from the grape family is toxic. The funny thing with these bad boys is that there isn't a toxic dose like with chocolate. It's down to each individual cat or dog, whether as little as one grape (raisin, sultana etc) is going to send them into renal failure or not. And there is no way to tell! Are you prepared to take that risk? So we always recommend inducing vomiting and then 48 hours of intravenous fluids and renal function blood tests. Why they make 'dog mince pies' is beyond me, this merely gives the false impression to owners that they are safe to eat. 

Chocolate is another Christmas treat! White chocolate if scoffed isn't toxic as it doesn't contain theobromine like milk and dark but it has a higher fat content that can cause gastric upset. There is thankfully a toxic dose which your dog might not have gone over, meaning no treatment is necessary. Always give us a call with the packaging of the chocolate they have eaten so that we can work out how many grams of cocoa they have consumed. It's always such a confusing thing for the senses when we induce vomiting for a chocolate toxicity. You have a pile of vomit on the one hand but it smells like delicious Lindt chocolate on the other!

The little silica gel packets that come in many purchases, such as a new handbag are often consumed by our canine friends. These are actually of low toxicity despite saying DO NOT EAT on them, they usually require no assistance.

The Holly and the Ivy....In dogs Holly can cause hypersalivation, vomiting, inappetence, diarrhoea, lethargy and depression. Some may shake their heads and smack their lips. And they can cause physical obstruction and damage if eaten too. Call us if you are worried.

Please remember that cooked turkey bones should never be given to your pet as they are brittle and will splinter. Food high in fat like pastry etc should never be fed to our pets, dog can get very poorly with pancreatitis, which can be a life threatening illness. Onions (and garlic and leeks and chives) are found in many items such as stuffing. This can cause anaemia and should be completely avoided. The anaemia usually take 5-10 days to show itself and can cause lethargy, pale gums, panting and collapse.

Last of all, last Christmas we had a bad stick injury from a dog who was not ever thrown sticks but was carrying one and another dog ran into it. Leaving her with a large laceration to the tongue which is a very vascular area. So no sticks are the ideal!

We wish you all a very safe and Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


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