Foxtails – What are they and why should you be concerned?

Foxtail plants can be risky for your dog. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin.

The foxtail plant is a grass-like weed. It is mostly found in the Western half of the U.S.

The danger of foxtails goes beyond simple irritation. Because these tough seeds don’t break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog. It can even lead to death if left untreated. The seeds can be hard to find in your dog’s fur.

So how can you tell if your pooch has a foxtail that’s causing problems? If you find a foxtail should you extract it? And when is it time to call a vet?

Foxtails and Your Dog: Risks and Symptoms

Foxtails travel. Moving relentlessly forward, never back, they can migrate from inside your dog’s nose to its brain. They can dig through skin or be inhaled into — and then perforate — a lung.

Embedded foxtails can cause discharge, abscesses, swelling, pain, and death. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, check for foxtails or talk to your vet:

  • Feet. Foxtails love your dog’s feet and can easily become embedded between tender toes. Check for foxtails if you notice swelling or limping or if your dog is constantly licking the area.
  • Ears. If your pooch is shaking his head, tilting it to the side, or scratching incessantly at an ear, this could be the sign of a foxtail — one that may be so deep inside the ear canal you can’t see it. Your veterinarian needs to take a look using a special scope.
  • Eyes. Redness, discharge, swelling, squinting, and pawing all may be signs your dog has a foxtail lodged in its eye. If you think this may be the case, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Nose. If you see discharge from the nose, or if your dog is sneezing frequently and intensely, there may be a foxtail lodged in a nasal passage.
  • Genitals. Foxtails can find their way into these areas, too. So if you notice your dog persistently licking at its genitals, foxtails could be the cause.

Tips for Preventing Foxtail Problems

Any dog can get foxtails in the ears, nose, eyes, or mouth. But dogs with long ears and curly hair can be especially prone to foxtail problems. Prevent issues by:

  • Examining your pet’s coat during foxtail season — generally May through December — especially if you’ve gone walking in open fields. Brush your dog as necessary, looking especially closely for pointy foxtail awns in your dog’s thick or feathery fur.
  • Check your pup’s face and ears carefully for foxtails. Don’t forget to look in and around your pooch’s mouth and gums.
  • Carefully check your dog’s paw pads for foxtails — especially between the toes.
  • Use tweezers to remove any foxtails you can easily get to. But if a foxtail is deeply embedded, or if the area around it is red or swollen, call your veterinarian right away. Remember, foxtails won’t come out on their own, and they can burrow into the brain, spine, eardrums, lungs — actually, anywhere.

The easiest way to prevent foxtail problems is to keep your dog out of overgrown, grassy areas. You should also pull out any foxtail plants you find in your yard. Also consider trimming your dog’s fur during foxtail season, especially if it tends to persistently get foxtails in one spot.

WebMD Veterinary Reference Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on 2/, 015

 

Lilies are Toxic to Cats

Lily Nephrotoxicity

There are many different species of plants called “lily”: Easter lily, day lily, Asiatic lily, tiger lily, peace lily, calla lily, and lily of the valley, among others. And though they may be beautiful to look at, a cat could die of kidney failure if he should eat any part of these toxic species and not receive treatment immediately. In fact, as little as two leaves can make your cat sick, and if left untreated, can become fatal in as little as three days.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting (pieces of plant in thevomitus)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased urination, followed by lack of urination after 1 to 2 days
  • Dehydration

PRIMARY CAUSE

When determining if a lily plant you want or have is toxic, always look at the scientific name of the plant. The scientific name is a two-part name: the “first name,” which is capitalized, is the genus; the “second name” is the species, and it is not capitalized. You may see additional names following the first and second; these are subdivisions of the species and are not important for determining toxicity. The second name is sometimes abbreviated sp. or spp. This means that the actual species has not been identified. Sometimes the first name is abbreviated, usually with just the first letter of the name. This is usually done when there is a list of several species from the same genus.

The lily plants of greatest concern are any from the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.), which includes Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies, and any from the genus Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.), which includes day lilies.

IMMEDIATE CARE

  1. If your cat has recently eaten a lily and has not vomited, call your veterinarian to see if you should induce vomiting before bringing her to an animal hospital.
  2. Call the nearest animal hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680.
  3. The sooner she gets treatment, the better her chances are for survival. And if you can, bring a piece of the lily plant to the hospital.

VETERINARY CARE

Diagnosis

Finding a chewed-on lily plant or pieces of plant in the vomit allows for a definitive diagnosis. Because the toxic principle in lilies attacks the kidneys, blood and urine tests will be taken to evaluate kidney function.

Treatment

If your cat has only recently ingested the plant material and has still not vomited, your veterinarian will try to induce vomiting. Activated charcoal will be given orally to absorb any toxin that might remain in the gut. The key to survival is high volumes of fluids given intravenously (IV) to try and prevent dehydration and the kidneys shutting down. The fluids will be given for 1 to 2 days, while monitoring your cat’s kidneys as well as urine output. Lack of urine production is a sign that the treatment was unsuccessful.

OTHER CAUSES

Calla or arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) contain crystals that are extremely irritating to the mouth and digestive tract, causing drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea; however, they do not affect the kidneys.

Lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis) affects the heart, causing irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure, and can progress to seizures or coma.

LIVING AND MANAGEMENT

If treatment is successful, there are no reported long-term consequences. Monitor your cat for changes in his urination habits, especially frequency of urination.

PREVENTION

If at all possible, do not have lilies in your house, not even as cut flowers. If you do have lilies in the house, make sure your cat cannot reach them and inform everyone in your household of the dangers lilies pose to the cat.

Cats are less likely to chew on lilies in your yard, especially if there are more appealing things to chew on, like grass and catnip; however, it is best not to have any lilies in your yard.

Source: petmd.com

National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

(We love it so much that we are extending the celebration through March!)

Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

 

During the months of February and March we are offering a $50.00 discount on all dental procedures for your pets.

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

As we gear up for National Pet Dental Health Month in February, here are some tips on getting started with teeth brushing.

How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

(This article from dvm360.com is about cats, but similar techniques can be used with your dogs)

Every cat needs clean, sharp teeth and healthy gums. Damage to the tongue, teeth, palate and gums can lead to many health risks for cats, but these can be prevented with regular veterinary examinations and good old-fashioned tooth-brushing—read on to find out more!

What You Need

  1. A baby toothbrush or pet toothbrush that is an appropriate size for your cat. If your cat won’t tolerate a toothbrush, a small piece of washcloth or an appropriate piece of gauze (such as from a first aid kit) wrapped around your finger can be used.
  2. Pet toothpaste
  3. Treat or other reward your cat really likes.

Note: Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda because these can upset your cat’s stomach. Toothpaste for cats comes in different flavors, like poultry or beef. You may need to try a couple flavors to find the one your cat likes best. The more your cat likes the toothpaste, the easier it will be brushing.

Technique

Brushing your cat’s teeth should be a bonding experience that is reinforced with praise and rewards. Be very patient — teaching your cat to accept toothbrushing may take a fair amount of time. Make toothbrushing enjoyable for your cat by rewarding him or her immediately after each session.

You only need to brush the outside of your cat’s teeth (the side facing the cheek). Do only as much at a time as your cat allows. You may not be able to do the whole mouth at first.

If you are ever worried about being bitten, stop the toothbrush training and speak with your veterinarian about proper dental care for your cat.

Start by letting your cat get used to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Put them out and let your cat sniff them. You can let your cat taste the toothpaste to see if he or she likes it.

Also, get your cat used to you touching his or her mouth. Lift his or her lips, and slowly and gently rub your cat’s teeth and gums with your finger. You might want to dip your finger in something your cat finds tasty, like the juice from a can of tuna.

When your cat is comfortable with you touching his or her mouth and is familiar with the toothbrush and toothpaste, gradually switch to putting the toothpaste on your finger, and then on the toothbrush. Let your cat lick the paste off the brush at first to get used to having the brush in his or her mouth. If your cat won’t tolerate a toothbrush, a small piece of washcloth or an appropriate piece of gauze (such as from a first aid kit) wrapped around your finger can be used. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the washcloth and rub it over the outside surfaces of your cat’s teeth.

Brush your cat’s teeth along the gumline. Work quickly — you don’t need to scrub. Work up to 30 seconds of brushing for each side of the mouth at least every other day.

If you notice any problems as you brush, like red or bleeding gums or bad breath, call your veterinarian. The earlier problems are found, the easier they are to treat.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

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Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

 

Source: aspca.org