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Holiday Pet Safety

Nothing can spoil holiday cheer like an emergency visit to a veterinary clinic. These seven tips can help prevent a holiday disaster with your pets.

  1. Keep people food out of the reach of your pet, and ask your guests to do the same.

  2. Make sure your pet doesn't have any access to treats, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, grapes/raisins, onions or other toxic foods.

  3. Don't leave your pet alone in the room with lit candles, a decorated tree or potpourri.

  4. Keep holiday plants (especially holly, mistletoe and lillies) out of reach of pets.

  5. Consider leaving the tinsel off your tree if you have a cat.

  6. Secure your Christmas tree to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat climbs it. Hanging lemon-scented car air fresheners in the tree may deter your cat from climbing it.

  7. Provide a safe place for your pet to escape the excitement (such as a kennel, crate, perching place, scratching post shelf or hiding place) if you’re entertaining guests. If your pet is excitable or scared, consider putting your pet in another room with some toys and a comfortable bed.

To read more, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/7-holiday-safety-tips.aspx

Xylitol and Dogs

The information below is from Wikipedia.  If you want to learn more about the risks of Xylitol for your dog, please contact us or read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol#In_dogs

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. The name derives from Greek: ξύλον, xyl[on], "wood" + suffix –itol, used to denote sugar alcohols. Xylitol is categorized as a polyalcohol or sugar alcohol (alditol).  Xylitol is naturally found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, and can be produced by the action of yeast on the xylose contained in fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse. However, industrial production starts from xylan (a hemicellulose) extracted from hardwoods[10] or corncobs, which is hydrolyzed into xylose and catalytically hydrogenated into xylitol.

In some individuals, xylitol consumption is limited by gastrointestinal issues, including flatulence, osmotic diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.[11] However, for many, the side effects are negligible. In one study, subjects consumed an average of 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) of xylitol per month, with a maximum daily intake of over 400 grams without any negative effects..

In pets, xylitol can be extremely harmful and even deadly!

Xylitol and Dogs

Xylitol is often fatal to dogs. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the number of cases of xylitol toxicosis in dogs has significantly increased since the first reports in 2002. Dogs that have eaten foods containing xylitol (greater than 100 milligrams of xylitol consumed per kilogram of bodyweight) have presented with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can be life-threatening.  Low blood sugar can result in a loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as little as 30 minutes.  Intake of doses of xylitol (greater than 500 – 1000 mg/kg bwt) has been implicated in liver failure in dogs, which can be fatal.

Xylitol and Wild Birds

Thirty Cape sugarbirds died within 30 minutes of drinking a solution made with xylitol from a feeder in a garden in Hermanus, South Africa. It is suspected that it triggered a massive insulin release, causing an irreversible drop in blood sugar

Pet Halloween Safety

Enjoy Halloween but please be aware that there a multitude of safety issues that can harm your dog or cat.

  1. Don't feed your pets Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum);
  2. Make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag) in case s/he escapes through the open door while you're distracted with trick-or-treaters;
  3. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets;
  4. If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume;
  5. Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn't likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely;
  6. If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide him/her with a safe hiding place;
  7. Keep your pet inside.

To read more about how you can keep your pet safe during Halloween, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/halloween.aspx

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

October is National Animal Safety and Prevention Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. Animals play an important part in our everyday lives, even if we don't personally have pets. So it's vital to make sure that they are treated kindly and with the respect and care they deserve. 

National Animal Safety and Prevention Month was created by the PALS Foundation. PALS is dedicated to helping people and animals coexist in a way that benefits all of nature. They believe that humans must come to know the value of all animals, both domestic and wild, and the important role that they play in our ecosystem.

There are several ways you can participate in National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. Some of them are as simple as being aware of the needs of your own household pets. For example, make sure they are micro-chipped so if they are ever lost, they can be easily found and returned; collars with identification tags are also just as important. Pet proof your home against the possibility of your animals coming in contact with any dangerous poisons or toxins. Put together a disaster escape plan in case you ever need to evacuate your pets quickly from the home. There are plenty of things you can do to take that extra step in making sure your pets are protected in all circumstances.

If you don't have pets of your own, you can still participate in Animal Safety and Prevention Month by volunteering at your local animal shelter. Foster a pet until it finds its new furrever home. There are plenty of animals that have not yet been adopted that would be very appreciative of your time and love. For those animal lovers who don’t have a lot of free time, donating money or much needed supplies to your local animal shelters is always appreciated. This will help to ensure that pets waiting to be re-homed will get all the necessary care.

Plan a trip to the zoo. This is fun for people with or without children. Take the time to educate children about animal care while they're still young. Education helps them gain a healthy appreciation of animals when become adults. 

National Animal Safety and Prevention Month is a wonderful opportunity to remind people of the importance of animals in our everyday lives. Though it's only one month out of the year, these safety practices should be observed all year round. With better safety practices, we can all lead happier and healthier lives.

To learn more, go to: https://www.dog.com/dog-articles/national-animal-safety-and-prevention-month/9973/

Canine Influenza: Pet Owners’ Guide

The following was written by the AVMA and we wanted to share it.  Please let. us know if you have any questions.

Canine Influenza: Pet Owners' Guide

 

Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs by direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.

Currently, two strains of CIV have been identified in the U.S. The H3N8 strain of canine influenza was first identified in 2004 in Florida. Since then, it has been found in several other states. In 2015, the H3N2 virus strain was identified as the cause of an outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago. The virus was known to exist in Asia, but the 2015 outbreak was the first report of the H3N2 virus affecting dogs outside of Asia.

Canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. 

Canine influenza and cats 

In early 2016, a group of cats in an Indiana shelter ​ were infected with H3N2 canine influenza (passed to them by infected dogs). The findings suggested that cat-to-cat transmission was possible. Cats infected with H3N2 canine influenza show symptoms of upper respiratory illness, including a runny nose, congestion, malaise, lip smacking and excessive salivation.

Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis 

The symptoms of a CIV infection resemble those of canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough").   Dogs infected with CIV develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge and reduced appetite. Canine influenza infections can cause mild to severe illness in dogs. Some infected dogs may not show any signs of illness, but can still be contagious and able to infect other dogs

Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, some dogs may develop secondary bacterial infections which may lead to more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian.

Laboratory tests are available to diagnose both H3N8 and H3N2 CIV. Consult your veterinarian for more information regarding testing for CIV.

Transmission and prevention of canine influenza

Dogs infected with CIV are most contagious during the two- to four- day virus incubation period, when they shed the virus in their nasal secretions but do not show signs of illness. The virus is highly contagious and almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected. The majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate from CIV is low (less than 10%).

To reduce the spread of CIV, isolate dogs that are sick or showing signs of a respiratory illness, and isolate dogs known to have been exposed to an infected dog.

Isolate dogs infected with H3N2 canine influenza for at least 21 days​ and dogs infected with H3N8 CIV for at least 7 days.  Practice good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, to reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.

Vaccines are available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of canine influenza virus. The CIV vaccination is a "lifestyle" vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks. Your veterinarian can provide you with additional information about the vaccines and whether you should consider vaccinating your dog.  

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