Fireworks: Effects on Wildlife, Farm Animals and Pets

Fireworks: Effects on Wildlife, Farm Animals and Pets

Spring has arrived and with summer to come we welcome all the activities and events that go along with it. Unfortunately, one of the things that make our children smile with glee is the same thing that puts animals into flight mode around the world – leaving orphaned young, causing injury to others and sorrow in our hearts. Fireworks are actually of huge concern to animal welfare everywhere.

Horses bolt, ending up on public streets; cows stampede, ever watched a western where they shoot off a gun to get cows to run? Same thing; birds flying into objects, or each other; mothers leaving their young and becoming disoriented when they’ve gone to far; deer darting and becoming impaled on fences, the list goes on and on…

Here are some articles from the news to help put this devastation into perspective;

49 horses injured and 11 killed since 2010: the real cost of fireworks *warning: graphic images*

A dairy farmer in Maryland was forced to put down four of his cows in 2013 after they were injured in a stampede caused by a firework show in a nearby field.

If anyone remembers, it was all over the news,  in 2011 in Arkansas, hundreds of birds fell dead to the ground during New Year’s eve festivities with researchers thinking fireworks were to cause for them to be flying and crashing into each other and objects due to fear. 

Forbes magazine posted this  in December 2017, reaching out to everyone whether on not this should continue and countries and municipalities around the world are reaching out to politicians to put an end to these. 

Let’s also not forget all the injuries to people and possessions caused regularly by fireworks. In 2015, Brampton had a house fire that engulfed two neighbouring houses when they used fireworks in their backyard. Brampton does actually have a by-law that private homes can NOT use fireworks that travel more than 10ft from where they are ignited.

“Permitted Fireworks” are consumer fireworks that do not travel more than three (3) metres (10 feet) from the point of ignition, and may include fireworks such as fountains, wheels, ground spinners, burning school houses, flying ghosts and sparklers. But even these should be used with extreme caution. 

“Prohibited Fireworks” are consumer fireworks that would reasonably be expected to travel or pose a hazard more than three (3) metres (10 feet) from the point of ignition, such as roman candles, flying lanterns, barrages, bombshells, cakes, comets, mines, missiles and skyrockets.

Should we all be thinking twice about the impact these cause to the animals on this planet? Do we really need to showcase these to celebrate a public holiday?

Alternatives should be considered.

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Dr. Dallas Reports on Accidental Pet Poisoning

Dr. Dallas Reports on Accidental Pet Poisoning

Allow me to set up a scenario for you:

You are just getting home from work, or grocery shopping, or picking up the kids, or working outside… In any case, when you walk through the door you are met with a scene that no pet owner ever wishes to encounter: your dog or cat has gotten into something. If you are lucky, it is just a spilled pile of mail, or maybe a torn up pillow. But what if it’s not? What if they have gotten into some medications, household cleaners, or maybe even a box of chocolates?

Do you know what to do in a situation where you pet has potentially ingested something that could do them serious harm?

Each year, thousands of pets in North America suffer accidental ingestion of potentially deadly substances that have been found in and around their home. The key to saving your pet from an unintentional poisoning is education. In this blog, we will discuss how to prevent pet poisoning incidents and what to do if you believe that your pet has ingested something toxic.

Not everyone is lucky enough to only have a few pillows destroyed…

PREVENTION

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

– Benjamin Franklin

The best way of saving yourself the headache (and potential heartache) of a pet accidentally ingesting something toxic is to be aware of what items within your home are poisonous to your animals and making sure that they are safely stored in a place that your dog or cat cannot get to.

Toxic Substances

A full list of substances toxic to dogs and cats can be found here, but the most common ingested items are:

  • Alcohol
  • Antifreeze
  • Chocolate
  • Fertilizer
  • Lilies
  • Mouse/Rat Poison and
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Advil (ibuprofen)

Remove Temptation

Once you have familiarized yourself with what items in the home can be a potential danger to your pet(s), the next step is to do something about them. You need to eliminate your pet’s access to these items, which can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  • Crate your pet when you are not able to supervise them.
  • Make use of baby gates or other barriers to stop animals from entering areas where harmful items are kept.
  • Store dangerous items in a locked cupboard, or out of reach entirely (even from counter-surfing animals) on a high shelf.
  • Swap out the use of rodenticides and insecticides with traps but keep them far from your pet’s access. Don’t forget unwanted critters can track poisons to other locations around the home if they walk through them. Also, an avid mouser may potentially ingest mouse/rat poison if they catch the offender after it has been exposed.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum – meaning, remove any enticing items (ie. chocolates, scented lotions, flavoured medications) from counters and side tables.
  • Invest in trashcans with a secured lid, or keep them behind closed cupboard doors or in inaccessible rooms.
  • Clean up spills immediately (ie. antifreeze or de-icers in the garage, coffee grinds or table salt in the kitchen).
  • Close toilet lids after use, especially if you use automatic toilet bowl cleaner in the tank, or stick-on pucks on the inside of the bowl.
  • Eliminate toxic flowers from any bouquets or potted plants received and displayed.
  • Hang your purse out of reach on a hook, or store in a closed closet.
  • Keep pets off of lawns that have been sprayed with commercial herbicides.
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When they are not being supervised, the best place for a mischievous pup is their crate!

Be Ready

It is always recommended that you have your pet’s information on-hand. This means an accurate description of your pet and their medical history available in case you, or anyone else, need to go to the nearest veterinary clinic in an emergency situation. Keep a folder handy that is clearly labelled and indicates the following:

  • Pet’s Name, including the last name they are registered with. It is especially important to keep registered last names the same if you go to more than one clinic.
  • Age, Sex and Breed/Species
  • Up-to-date Weight
  • List of any underlying Medical Conditions
  • List of any Current Medications

It is also important to have necessary contact information readily available. This would include the name of your veterinarian and their clinic’s phone number and address, as well as an after-hours emergency clinic should you require assistance outside of regular business hours. The information for emergency services such as the Pet Poison Helpline would also be useful. Be sure to include all of your own contact information as well, in case it is a house-sitter or dog-walker that has encountered the emergency situation.

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WHAT TO DO

Despite your best efforts the worst has happened – you suspect your pet has ingested something that they shouldn’t have and you are concerned that it could pose a serious health risk. There are a number of steps that you need to take, and you need to act fast. Time is a factor here, even if your pet is not yet displaying symptoms of poisoning. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated and the better chance they have of being okay.

Tend to the Area

First things first, safely remove your pet from the immediate area in order to eliminate continued exposure to (or ingestion of) the potentially toxic material. Also remove any other pets or children that could be harmed by exposure to the substance in question. If possible, quarantine the area as you may not have time to adequately clean it in the moment.

Tend to the Animal

Next, check that your pet is safe. Make sure they are breathing and acting normally. Resist the temptation to give them any type of home remedy or to induce vomiting yourself. Either of these can be very dangerous and you may inadvertently cause more harm than good.

IMG_3008 exam

Get Help

Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately for further instructions (if you are travelling with your pet, be sure to research while you are making travel plans where the nearest veterinary clinic and emergency animal hospital are located). It would be prudent to be prepared with as much information as possible regarding the incident. This information will be dependent on the situation and the material ingested. Here is a basic guideline on what you may be asked about the material ingested:

  • Plant – What is the name of the plant? Is it a houseplant, outdoor plant or weed? Which part of the plant was ingested (bulb, leaves, flowers, stem, fruit)? How much was consumed?
  • Medication – What is the name of the drug? What is the milligram strength? How much of medication was potentially consumed (ie. how many tablets were in the bottle and how many are remaining)?
  • Chemical – What is the brand name of the product? What are the active ingredients and concentration of those ingredients? What are the label warnings? How much was ingested (ie. what was the original weight of the product and how much remains)?

If you need to immediately go to a veterinarian and do not have time to contact them, be sure to collect up all the wrappers/packaging from the item and take them with you.

You will most likely also be asked about the scenario in which the material was consumed as well. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How long ago did ingestion occur? If your pet was unattended when it happened, how long were they alone (thus how long ago could they have potentially gotten into the product)?
  • Is your pet currently displaying any abnormal behaviour, such as pawing at their mouth, pacing, whining, drooling, etc.?

While these questions may be tough to answer, it is important that you do so calmly and to the best of your ability in order to receive the best guidance and care for your pet.

We hope that you will never have to refer to this guide, but if you do, here are some names and numbers that we feel you should always have accessible:

Snelgrove Veterinary Services (That’s us!)
Tel.: 905-846-3316
11526 Hurontario Street, Brampton
Located on Hwy 10, South of Mayfield Road and North of Concervation Drive/Wanless Street

Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Brampton (After-hours clinic)
Tel.: 905-495-9907
1 Wexford Drive, Unit 10, Brampton
Located in the Wexford Square Plaza, on Highway 10 just South of Bovaird Drive

Pet Poison Helpline (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 855-764-7661

Mississauga Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 905-829-9444
2285 Bristol Circle, Oakville

404 Veterinary Emergency + Referral Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 905-953-1933
510 Harry Walker Parkway South, Newmarket

Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 416-247-8387
21 Rolark Drive, Scarborough

Veterinary Emergency Clinic (South) (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 416-920-2002
920 Yonge Street, Suite 117, Toronto

Beautiful but Deadly…

Beautiful but Deadly…

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Lilies

A beautiful flower steeped in history, lilies are most often seen in the spring and celebrated as a symbol of joy, hope and life. But did you know that they are actually extremely dangerous to cats? With Easter just around the corner, we wanted to warn you about this lovely (yet extremely deadly) plant!

Toxicity in Cats

You may have heard that lilies are toxic to cats, but do you really know how toxic?

As little as ingesting 1-2 leaves, drinking the water from a vase or even licking the pollen off their coat can put a cat into acute kidney failure in as little as 24-72 hours with little chance of recovery without prompt, and I mean prompt, medical attention. Signs of poisoning usually occur within 6-12 hours after exposure.

Types of Lilies and Their Affects

The most dangerous lilies are specifically of the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.) or Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.). This includes the tiger lily, Asiatic lily, Japanese lily, stargazer lily, wood lily, Easter lily, daylily, rubrum lily, and Western lily, to name the most common.

Other species of lilies have certain toxicities as well, although not causing acute kidney failure.

Calla, peruvian and peace lilies are  irritating to a cat’s mouth and digestive tract. They can cause drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting.

Lily of the valley can affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. These affects can progress to seizures, coma and even death in both dogs and cats.

If your cat is seen or you suspect they have ingested any part of a lily plant, please bring them and the plant to your nearest veterinarian immediately. There is no time to spare. Aggressive IV fluid therapy and supportive care must be initialized as quickly as possible for the best chance of your cat recovering.

With Easter and Mother’s day around the corner we also encourage you to tell your friends and family about these dangers and to dispose of any lilies you may receive in a bouquet or be sure to keep them well out of reach of your cat.

Wishing Everyone a Safe and Happy Easter!

The flu, you and your dog

The flu, you and your dog

 

Canine influenza is typically one of two strains, H3N2 and H3N8.

H3N8 was first identified in the U.S.A. in 2004 and was believed to be a mutation from the equine virus of the same name.

Prior to 2015, H3N2 was thought to be restricted to South Korea, China and Thailand but following an outbreak in Chicago in 2015 was realized to be in the U.S.A as well.

Am I at risk of contracting this?

Both of these viruses pose no risk to humans at this time and although this virus is not widespread in Canada there have been confirmed cases in Windsor (Essex County) , Orillia (Simcoe – Muskoka) and the Northumberland area this year. We don’t want dog owners to be scared but be aware.

  • If your dog is sick, keep them away from others and vice versa.
  • If your dog shows any combination of these symptoms, coughing, nasal discharge, fever, runny eyes or nose, please take them to your local veterinarian. (It is best to notify them that you are concerned about this. You will then typically be instructed to leave your pet in your vehicle until it is time to be seen by the veterinarian to limit exposure to other patients)
  • Wash your hands well and change your clothes if you believe you may have touched a sick dog to prevent you spreading it to others.

Should I vaccinate my dog(s)?

Although we don’t feel that the majority of our patients require vaccination for Canine Influenza at this time, we do want you to make an informed choice. It is what is referred to as a  ‘lifestyle’ vaccine that makes specific patients more likely to at some point come in contact with this virus.

  • traveling in areas with confirmed cases
  • attending dog shows
  • obedience trials
  • doggy sporting events
  • off-leash dog parks
  • boarding facilities
  • training facilities

Certain dogs may also be at a higher risk.

  • elderly dogs
  • dogs with respiratory or cardiac disease
  • Bulldogs, pugs, pekingnese and other brachycephalic breeds (dogs with ‘pushed-in’ noses)

This vaccine does need a booster vaccination 2-4 weeks after the initial and then it becomes a yearly vaccine. It does also take approximately 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccine before immunity is developed. Please keep that in mind with any upcoming travel plans.

Feel free to contact Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton at 905-846-3316 or your local veterinarian for more information.

Essential oils and why you should be careful using them

Essential oils and why you should be careful using them

Essential oils have become the norm in many households. People use them to reap the benefits for health and well-being. Well, did you know, using these in your household can actually be toxic to your pets?

Essential oils, although having beneficial physical and psychological properties can actually be harmful to your pets and must be used carefully around them. Here are two links from the Pet Poison Helpline, one for cats and one for dogs, which can help you decide if you are using them safely in your home.

CATS

DOGS

Food Allergies on Trial (Part One)

Food Allergies on Trial (Part One)

Food allergies and intolerance seem to be a hot topic these days, both in the human- and pet-world. Various buzzwords like grain-free and gluten-free have become part of our daily lives. But what are food allergies, really? And how do we know if our pet has one? Should we really be spending all this money on specialty foods that don’t contain this but do contain that? Well, here is the low-down on food allergies in dogs and cats, straight from the doctors here at Snelgrove Vet Services.

What are food allergies?

Food allergies can range from mild to severe and are identified as an abnormal immune response to certain ingredients found within a food.

What are signs of food allergies?

In both dogs and cats, the most common sign of a food allergy is itching and licking at their skin continuously. An important distinguishing feature of food allergies over seasonal allergies is that food allergies are present year-round, whereas seasonal allergies tend to flare up only at certain times of the year. Another symptom typically seen in dogs with food allergies is frequent ear infections. In some cases, ear infections can be the only sign of a food allergy being present. In other cases, food allergies may present as gastrointestinal upsets (ie. vomiting and/or diarrhea).

What are the most common foods to cause allergies in our pets and how can they be diagnosed?  

Cats and dogs most commonly suffer from food allergies to proteins, but other ingredients can also cause a reaction. In dogs, we typically see allergies to beef, chicken, corn, dairy, egg, soy and wheat. Meanwhile cats commonly react to beef, dairy and fish.

Woody

This is Woody, a 6 year old Boston Terrier. He has suffered from food allergies since he was 1 year old.

While serology testing and skin patch tests are available, the most effective way to diagnose a food allergy in a pet is to conduct a food trial.

What are food trials and how are they helpful?

Essentially, a food trial is a restricted diet for a dog or cat that includes ingredients that the animal has not previously been exposed to. Food trials are a very helpful diagnostic tool for several reasons. Once all ingredients that may be causing a food allergy are eliminated, the animal should begin to feel better as the symptoms associated with the allergy resolve. Additionally, the doctor is also able to determine whether the allergy is specifically food related, or if there are perhaps environmental allergies to consider as well. And finally, once symptoms have resolved and regular foods can begin to be re-introduced, it is much easier to determine which is the offending ingredient.

 IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT IF DURING THE TRIAL, THE PET RECEIVES ANY TREAT, SNACK, RAWHIDES, PIG EARS, HUMAN FOOD, FLAVOURED SUPPLEMENTS, ACCESS TO SCRAPS OR GARBAGE, THIS WILL MEAN THAT THE TRIAL HAS FAILED

In summary…

This week we have covered food allergies and food trials. Stay tuned for next week’s discussion on types of diets used in food trials and what happens after a food trial has been completed.

Woody 2

Luckily for Woody, his family was able to find an appropriate diet to help his allergies – a low fat kangaroo food!

As always, we would love to hear from our readers and clients alike. Have you ever had a pet that suffered from food allergies? Have you ever conducted a food trial, and, if so, how did it go?

Taking the “Finicky” Out of Your Feline

Taking the “Finicky” Out of Your Feline

A well-balanced and properly formulated diet can make a world of difference when it comes to your pet’s health.

I discovered this first-hand a few years ago when my cat, Adelaide, was urinating around the house. It was behaviour that was so out of character for her that I knew she was trying to tell me something. It took a few urine samples and some x-rays, but she was soon diagnosed with bladder stones. She was quickly booked in for a cystotomy (surgery to remove the stones) and recovered very well.

She settled back in at home and was happily using her litterbox again. However, her treatment was not quite finished yet. The doctor’s wanted to make sure that she did not suffer a repeat of her experience. The stones collected from her bladder were sent out for proper identification, and a new food that was specifically designed for cats with urinary issues was recommended. I was, of course, eager to oblige. Anything for my little kitty! Addie, on the other hand, was not so excited for her new food…

Introducing a cat to a new food can certainly be a challenge.

As I immediately discovered, cats can be very picky when it comes to their diet. And, I have to admit, I hear from owner’s all the time at the clinic that their cat’s are very fussy eaters – I just never thought it would be a challenge that I would have to face myself! Luckily, I had the support of my fellow staff members at Snelgrove Vet, as well as a team of veterinarians. Through the experience of having to switch a (then) 10-year old cat to a brand new food, I learned a lot of tips and tricks, which I can now share with our readers and clients alike!

Offering your cat a variety of foods while they’re still young can make your life a lot easier in the long-run.

If I had been doing this since she was a kitten, I don’t think Addie would have had a difficult time transitioning from her old food to her new urinary food. Cats often become conditioned to eating only one type of food and, because they like to stick with the familiar, it can be difficult to change foods later on if necessary. This is especially true of lower quality dry and canned foods (some are the equivalent of having a cheeseburger with fries everyday. Tastes great but not great for you!) It is a good idea to introduce your cat to all different kinds of  textures while they are still young enough to be willing to try them. Of course, I was not forward thinking enough to do this when she was younger.

Preparing for the transition from old food to new food took some consideration.

Before I could transition Addie to her new and amazing urinary food, there were a few things I needed to put into practice first. I had to get her off of free-feeding and establish a feeding schedule. She was so used to grazing from her bowl whenever she wanted that I was afraid she would turn her nose up at her new food and hold out for her old food. I had to start feeding her at specific times so that she would be hungry by the time I was filling her bowl again. I also had to eliminate any hint of her old food from the house. Some very clever kitties think that they can hold out for their old food and eventually get it, especially if they can see or smell the bag or can. So, I took her old bag of food out to the garage so that she would not be able to sniff it out. I did keep it on hand, just in case I needed it though.*

Waiting (not so) patiently for dinner

Transitioning to new food took a little bit of time and a lot of patience.

Cats are usually very particular about their eating habits, and my Adelaide is no exception. In order to allow myself the greatest chance of success, I had to make sure that I didn’t make any “environmental” changes to her routine. I fed her in the same spot within our home, out of the same bowl, with the same scoop, at the same time of day – the only change was to the food itself, nothing else. Finally, we were ready to break out the new food! Sometimes all it takes is a bit of time for a cat to accept a new type of food, so I started feeding a mixture of 3/4 regular food and 1/4 new food for a few days. She seemed okay with this, so I began to mix the foods 1/2 and 1/2. When this went well for another few days, and I was able to feed a mixture of 1/4 old food and 3/4 new food, until I was finally able to eliminate her old food altogether from the bowl. The entire transition probably took about 8 or 9 days. Some cats may need more time, others may need less.

I was lucky that transitioning Adelaide to her new urinary diet went fairly smoothly. I think that approaching the food change with a well-thought out plan helped a lot. Hopefully my experiences can help other cat owners that are facing food transitions of their own! Of course, if any of our clients or readers have any questions or concerns, the staff at Snelgrove is always able to lend an ear and discuss some tips and tricks.

Thank you to everyone for reading, I would love to hear if anyone else has had any experiences with this. What helped the most with your transition, and what hindered it?

– Kait.

*Please note: At no time should a cat ever go more than 24 hours without eating. If your cat is truly considering a hunger strike and has refused to eat for 24 hours, call your veterinarian immediately as they may be in danger of developing health issues such as fatty liver disease, which can lead to renal failure.