Christmas can be a great time to relax, to spend time with family and friends and to socialise and entertain. Food and drinks are often an integral part of the time spent together and very often this leads to the family pets being given food items that are not a part of their daily diet during the rest of the year.
Over my time as a veterinarian, I have seen a lot of pets suffering from the consequences of dietary indiscretions in the Christmas / New Year break and at Easter time. There are a number of conditions, ranging in severity from mild and transient to severe and life threatening, that can come from feeding your pets foods and table scraps that they are not usually exposed to and you might be surprised by some of the foods that can cause injury or death. So in this article I would like to explore the “don’ts” at Christmas to make sure that your pets stay happy and well and enjoy the time that you spend with them.
Spring has sprung and as we enter the warmer months, our resident snakes will become more active. Kangaroo Island is home to two prominent species of snake, the Black Tiger snake (not always black) and the Pygmy Copperhead snake. Both species exhibit a significant amount of variation in their appearance, however in general terms the Pigmy Copperhead adult snakes do not grow to greater than 1 metre in length.
Pet owners need to be vigilant about identifying if their dog has been bitten and seeking medical advice. The chances of a successful outcome from treatment will be greatly increased by prompt diagnosis and treatment.
As you may not have seen your pet get bitten there are signs that are commonly seen post bite. These include:
With Spring upon us, we’re fighting the snails off our veggie gardens. There are a number of slug and snail baits on the market, often in a pellet form made with ingredients that are attractive to dogs and every year we see very unwell dogs who have eaten the “pet safe” brands of bait.
The most dangerous ingredient in some of these baits is Metaldehyde. Many formulations of pellets, liquid, powder, granule and gel contain this toxin as it is very effective in killing snails and slugs. Unfortunately it can also kill dogs and cats. Metaldehyde effects multiple organ systems but most dramatically the central nervous system. It acts in the brain to reduce the concentrations of “GABA”, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, resulting in brain hyperactivity. The effects can occur within 30 minutes or up to 24 hours after ingestion. We typically see vomiting, hyper-salivation, anxiety, restlessness, rapid heart-rate and panting, hypersensitivity to sound and touch, and flickering eyes. Eventually it progresses to muscle rigidity, seizures, and comas. Pets can and do die from toxicity, often from respiratory failure, multi-organ failure, and blood clotting abnormalities. Animals who survive have become blind for up to 3 weeks.