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Hidden Dangers For Pets Around The Holidays

Posted 12.21.17 by Claudia G. Mangum, DVM

Poinsettias get a lot of attention for their toxicity to pets.

In reality this toxicity is highly inflated. They are only mildly irritating to pets. If you pet eats part of a plant you may see mild gastrointestinal signs (diarrhea or upset tummy.) If you or your pet’s skin comes in contact with the white sappy material from a broken stem you may see a little redness of the skin. All these side effects tend to be self limiting. We occasionally may have to prescribe a little medication for an upset tummy.

There are far more worrisome items in our homes around the holidays that we need to keep in mine.

The number one flower used by florists is the lily. Just one or two bites of the correct lily can result in severe acute kidney failure in cats. The pollen that falls from these flowers is even thought to be poisonous. Please check all bouquets as they enter your home.

The beautiful greenery we use to decorate also hides many dangers. Christmas or English holly ingestion can cause severe gastrointestinal upset thanks to the spiny leaves and several potentially toxic substances found in their leaves (saponins, methylxanthines and cyanogens.) If these leaves are ingested most pets (cats and dogs) will drool, shake their heads and smack due to the spines on the leaves.

Mistletoe, a favorite of mine, is often hung high enough to be out of reach of most pets. The American Mistletoe is less toxic that the European varieties thank goodness. Ingestion will cause mild gastrointestinal irritation. If your pet happens to ingest a large amount they can suffer more severe effects, collapse, hypotension, ataxia and even seizure and death have been reported.

Finally we have to consider all the things in the home new and shiny around the holidays. Many pets would be more than happy to put these items in their mouths.

Tinsel has traditionally be a huge temptation for kitties who love to play with the shinny strings. If ingested this material can cut through the intestinal tract and stop things from moving through.  Those beautiful ornaments’ we put on the tree look like wonderful balls and chew toys to our canine friends.

As we enjoy the holidays we need to remember our pets may not get the same enjoyment. If you are concerned about anything your pet comes in contact through out this holiday season please give us a call.

Dr. Claudia Mangum

The Pet Hospitals– Collierville

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