Holiday toxin for your dogs and cats. The holiday season is a time of year where people decorate their homes with Christmas trees and holiday plants. Also, this is a time of cooking and backing desserts, many of which include chocolate. To learn more about their potential toxicity, we are going to meet with Dr. Tim Evans, a veterinary toxicologist at the University of Missouri. Well, thereÕs a lot of concerns around the holidays, particularly in the next several months, about certain intoxications that are likely to occur. Three common plants that we find around the holidays are poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe. None of these are particularly dangerous to the pet, however, it can cause gastrointestinal upset, which can include vomiting and diarrhea. If you see that your pet has consumed one of these plants, you should call your veterinarian right away and talk to them about it. A lot of people know that chocolate is potentially toxic to dogs, but what we need to recognize is that there are different kinds of chocolate. Milk chocolate can potentially be toxic, particularly to very smaller dogs, but bakerÕs chocolate actually has ten times the amount of the toxic principal theobromine in it, so the risk of intoxication is much higher with bakerÕs chocolate than with milk chocolate.
has a couple of different effects on the body. The main problem that it will
cause that could potentially be lethal is causing cardiac arrhythmia, which
causes the heart to beat not the way that it normally should be. How much is
too much? I get a lot of questions, people calling about a dog getting into one
HersheyÕs Kiss, and it really depends on the size of the dog. A big dog is
going to be much less likely to be intoxicated than a very small dog. If your
dog gets into a chocolate product, itÕs really important to find out how much
theobromine that product has in it. One thing that may be helpful is to either
look on the packaging, label, the wrapper, or many companies, such as the
Hershey company, have websites that can provide you with useful information about
how much theobromine is in that particular product. Another option would be
contacting the National Animal Poison Control Center or if you just go to their
website, there are some very useful articles on different types of products and
potential hazards within the home that you might want to be aware of.
thing you can certainly always do is call your regular veterinarian for advice
on what to do. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that macadamia nuts
are potentially toxic. We donÕt know what the poison is, but animals macadamia
nuts can actually have depression, hallucinations, and hind limb weakness. With
many potential intoxications, time is of the essence. So itÕs really important if
you think your dog or cat has gotten into something that is potentially toxic
is to call your veterinarian as soon as possible, follow their directions, and
get your dog or cat to them so they can evaluate and start treatment if
necessary. The first things your veterinarian hospital is going to ask you if
you think that your dog or cat has gotten into something poisonous is what is
the particular compound, product, or food that your dog or cat got into.
Second, theyÕre going to ask how much you think that your pet consumed. Third,
theyÕre going to ask when your dog or cat consumed that particular product,
substance, or food.
What are some of the potential recommendations that your local veterinarian is likely to make if your pet has gotten into something thatÕs poisonous? First, they may recommend that you induce vomiting in your pet. But please, never do this unless youÕve consulted with your veterinary hospital first. They may ask that you bring your pet immediately in to the veterinary hospital for an examination, laboratory test, and supportive care, such as fluids or products that go ahead and hasten the absorption of a product or illumination of the toxic from the body. Many plants, from Christmas trees and poinsettias, to holly berries, lilies, and mistletoe can potentially be toxic. However, the most common problem that I see during the holiday is ingestion of chocolate. If you think that your pet may have ingested a toxic plant or food, you should call your veterinarian immediately and follow their advice. Time is of the essence. The earlier your pet is treated, the better the prognosis. I hope this information is helpful.