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Posts Tagged ‘toxin’

Tis the Season to be Jolly but beware of the dangers!

This Christmas, our team at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group, want you and your pet to enjoy the festive season, however it is always good to make sure the house is pet proof!

The majority of vets during this time of year will treat a number of pets for eating items that are toxic for them. With chocolate remaining top of the list of ingested ingredients.

Cats have also been reported to be seen over this time also for cases of antifreeze poisoning and seasonal plant poisoning such as poinsettia, lilies and mistletoe.

It is also a good idea to be careful of festive decorations around our houses like tinsel and fairy lights as these can be hazards to both our cats and dogs.

Some ideas for a hazard-free Christmas with your pets:
  • Must sure your pet does not have access to those festive decorations without your supervision – these items can be very appealing to our pets but can cause seriously harm is broken, chewed or swallowed.
  • Give your pet toys not treats – too many of those yummy treats your pet enjoys will lead to obesity which can have detrimental effects on their health so why not consider a new toy to keep them active and in shape.
  • Poison protection – make sure those festive treats are out of reach that can contain ingredients that are harmful to our pets including chocolate, sweets, raisins, xylitol, nuts, grapes or liquorice. As well as festive decorations and seasonal plants as poinsettia, holly and mistletoe.
  • Make sure you know where your local veterinary is over this time. Sometimes accidents and emergencies may still occur, therefore be aware of your vet’s emergency cover provision and opening hours.
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The 12 dangers of Christmas

Christmas can be a very chaotic time of year and a more dangerous time for our pets as their usual home surroundings are filled with presents, decorations, trees and much more. We want to make you aware of potential toxins over the Christmas period in order for you to sit back, relax and celebrate this time of year.

Chocolate: In chocolate there is a substance called Theobromine which is poisonous to our pets. It can be found in all types of chocolate – white, milk and dark.
Onions: All of the onion family, including leeks, garlics, chives and shallots whether they are cooked, dried or raw can be poisonous to dogs.
Christmas Cake and Mince Pies: Raisins, currents and sultanas, as well as grapes, are common ingredients and can be poisonous. Please take care in order to keep cakes and snacks away from your pet.
Blue Cheese: This cheese contains roquefortine C which animals are very sensitive to. Therefore is best to keep out of reach and dispose of any leftovers.
Bones: It is common for small, cooked bones (especially from poultry) to fragment easily into pieces with very sharp edges when chewed.
Artificial Sweetners: Xylitol can be found in chewing gums, mints, sweets and liquorice.
Alcohol: Most people are aware not to give alcoholic drinks to their pets, however alcohol poisoning in pets can be more common than you think!
Mould: Growth on food, in rubbish bins and sacks can hold toxins which will quickly attack an animal’s nervous system. Only a small amount of these mycotoxins can cause tremors and seizures.
Poinsettia, Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, Lillies: Many flowers, house plants and bulbs that can be poisonous to our pets. We often bring seasonal plants inside the house or receive them as gifts.
Christmas Trees: If eaten it may cause mild stomach upset however the sharp tips may do more damage internally.
Christmas Decorations & Wrapping Paper: There is a high risk of gastrointestinal obstruction if the decoration is ingested.
Silica Gel: This may be found in a present in small sachets containing silica gel
In the case, where your pet ingests any of the items above, it is best to contact the vet for advice. If you need to take your pet to the vet, please take any relevant packaging in order treat your pet.
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Blue Green Algae – Willen Lake, Caldecotte Lakes and Emberton Park

Following water safety checks at Willen Lake, Caldecotte Lakes and Emberton Park in July 2019, a potentially toxic bloom of blue-green algae has been reported to the Environment Agency. 

As a precautionary measure, notices are being posted at the lake warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided. 

What are blue-green algae?  Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters and blooms can form when their numbers become excessive. It is these ‘blooms’ that give the water a blue-green appearance or a ‘pea soup’ like colour. The behaviour of these algae is erratic and the level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and, mix and re-accumulate at any time. 

How can blue-green algae affect you and your animals? Blue-green algal blooms can produce toxins hazardous to both people and animals. Not all blue-green blooms produce toxins, but it is not possible to tell which are dangerous without testing, and therefore all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae. 

Symptoms of poisoning include: Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Blood in stool or black tarry stool, Pale mucous membranes, Jaundice, Seizures, Disorientation, Coma, Shock Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.), Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.), Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, Difficulty breathing.

Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison. If there are any signs of illness in your animal after contact with the water, contact us immediately on 01908 397777. 
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Adders – what is the risk to my pet?

Identification: Most adders are distinctively marked with a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine and an inverted ‘V’ shape on the neck. Males are generally white or pale grey with a black zigzag. Females are pale brown with a darker brown zigzag. Adders are viviparous – they give birth to live young.

The Adder (Vipera berus) is the only venomous snake native to Britain. Adders will only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or stepped on. No one has died from an adder bite in Britain for over 35 years. With proper treatment, the worst effects in humans are nausea and drowsiness, followed by swelling and bruising in the area of the bite.

What is the risk to my pet?

The adder is a timid and non-aggressive snake, and will only bite when provoked. They hibernate over the winter and emerge in early spring as the temperature increases.

Unfortunately dogs are the animals most likely to be bitten due to their natural curiosity. But adder bites are rarely fatal in pets.

The severity of the clinical signs varies and depends upon the location of the bite (facial bites are more serious), the size of the patient (small pets are more likely to be seriously affected), the amount the pet moves after the bite (movement increases venom uptake).

The most common signs are significant swelling at the site of the bite, with systemic signs of depression and lethargy.

  • Less than 5% of patients display more severe signs
  • 96-97% make a full recovery, usually within five days

If your pet is bitten by an adder you should seek prompt veterinary attention. Do not attempt first aid measures such as applying a tourniquet- This is ineffective and can cause further harm to your pet. Carry your pet (rather than allow them to walk) to try and reduce the spread of venom around his body.

Prevention
  • Keep to the paths – snakes tend to live in the undergrowth
  • Use a short lead if walking in an area where adders might be present – this will also protect the young of ground-nesting birds
  • If you encounter an adder – leave it alone and give it the opportunity to escape to safety

Adders are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them, and to sell or trade them in any way.

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Xylitol toxocity in our pets

Xylitol is a sweetener which can be found in sugar-free products such as some baking mixes, cakes, buns, sugar-free chewing gum and mints, medicines, vitamines, peanut butter, sweets, jam and honey.

Signs of this toxicity may include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremors, jaundice or hypoglycaemia.

If you pet has ingested a food containing Xylitol, please contact your practice immediately for advice.
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