There are many ways for pets to get into trouble, some can’t be avoided, but many can be. Some of these dangers are common knowledge- like don’t leave your pets in a car when the weather is warm. Other risks are not so obvious, including the recent FDA warning that there is a risk to cats living with people using a topical pain cream. This month I’m going to briefly address some things that many people may not be aware are dangerous to their pets.
In April the FDA issued a report warning to owners that use a topical pain medication containing an NSAID, flurbiprofen. Cats in two different households showed gastrointestinal and kidney symptoms consistent with NSAID toxicity. The source of the exposure is unknown, but the FDA advises to discard any applicator that retains medication and avoid leaving residues of medication on clothing, carpeting or furniture. If your cat becomes ill, make sure to tell your veterinarian that you are using this or any other topical medication that your cat could have come in contact with. At the time of publications there were no reports of dogs being affected, but taking appropriate precautions against exposure would still be recommended. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is VERY toxic to cats. As little as one 325 mg tablet can kill a cat. Never give any pain medicine to your pets without your veterinarian’s recommendation.
Everyone knows chocolate can be toxic to pets, but there are other foods that can also be dangerous. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, the actual cause isn’t clearly identified, but is thought to be a substance in the flesh of the fruit. Dogs seem to be more prone to intoxication, and not many cats are interested in eating grapes or raisins. However, any exposure to a dog or cat should be treated. Xylitol is found in some foods, especially sugar-free products such as gum and candy and also in some medication. In dogs, it causes problems with blood sugar regulation and can lead to death. There is now some peanut butter that contains xylitol, which is very concerning for dogs because so many people use peanut butter as a treat for dogs. When buying peanut butter, read the label and make sure xylitol isn’t listed as one of the ingredients.
I know a lot of people have compost piles, and it’s a great thing to do for the environment, but it can pose a risk to pets. Molds can grow on any food, including dairy products, grains, nuts, and legumes. Once exposed, intoxication can lead to death fairly quickly or can cause muscle tremors that continue for a week. If you compost food products, make sure to have the compost in a secure area away from your pets.
Flea season is well upon us, and this year we are seeing more ticks than we usual. I’m not sure why we are seeing more ticks, but it is important, especially for dogs that go into wooded areas to use a product that controls ticks along with fleas. There are many products available and you should ask your veterinarian for a recommendation specific to your pet. When it comes to cats you must be very careful and ONLY use products that are approved for cats. Many products approved for dogs contain permethrin type ingredients that can make cats very sick and even lead to death. Again, please ask your vet before using any parasite control product on your cat. The most expensive flea treatment is when you use the wrong one and have to pay for days of emergency care to save your kitty.
Our remodel is in full swing and we are now in the new part of the practice while the older part is getting a complete overhaul. Mark your calendar for our open house to show off all the changes on August 22. As usual, feel free to contact me with any comments or questions; [email protected], visit our website: wildernessvet.com, or our Facebook page.