This month there are a few topics I wanted to cover, all related to the things I found on my meandering on the internet, social media, veterinary websites and even televised news.
One topic that always draws interest in veterinary medicine is what our pets will eat. A veterinary magazine has a contest every year for the most interesting and amazing things our patients have eaten. One case getting the most press recently is a Great Dane in Portland that had 43 and ½ socks removed from his stomach. Currently, I am treating a patient that has had a quarter in her stomach since at least 2006. It was present in an x-ray in 2006 and in recent x-rays, the technology is better and you can even see George Washington’s silhouette. The quarter isn’t causing any problem, so it will stay there unless it does cause a problem.
Another subject that regularly comes up is feeding raw food. I have always directed people that are going to feed raw food to the FDA website to learn the risks and proper food handling required for raw food, but recently a coworker let me know the FDA’s stance had changed due to the results of a recent study. In this 2012 study 190 samples of dry dog food, 190 samples of jerky type treat, 120 samples each of semi-moist cat and dog food was tested and none of these samples had Salmonella or Listeria contamination. Of 196 samples of raw food, 15 were positive for Salmonella and 32 were positive for Listeria. Both bacteria can cause serious disease, but Listeria is especially a concern for pregnant mothers, newborn babies and people with compromised immune systems. Anyone feeding raw food or considering feeding raw food to their pets should FDA’s informational page, “Get the facts! Raw Pet food diets can be dangerous to you and your pet.” I have put a link to it on our webpage under Internet Resources.
Finally, marijuana and pets are something veterinarians deal with much more frequently since legalization in Washington State. We are seeing at least a case a week where a pet has consumed their owner’s marijuana, most of the time in the form of the THC containing edibles. There is a very good article on the Seattle Kennel Club website, written by Ranny Green synopsizing the current information on pets and marijuana intoxication and use as a medicinal. It is important to remember if you have marijuana in your house, especially in an edible form, a dog (and sometimes cat) will eat it if within reach. When ingested the THC stays in the pet, sometimes taking days for the animal to completely metabolize it out of their body. The good news is that marijuana toxicity is rarely serious, and with supportive care and time, most animals recover completely. Sometimes the hardest part is for people to admit the pet could have had exposure. Remember, we aren’t going to judge you, we just want to give your pet the appropriate treatment, and other diseases and poisonings can look much like marijuana toxicity. So if you know your pet was exposed to marijuana, let the vet know. If you are not sure, the urine test for humans can be used, but it can have a false negative result 7% of the time (meaning that the pet did eat marijuana but the urine test showed negative.) As far as using cannabis-derived products medicinally for pets, there have been no studies on the proper dosing and effects of cannabis-derived products on our pet patients, therefore, further studies are needed before veterinarians can safely prescribe it.
Summer is ending and I want to remind you a few quick things: 1. Salmon is going to be running up the river, don’t let your dogs eat the dead/dying salmon. 2. If you are changing your antifreeze, don’t leave it out for a pet or child to consume it and consider pet/children safe antifreeze 3. As the days get colder, bang on the hood of your car before you get in to make sure a kitty cat hasn’t snuggled up under the hood to stay warm.
As always if you have any questions, concerns or would like to contact me: [email protected], or visit our Facebook page or website wildernessvet.com.