Belmont Veterinary Services
Serving Belmont, Aylmer, Dorchester, Nilestown, London and all the surrounding areas!

Poison Awareness: Lilies

Though they are beautiful, lilies are very toxic to cats. Just be sure, when you bring flowers to Easter dinner, you know what’s in the bouquet.

The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species. Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure.

lily-300x248Poisonous to: Cats
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe
Common signs to watch for:

  • Inappetance
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Halitosis
  • Dehydration
  • Inappropriate urination or thirst
  • Seizures
  • Death

There are benign and dangerous lilies out there, and it’s important to know the difference. Benign lilies include the Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies; these contain insoluble oxalate crystals that cause minor signs such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus. Clinical signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming, and vomiting may be transiently seen.

Other types of dangerous lilies include lily of the valley. This type does not cause kidney failure, but can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs or cats.

If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the lily poisoning can be treated. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis. Intravenous fluids must be started within an 18 hour window for the best outcome.

Information courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline.

Closed on Good Friday

Just a reminder, we will be closed on March 29th, 2013 for Good Friday. Regular office hours resume on Saturday.


Mon: 9AM – 7PM
Tue: 9AM – 6PM
Wed: 9AM – 6PM
Thurs: 9AM – 5PM
Fri: CLOSED
Sat: 9AM – Noon

If you have an emergency, you can still call us at our regular phone number. We have an emergency on-call service in place. Just leave a message in our voice mail and we will call you back as soon as possible.

Sponsor Amy in support of National Service Dogs

Our office manager, Amy, and her dog little Westie, Darla, will be participating in the 2013 Windsor Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs & their Families happening on Friday, March 29th.

All donations go to support the National Service Dogs (NSD). NSD is committed to enriching the quality of life and enhancing the independence of children and individuals living with autism and special needs by providing them with specially trained Labrador and Golden Retrievers. It’s all for a great cause, so please, consider supporting Amy and Darla! Any donation of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.

Poison Awareness: Alcohol

While you’re out enjoying your St. Patrick’s Day green beer, just make sure you don’t share any with your pets this weekend.

greenbeerPoisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to severe
Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Retching
  • Vomiting or attempting to vomit
  • Distended stomach/bloat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Death

Most people know not to give alcoholic drinks to their pets; however, alcohol poisoning in pets is more common than you think! This is because alcohol can be found in surprising places. Rum-soaked fruitcake or unbaked dough containing yeast result in alcohol poisoning and other life-threatening problems. Unbaked bread dough will expand in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloated stomach (called “bloat”), which can then progress to a gastric-dilitation volvulus (GDV), which is a twisted stomach. Signs of GDV include vomiting, non-productive retching, a distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, weakness, collapse, and death. Secondly, when the yeast in the unbaked dough is fermented, it results in the production of carbon dioxide (causing the bloat) and alcohol. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in alcohol poisoning quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Information courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline.

Poison Awareness: Grapes/Raisins

Grapes, raisins, and even currants (some currants are actually small, black grapes) are toxic to your dog! In fact, there have been anecdotal reports of cats and ferrets being affected by these also. Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, or currants can result in severe, acute kidney failure. All types of grape- or raisin-containing products (including grape juice, trail mix, bagels, etc.) can result in this. Even organic, pesticide-free, grapes grown in home gardens can result in toxicity. Although the mechanism of action is not clearly understood on how grapes, raisins and currants are poisonous at this time, this common fruit can result in anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially severe acute renal failure (which develops several days later). The toxicity is not necessarily dose-dependent, and symptoms can occur with even small ingestions. Decontamination (e.g., inducing vomiting, decontaminating with activated charcoal, etc.), aggressive supportive care, aggressive IV fluid therapy, and kidney function (e.g., BUN/creatinine) monitoring is recommended.

GrapesPoisonous to: Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe
Common signs to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal drinking or urination
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Halitosis
  • Dehydration

Information courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline.

Veterinarians Remind Pet Owners of the Importance of Vaccinations After Recent Outbreaks

Due to a recent outbreak of parvovirus in Ontario, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association has released this statement on the importance of vaccinating your pets.

In light of a recent increase in reported cases of parvovirus in dogs, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association reminds Ontario’s pet owners to ensure that their pets’ visit a veterinarian on a regular basis and receive regular vaccinations to help prevent illness.

Veterinarians and the media are reporting an increase in cases of parvovirus in areas across Ontario in all settings, including animals in humane societies and in private homes. Dr. Scott Weese, Chief of Infection Control and a professor in the Pathobiology department at the Ontario Veterinary College, believes these cases again support the importance of preventive veterinary treatments and the need for ongoing surveillance. “In recent years there has been some skepticism about the need for veterinary preventive care, ironically, this is partly because these treatments have been so successful in preventing the spread of disease, but this study shows that prevention only works if we stick with it. Pet owners need to believe in the importance of routine preventive medicine in order to control the spread of disease in our pets.”

Parvovirus is a serious and potentially fatal condition that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system of puppies and dogs, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. It can also attack the hearts of very young puppies. The virus is highly contagious and spread through direct contact with infected dogs or infected feces. It is easily carried on hands, food dishes, leashes, shoes, etc. The virus is very stable in the environment and can survive for years in feces and soil through extremes of heat, cold, drought, or humidity. Though 85 percent to 90 percent of treated dogs survive, the disease requires extensive supportive patient care and can be expensive to treat. In untreated dogs, the mortality rate can exceed 90 percent.

Although parvovirus can be a serious disease, it is easily prevented by a vaccination from a veterinarian. “It’s imperative that owners take their pets to their veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure that they remain happy and healthy,” said Dr. Weese.

– From the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

Parvovirus Symptoms
If you see any of the following symptoms in your puppy or dog, contact us immediately.

  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy or listlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal distention (pot belly) or discomfort
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Profuse diarrhea

Poison Awareness: Antifreeze

As the weather still remains cold, we will be sure to go through a lot of antifreeze in the car. Just make sure that you handle it with care, store it safely away from the reach of your beloved pets and dispose of it properly because antifreeze is highly poisonous to both cats and dogs. Due to its sweet aroma and sweet taste, pets often ingest it accidentally.

AntifreezePoisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Severe to fatal
Common signs to watch for:

  • Drunkenness
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Sedation
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Death

Antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol (EG), is extremely dangerous to dogs and cats. Sources of ethylene glycol include automotive antifreeze (radiator coolant, which typically contains 95% ethylene glycol), windshield deicing agents, motor oils, hydraulic brake fluid, developing solutions for photography, paints, solvents, etc. As little as a tablespoon can result in severe acute kidney failure in dogs, while as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal to cats. When dogs or cats are exposed to ethylene glycol, immediate treatment is necessary. Three stages of poisoning can be seen with ethylene glycol:

Stage 1: This occurs within 30 minutes to 12 hours, and looks similar to alcohol poisoning. Signs of walking drunk, drooling, vomiting, seizuring, and excessive thirst and urination may be seen.

Stage 2: This occurs within 12-24 hours post-exposure, and clinical signs seen to “resolve” when in fact more severe internal injury is still occurring.

Stage 3: In cats, this stage occurs 12-24 hours after ethylene glycol exposure. In dogs, this stage occurs 36-72 hours post-ingestion. During this stage, severe acute kidney failure is occuring. Signs of inappetance, lethargy, drooling, halitosis (secondary to kidney failure), coma, depression, vomiting, and seizures may be seen.

Treatment for ethylene glycol poisoning includes the antidote fompeizole (also known as 4-MP) or ethanol. The antidote, fomepizole (also known as 4-MP), is expensive but life-saving when administered to dogs within the first 8-12 hours of ingestion. In cats, the antidote must be administered within 3 hours of ingestion to be effective; after this time period, ethylene glycol poisoning is almost 100% fatal without hemodialysis. Aggressive therapy is necessary to survive.

How to keep your pets safe:

  1. Switch to a brand of antifreeze that contains propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
  2. Keep antifreeze sealed and away from animals; clean up spills completely, and fix any leaks immediately.
  3. Don’t allow your pet to wander unattended near driveways, roads, garages, or other places where she could come into contact with antifreeze.
  4. Keep other products that contain ethylene glycol—like paint, cosmetics and novelty snow globes—out of the reach of animals, as well as any product of which you are not certain of the ingredients.
  5. Monitor your pet for strange behavior. If you think she may have ingested antifreeze, take her to a veterinarian immediately.

Information courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline and The Humane Society of the United States.

Poison Awareness: Spring bulb plants

Although it doesn’t feel like it, spring is coming. With springtime comes gardening and thawing of the frozen ground to reveal your spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Though these flowers are beautiful in your yard, they can be toxic to your pets if they ingest them. The toxic principle of these plants is very concentrated in the bulbs (versus the leaf or flower), and when ingested in large amounts, can result in severe clinical signs. Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) or respiratory depression. Severe poisoning from hyacinth or tulip poisoning is often seen when dogs dig up freshly planted bulbs or having access to a large bag of them. When the plant parts or bulbs are chewed or ingested, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus.

springbulbsPoisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate
Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Difficulty breathing

Information courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline.

Spay and Neuter promotion

If you book a spay or neuter for your cat or dog between March 11th and March 22nd, you can get 15% off on the cost of the spay/neuter!* Space is limited, so call now and book today!

Not sure why you should spay/neuter your pets?

Well, here are the top 10 reasons to spay or neuter your pet from the ASPCA

  1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat.
    While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. It is highly cost-effective.
    The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

*Excludes de-clawing, microchipping, pre-anesthetic blood work, IV fluids and additional medication

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month!

Just because Pet Dental Health Month has ended doesn’t mean you should forget about everything you’ve learned this month. Remember, brushing is best!

DentalInfographic
Infographic courtesy of VPI Insurance

Also, March marks the beginning of Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Every Monday and Thursday we will be featuring items which are poisonous to your pets. For more information on poisonous household items, you can visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and The Pet Poison Hotline websites.

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