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SEASONAL HAZARDS

We have already had our first Christmas Poisoning case - mince pies purloined from a cupboard by an opportunistic Labrador. Grapes of all forms (especially dried) can cause kidney failure and the toxic effects are not apparently 'dose' related- one dog might eat a little and need life-saving treatment, while another might eat a lot and be largely unaffected. For this reason, the ingestion of any quantity has to be treated urgently, involving prompt emptying the stomach (we have an injection to induce vomiting), fluid therapy and monitoring of kidney function. I'm pleased to say that this case did well.

Here's a list of common problems at this time of year- give us a call if you'd like more information about any of them:

1) Anti-freeze (ethylene glycol): be it a screen-wash, brake fluid or from a car radiator, this is one poison that cats find very attractive as well as dogs, and ingestion is usually fatal unless treated immediately.

2) Chocolate: more than 9g per kilo body weight of milk or just 1.25g/kg of dark chocolate eaten needs an emergency visit to the vet so don't leave it lying around. It may also contain....

3) Raisins, sultanas, currants and grapes themselves can have serious effects. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, chocolate raisins...clear them away before your after-dinner snooze.

4) Intestinal blockages: corn-on-the-cob, bones, tinsel, batteries...you name it, it can be swallowed. Batteries can cause electrical or chemical burns, as well as leak all sorts of nasties.

5) Pot-plants: lilies, peace-lilies, cyclamen and poinsettias are all toxic if eaten. Be especially careful with lilies. All parts of the plant are toxic but the pollen often drops onto the fur of a passing cat and is then ingested by cats when grooming, causing kidney failure. In fact- best banned from cat-owning households.

6) Nuts- peanuts, macadamia nuts, coffee beans (especially those chocolate covered ones...) And don't forget all that greenery we bring indoors- holly, ivy and mistletoe can all cause upsets.

The Ghost of Christmas Past


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