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Okanagan Veterinary Hospital
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As we celebrate the holiday season, we’d like to make sure that our furry friends don’t get wrapped up in some of the decorations or festive treats that may be hazardous to their health. Be on the lookout for some of the dangers that may be lurking around the house during the holidays.
 
Resist the Fancy Feastings
As a part of our family, most of us try to share our holidays with our pets. But as difficult as it may be, try and resist the urge to indulge your pet in the rich foods of the season. Gastrointestinal upsets which can actually lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis are common complaints we see this time of year. Pets are not people and will do much better on a quality pet food diet!
 
Did you know that ingesting several ounces of chocolate can kill a small dog? Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are even more toxic. Make sure to keep all chocolate far out of reach of pets.
 
Deck the Halls
While decorative plants adorn many homes at this time of year, be aware that many ornamental plants of the season can be toxic to pets. Mistletoe, poinsettia, holly, and lilies are just a few. Symptoms can range from mild gastrointestinal upset, nausea and vomiting to kidney failure. When decorating with plants, remember to restrict animal access.
 
Oh Christmas Tree …
A veritable wonderland for animals, especially cats. But dangers abound! Water from your tree may contain fertilizers that can upset your pet’s stomach. Ribbons, tinsel, and string can easily become lodged in intestines and cause obstructions. Glass or other ornaments, if ingested, can cause internal lacerations. Close proximity to candles can singe hair quickly … or cause fires if accidently knocked over.
 
Dangers also lurk under the tree. Electric cords are potential electrocution risks. Small toys can cause obstructions and batteries contain corrosives that can cause ulcerations to the mouth, tongue and GI tract.
 
The Weather Outside is Frightful …
Adequate shelter from the elements should always be available for your outdoor pets. And don’t forget … water bowls left outside WILL freeze!
 
Outdoor cats will often seek the warmth from a car engine and climb right up under the hood. To avert any CATastrophes, bang on the hood or honk the car horn before starting your vehicle to warn any unsuspecting cat time to flee!
 
Winter Wonderland
Ice melting products, depending on the active ingredient, can be irritating to pet’s skin, pads and mouth. Restrict your pets’ access to areas where these products have been applied or make sure they wear their rubber booties too!
 
Antifreeze is sweet to the taste but did you know that one teaspoon can be lethal to a cat (4 teaspoons to a 10 pound dog!). Thoroughly clean up all spills and store antifreeze in tightly closed containers.
 
Not a Creature Was Stirring ….
Except for the mice! Ingested rat and mouse bait can cause serious clotting disorders. When using these products be sure to place them in areas totally inaccessible to pets. Always keep the product information should a problem arise. In an emergency, it is helpful to know which active ingredient was involved.

Does My Senior Pet Need Bloodwork?

Here’s a quick explanation on why it’s good to get annual blood tests for your senior (7+ yrs) pet: 

If done consistently, annual blood tests can help a veterinarian track and evaluate the overall condition of a pet’s vital organs and health.  In addition, blood tests can help a veterinarian detect early signs of many serious health conditions such as: kidney disease, diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, and liver disease.

Senior profiles are more comprehensive and will provide a more thorough evaluation of your pet’s current health.  These panels can also provide a good look into the body’s response to medications and anesthesia.  There are different types of blood tests that can be done, all performing different functions.  A CBC, complete blood cell count, looks for adequate red and white blood cell numbers and checks their present condition.  The chemistry profile looks at various organ enzymes, glucose, proteins, electrolytes, and cholesterol.  Finally, senior panels also look at thyroid function, making sure it is not over or under active.  In addition, your veterinarian may need to check your pet’s urine for signs of disease.

Routine blood work is useful in many applications: to establish a baseline on a healthy pet to compare to later, to help diagnose a pet that is “just not right”, and in geriatric pets.  Speak to your veterinarian today to see if a senior blood panel is right for your furry friend.

Is Your Car Too Warm For Your Pet?
 
Leaving your pet in a car on a hot summer day can put your pet at risk of serious illness or death, even on a day that doesn’t seem that hot to you. Here are a few reasons why your pet should never be left unattended in a vehicle.
 
- Your car temperature can rise 40 degrees per hour, meaning a 72 degree day can feel like 112 in your car within 60 minutes.
- It’s been shown that rolling down the windows has little effect on the temperature inside your vehicle.
- On warmer days your car can reach temperatures of 120 degrees within minutes.
 
It’s important to leave your pet at home or in a cooler environment on hot days to avoid heatstroke symptoms including: excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, decreased appetite, rapid heartbeat, fever and vomiting. If your pet shows any signs of overheating, it is imperative to get them cooled off immediately and taken to a veterinarian for additional care.
 
Do you have any tips to keep your pet safe on hot summer days? Share with us below!

Don’t Lose Your Pet This Summer

Summer is your pet’s favorite time of the year. The grass is green, the water is cool and there is more daylight to enjoy the outdoors. In rural areas it’s easy let your pet roam free without a care, but how do you ensure they always end up back in your arms? Here are a few good ways to help make sure you never lose your furry friend.

1. Pet Tags: The simplest way ensure your pet doesn’t stay lost for long is to add a small tag to their collar that includes the pet’s name and your phone number. If the constant jingling of a tag drives you or your pet crazy, simply have the contact information embroidered directly onto their collar.
2. Microchips: A more advanced solution to pet tags, a microchip about the size of a grain of rice can be embedded under the skin. Animal shelters that scan for these chips successfully deliver pets with microchips back to their families at a 75% rate.
3. GPS Tracking: The latest and greatest in pet reunification. Track your pet from an app on your mobile device to be ever-connected with your animal. As a bonus, you can even use the device as an activity monitor to learn how much exercise your pet is getting. These apps do however come with a monthly fee to maintain location service.

How do you keep your pet from getting lost? Let us know in the comments below.
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