Spring Toxins and Easter Dangers
Each season sees spikes in different sorts of cases in veterinary practice – some unavoidable and others that could be avoided if people are aware of them, and Spring is no different! To help you keep your furry friend safe this Spring, we thought we would share our most common avoidable hazards!
With Spring comes Easter – and with Easter comes chocolate and raisins (hot cross buns). Chocolate can be toxic at certain doses, and at very high doses it can cause heart problems and death. This also includes cocoa in hot chocolate and cocoa powder for cakes. Raisins are dried grapes and, like grapes, can cause kidney failure. Unlike chocolate, there is no known toxic dose for grapes and raisins, as each individual reacts differently and there is currently no way to predict which dog will react in which way. Some dogs can eat raisins and grapes and show no ill effect, but others will develop acute kidney failure with just a couple.
Keeping all chocolate eggs/bars/hot cross buns etc well out of reach will prevent an emergency visit to the vet. If your pet does eat these, getting them to the vet within the hour gives them the best chance of successfully being made sick to avoid problems. Longer than 4 hours and most of the food will have been absorbed and more intensive treatments may be needed.
In Spring a lot of bulbs start to sprout and a number of those can be toxic. The most common of these are tulips and daffodils. Make sure unplanted bulbs are kept out of reach and don’t let them dig up the flower beds!
And as always – watch out for lilies, which are lethally toxic to cats. Every part of the plant is poisonous, even the pollen, which is easily picked up on brushing past or even walking under the flower.
Antifreeze is often added to screen wash and engine coolant in winter, and often people service their cars in Spring. This can involve emptying old engine coolant – if you see any puddles near where any mechanical work has been taking place, make sure you keep your pets away until it has been cleared up. Cats especially like to drink it for the sweet taste and it causes catastrophic kidney failure.
Bites and Stings
Bees and Wasps start to appear – one sting from either for most pets is only mildly uncomfortable, but if your pet starts to act lethargic, seems distressed or starts to have breathing problems then they will need to see a vet urgently. Multiple stings can be life threatening, so if you see a wasps or bees nest, make sure you keep your pet away.
Adders are coming out of hibernation at this time of year, and are at their most venomous. If you live in an adder area, avoid areas known to have them. If you have no choice but to walk in the area, be aware that they are more likely to be basking on the paths to warm up at this time of year, and will be more sluggish to move out the way. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by an adder, seek immediate veterinary care.
While this is more common in Summer, we can have unseasonably warm days in Spring which can catch us unawares. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke at surprisingly low temperatures when they are not acclimatised to it, and especially if they have been exercised hard.
Older dogs, young puppies, and dogs with a shorter nose (Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekinese etc) are much more likely to struggle even with temperatures in the low 20s. If the weather feels warm, please make sure your pet has access to shade, fresh water and is kept cool. Time walks to the early morning and later evenings.
Rest assured, we are always on hand if you have any concerns! Give us a call or use our live chat service to chat directly to one of our friendly team.