Friday, April 27, 2012

Pet Food Recall : Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul (Diamond Pet Foods)


Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Issues Voluntary Recall
Recall is limited to one formula of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul distributed to 10 states
Diamond Pet Foods is recalling one production run of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food. One bag of the product has tested positive for Salmonella, and the recall of the four production codes is being conducted as a precautionary measure. 

We encourage consumers who have purchased Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food with the specific production codes and best before dates to discard the product. Diamond Pet Foods apologizes for any potential issues this may have caused our customers and their dogs.  No dog illnesses have been reported.

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula – dry dog food:
35 lb - CLF0102B31XCW,    Best by Date 27/JAN/2013
35 lb - CLF0102B31XCW,    Best by Date 28/JAN/2013
35 lb - CLF0102B32XWR,    Best by Date 28/JAN/2013
6 lb - CLF0102B3XALW,     Best by Date 28/JAN/2013

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods and was distributed in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, who may have further distributed the product to other states, through pet food channels. The company is working directly with distributors and retailers who carry these products to remove them from the supply chain.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.
Pet owners, who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact us at 800-442-0402.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Class IV Therapy Laser Treatment and Surgical Laser at Niles Animal Hospital

We are excited to announce that we have been using our Class IV therapy laser for the treatment of all sorts of disease conditions in our animal patients: dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, and wildlife. Laser therapy is being used worldwide in both people and pets. The application of laser therapy is a powerful tool in providing care through the relief of pain and swelling, as a local and systemic anti-inflammatory mediator, as a superior means of healing wounds or injuries, as a stimulation of the acupuncture points (needleless acupuncture) and as a solution to many persistent dermatological disorders.

How the Laser Works
The laser works by light penetrating deep within the tissues and the photons stimulate the physiological processes at the cellular level. This is termed photostimulation. As the cells absorb this light energy, both the cellular respiratory and metabolic rates increase significantly. Therefore, the physiological effects that these photons have upon the cells is photochemical and not photothermal in nature.

Photobiostimulation allows for an increase in cellular health and energy. Photons are only absorbed by unhealthy cells: they have no effect on normal healthy cells. The impact is that the cells produce more energy (ATP), which leads to normalization of cell function, pain relief, and healing.

With animals that have chronic arthritis and are on anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Rimadyl or Metacam, laser therapy can provide such relief that the dosages of these drugs can be significantly reduced.

The Biological Effects of Laser Therapy
1) Relieves Pain
2) Reduces Inflammation
3) Accelerates Tissue Repair and Cell Growth
4) Improves Circulation
5) Increases Cellular Metabolic Activity
6) Reduces Fibrous Tissue Formation (Scarring)
7) Improves Nerve Function
8) Accelerates Wound Healing
9) Stimulates Immunoregulation (helps the immune system response)
10) Stimulates Acupuncture and Trigger Points (provides needleless acupuncture)

Conditions Responsive to Laser Therapy
Wound Healing
  • Surgical Incisions
  • Clean Wounds with Abrasions
  • Contaminated Wounds
  • Burns
  • Bite Wounds
  • Snakebites
Skin Conditions
  • Acral Lick Dermatitis
  • Allergic Dermatitis
  • Burns
  • Cat Bite Abscess
  • Eczema
  • Eosinophilic Granuloma - Indolent Ulcer
  • Eosinophilic Granuloma  - Plaque
  • Frostbite
  • Miliary Dermatitis (Feline)
  • Moist Dermatitis (Hot Spots)
  • Otitis Externa
  • Panniculitis - Diffuse
  • Panniculitis - Septal
  • Pododermatitis
  • Pyoderma
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis
  • Seborrhea
Musculoskeltal Disorders
The goal in laser treatment for musculoskeletal conditions is to 1) Reduce pain and inflammation, 2) Restore range of motion, 3) Restore the strength of the tissues, 4) Improve the quality of life. 

Laser Assisted Rehabilitation goals are 1) Restore mobility post surgery, 2) Improve function and quality of movement after an injury, 3) Manage acute and chronic pain, 4) Improve quality of life for the geriatric and arthritic patients, 5) Increase strength, range of motion, endurance and performance, 6) Reduction of pain, swelling and complications, 7) Overall increased speed of recovery, 8) Improved and prolonged quality of life.

Laser Assisted Rehabilitation decreases pain, swelling, muscle spasm, atrophy, muscle contracture, and scar tissue. It increases muscle strength, rate of tissue healing, rate of recovery range of motion, and coordination.

Muscle and Ligament Disorders
  • Cruciate Ligament Injury and Surgery
  • Tendon Injury / Ligament Injury
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
Orthopedic Disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Trauma / Fractures
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
  • Post Operative Hip Surgeries (Total Hip Replacement, FHO)
Neurological Disorders
  • Back Pain / Neck Pain
  • Loss of Motor Control
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Paralysis
Geriatric Disorders
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Neurologic Conditions
Surgical Laser
With our surgical laser we have greatly expanded our capabilities to provide a wide array of procedures. We are able to perform surgical procedures with minimal tissue trauma and bleeding, such as laser declaws in cats. We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide more and safer surgical options for our patients.

Peter S. Sakas DVM

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hand Feeding Formula Recall Update

Sadly, the improper formulation of the baby bird hand feeding formula has had wide spread effects. As the levels of vitamin D3 (which aids in calcium absorption) were too high, it lead to widespread mineralization of the tissues of the baby birds being fed this diet. The kidneys were especially affected, becoming swollen, mineralized, non-functioning, failing, and leading to eventual death. The effect seemed dependent upon the type of bird, it's age, how much of the food it was being fed, and apparent susceptibility to the D3 levels.

We deal with a large number of breeders and pet stores who unfortunately ran into problems with the recalled formulas. The Kaytee hand feeding formulas are outstanding products and have widespread usage among breeders who hand raise their birds.

Sharp eyed breeders identified changes in the babies and were able to seek care early enough to reverse some of the changes. But in some cases the birds died quickly or became symptomatic to late, where the damage had already become so severe it was irreversible.  Many of the birds presented with dehydration and when the blood work was done, their kidney values were elevated (uric acid), calcium and phosphorus levels were sometimes elevated and most usually had increased white blood cell counts, due to the inflammation of the tissues. We were able to successfully treat many of these birds by starting them on fluid therapy, using drugs to lower uric acid levels (allopurinol), prevent further damage to kidney/liver tissue (colchicine), and antibiotics to treat secondary infections. However, some birds were brought in deceased and we conducted post mortem examinations which demonstrated the kidney damage (swelling and mineralization).

This episode emphasizes the importance of quality control in the production of foods as there can be deleterious effects (remember the problem with the dogs dying from the melamine toxicosis years ago in the dog food). This transcends the pet industry as well and should serve as a caveat to us as consumers, as we are also very susceptible to food that could be similarly tainted or improperly formulated. Outbreaks of Salmonellosis and E. coli in people are stark reminders of that as well. Deal with quality sources of foods, handle and store them properly.

The good news is that Kaytee, as any reputable company should, has taken the responsibility for what has happened and is reimbursing people for their losses because of the recalled hand feeding formula. All of the Kaytee hand feeding formulations on the shelves of the pet stores are now safe and there was no problem with their seed products or pelleted foods. (The recalled food codes are in one of our previous blogs).

If ever you notice any unusual changes with your birds, contact your avian veterinarian. The sooner you address any problems and seek treatment, the better success and resolution of the problem you will have.

Peter S. Sakas DVM

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yard Sale for Charity Update

The details have been ironed out for the yard sale to benefit Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.It will take place on Sunday, May 20th from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM in the Niles Animal Hospital parking lot at 7278 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Niles. There will be plentiful parking at surrounding parking lots in the area.

As you are doing your spring cleaning bring over anything that can be donated to this good cause so money can be raised to provide care for the sick and injured wildlife Flint Creek works with. The link to their website is: Your donated materials are tax deductible.If the weather permits they may be able to bring some of the education wildlife for you to view.

Donated materials can be dropped off at the animal hospital during regular business hours M, T, Th, F 8-6, W 8-5, Sat 8-2. We will remain an hour later on Saturday May 19th until 3 PM for more drop offs. We will be storing the items in a storeroom in the hospital until the sale. You can also bring materials the day of the yard sale, but we want to be up and ready to go by 8 AM.

If you would like to volunteer your help for set up and helping to "sell" the items it would be appreciated. We will be hopefully beginning the set up around 6:00 AM on Sunday the 20th.

So several opportunities to participate, donate goods, volunteer to help with set up and selling or just coming by to purchase items, gathering up some treasures, but also supporting a great cause.

Questions, comments, concerns, contact Dr. Sakas at Niles Animal Hospital 847-647-9325, email or Dawn Keller at Flint Creek

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A True Story About a Dying Boy's Wish

I received this email from a friend of mine. I had seen it before but this time I decided to share the story on the blog. Sometimes stories like this put things in perspective. We must be thankful for what we have and acts of kindness we perform can go a very long way.

If this doesn't touch your heart, you better check your pulse...

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination.

Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked, 'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up ? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met
  Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix .

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be
 possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
 him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards !

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy
 onewith the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear
and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,
 and even the fire chief's car.  He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor ?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------
16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
said, 'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels have been

He closed his eyes one last time.

Please pass this along to people you want to be touched & blessed.

This story is powerful and there is nothing attached.

Uplifting stories are one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards, so let's
continue to uplift one another ~


Friday, April 13, 2012

Recall of Baby Bird Hand Feeding Formula

RECALL issued on Kaytee Handfeeding Formula***

----- Forwarded message from Dr. Susan Clubb -----

Important announcement regarding hand rearing formula with excess vitamin
D. Please do not feed any formula of the lots listed below.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Randal Brue
Date: April 8, 2012 7:58:26 PM EDT
To: Susan Clubb
Subject: IMPORTANT - Kaytee Handfeeding Formula

Final lab results were concluded on Friday and indicated
that product was produced incorrectly. Involved was one production
batch of Handfeeding Formula for Baby Birds and one of Macaw Handfeeding
Formula. Both of these have levels of vitamin D3 that may cause kidney
damage, the severity of which will be dependent on the species being
fed, age of babies fed and the duration of feeding. 
Subject: IMPORTANT -Katee Exact Handfeeding Formula 5 lb has been recalled March and May 2013... Final lab results were concluded on Friday and indicated that product was produced incorrectly. Involved was one production batch of Handfeeding Formula for Baby Birds and one of MacawHandfeeding Formula. Both of these have levels of vitamin D3 that may cause kidney damage, the severity of which will be dependent on the species being fed, age of babies fed and the duration of feeding. 
The following packaging code dates are of concern:Product Code/SKU/ Material # UPC Code Size Lot/Serial No. Product Name/Description Best Before Code (day month yr)
100032326 07185947510 6/7.5 oz. A1 Kaytee exact® Hand Feeding Formula Baby Birds 21 Mar 13 through 20 Apr 13100032328 07185947511 6/18 oz. A2 Kaytee Exact® Hand Feeding Formula Baby Bird 9 Mar 13 through 19 Apr 13 
100032330 07185947512 4/5 lb. A3* Kaytee exact® Hand Feeding Formula Baby Bird 14 Mar 13, 30 Mar 13 and 16May 13100032336 07185947518 22 lb. A4 Kaytee Exact® Hand Feeding Formula Baby Bird 21 Mar 13, 13 Apr 13 and 16 May 13
100032337 07185947515 4/5 lb. B1 Kaytee Exact® Hand Feeding Formula Baby Macaw 1 Mar 13, 14 Mar 13 and 19Apr 13
Products and product lots that do not appear on the list above are NOT affected. Please distribute this information as necessary. More details will be distributed by Kaytee in the next couple of days regarding product replacement and evaluation of potential problems. Thanks for all of your help in this issue.
Note from Dr. Sakas: The problem with excessive Vitamin D3 is that it can lead to mineralization of the kidneys in birds with resultant renal failure. The Vitamin D3 aids in calcium absorption, however, when excess amounts in a baby bird hand feeding formula are present, it leads to increased calcium absorption and deposition of the excess calcium into the kidneys, leading to the mineralization and failure of the organs. I have seen this problem in the past with other hand feeding formulas where there has been too much Vitamin D3 and/or calcium, leading to damage to the kidneys of the developing baby birds.
Depending upon how early this condition is identified and treated will determine the prognosis. If it is severe with extensive mineralization the prognosis is poor, but caught early and treated appropriately, the prognosis is much better. It is difficult to be sure how much of the kidney damage is permanent.
We have had a few of our breeder clients who have had problems with the aforementioned hand feeding formulas of the batches recalled. The symptoms have been lethargy, dehydration, some vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and ruffled feathers. When we performed blood work we have found elevated uric acid levels (bird kidney function test), elevated sodium and potassium (due to dehydration), one bird had very elevated calcium levels, increased CK (due to changes in muscle tissue probably due to mineralization), and increased white blood cell counts (indicating inflammation/infection). 
The birds have been placed on fluid therapy ("dialysis" to help flush out the kidneys), antibiotics (to treat any infection present), allopurinol (to lower uric acid levels), colchicine/probenecid (to prevent scarring of the liver and kidney), vitamin B complex, and gavage feedings. So far our treatments have appeared to be successful but we will not be sure for some time if the kidney damage done is permanent.
If you have discovered you have been hand feeding your baby birds with the recalled formulas, contact your veterinarian to decide if you need to have blood tests performed on the birds. If the birds are acting sick, be certain to obtain veterinary assistance as soon as possible. 
Kaytee is an excellent company with outstanding products and they have taken the responsibility of getting the word out about the recall. Contact them if you have had problems with your baby birds due to the recalled formula. They will take full responsibility, as any honorable company should. As stated earlier, their other, non-recalled products are still safe to use.
Peter S. Sakas DVM

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yard Sale Sunday May 20th!

On Sunday, May 20th, we will be hosting a yard sale to benefit Flint Creek Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation. Flint Creek is a not for profit organization which is actively involved with rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife, as well as education the public about our native wildlife. Needless to say, they depend upon charitable donations to enable them to continue their work. An example of one of their projects was the release of the two bald eaglets from Batavia at Starved Rock last fall. There are a couple of blogs that I wrote about the topic on this site at that time.

More details will follow as to the start time, but as you start your spring cleaning, don't toss any of your old treasures out, bring them over for the yard sale. Your donations of merchandise is tax deductible and it is a win-win as you will be clearing out clutter, but you will also be helping out a great cause. The donations can be brought to Niles animal Hospital 7278 N. Milwaukee Ave. Niles and we will store it until the sale or you can drop material off early in the morning the day of the sale. Typically we start the sales around 8 or 9 AM (usually starting set up a couple hours before then). The Saturday before the sale we will take donations from 8-3 (otherwise anytime during regular business hours). Call 847-647-9325 if you have any questions. You can also send inquiries/comments via email

Even if you have nothing to sell/donate come on by and buy! You will find all sorts of treasures and you will helping to fund their work at Flint Creek. They will probably also have a display and bring some education animals, weather permitting.

More information to follow.

Peter S. Sakas DVM

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nine Things That Will Disappear in My Children's Lifetime

I received this in an email from a friend of mine. It caused me to pause and reflect about the content, making me realize what is happening and how what is described below is coming to pass. I do not know who is the actual author of this piece, so I am unable to provide the credit, but whomsoever did write it definitely has nailed it on the head.

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.

1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Checks
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy
something else. Again and again.

All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories". And then probably Alzheimers will take that away from you too!
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Steve Jobs of Apple (God rest his soul) told us about the iCloud years ago!  Back in 1997, as a matter of fact!
Learn more:
Learn more about ‘the list’ that keeps getting ‘modified’:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Hazards for Pets

Easter Treats and Decorations Can Be Hazardous to Pets
The Easter holiday season can be a very festive time for families, especially for those with children. The holiday decorations, the Easter baskets, candies and holiday cooking all contribute to the joyous celebration. However, despite the wonders of Easter, dangers are ever present for pets during the holiday season. Pet owners need to recognize these potential hazards and be proactive to prevent illness or injury to their animal companions. Our pets are intrigued by all the interesting decorations that are placed around the house, as well as the presence of the enticing aromas of candies and holiday foods. By taking appropriate preventative measures, pet owners can be assured that this holiday season will not involve a trip to their veterinarian or animal emergency clinic.

Easter Lilies - Cats are very curious by nature and have a tendency to chew on objects or houseplants. The presence of a new plant piques their interest and they need to evaluate the new addition. Easter lilies are lovely and represent the season, however, they pose a danger, especially to pet cats. Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats, with the potential for causing kidney failure. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous, so please keep these plants away from cats. Lilies dangerous to cats include: Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Rubrum Lily, Japanese Show Lily, and Day Lily. A cat may vomit, lose its appetite or become lethargic within a few hours of eating a dangerous plant. If this happens, see your veterinarian immediately.

Easter Decorations - Animals are attracted to unusual or shiny objects which may be found around the house during Easter used for decorations or wrapping. Dogs and cats cannot see in color so it is the shiny, shimmering or unusual appearance that attracts them. Birds can see in color, so color may definitely be a source of attraction to them. Keep aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. Pets may swallow such material, leading to gastrointestinal irritation, causing vomiting or may even pass into the intestinal tract producing an intestinal blockage. Cats are quite often attracted to ribbons, bows, strings and other decorations which they may chew, swallow and develop intestinal blockage. Easter basket grass can cause intestinal obstruction in cats and may lead to emergency surgery. In addition, twinkling lights or other interesting electrical decorations may prove attractive to your pets. They may chew on the cords which may lead to severe electrical shocks.

Keep the decorations out of the reach of your pets to avoid potential danger. If you notice that your pet is very interested in the decorations and may be chewing on them, be certain to relocate the objects in a safe place where you pet cannot get to them.

Easter Candies and Treats  - Chocolates and candies are a big part of any Easter celebration, especially when children are involved. With their sensitive sense of smell, pets are attracted to the candies and goodies, which can lead to all sorts of problems if they are ingested. In addition to the foods themselves, posing a risk are candy wrappers, sticks and plastic eggs which can lead to gastrointestinal irritation or cause blockages..

Chocolate is toxic for dogs when ingested in large quantities Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic in high amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration.Do NOT think that a little bit is not going to hurt, because it is the sensitivity to the theobromine that is the danger and if the dog is sensitive to it, even a small amount can cause a severe reaction.

Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant effect becomes apparent. Restlessness, hyperactivity, and possibly excessive panting may be seen. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases. The symptoms to watch for include: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hyperactivity, restlessness, panting, and seizure activity.

Treatment depends on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets receiving minor amounts of chocolate may not be treated. Pets ingesting toxic amounts of chocolate are treated with fluids, medications for vomiting and sedatives. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

Artificial Sweeteners
Other chemicals found in certain candies can also be toxic to your pets. Xylitol, a sweetener found in some candies and gum can be toxic to pets if taken in large amounts. Ingestion of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures. Foods containing Xylitol should be kept well out of reach of your pets. Do not take any chances with you pets. As stated before, do not think that a little bit is not going to hurt. You should have plenty of treats around the house that are appropriate for your pets and use them instead of candies.

Holiday Food/Cooking - Food is a very important aspect of our holiday celebrations as many human waistlines can attest. Unfortunately, many of these foods can cause serious problems in our pets and as any veterinarian will tell you, this is the time of year that we see numerous gastrointestinal problems in pets.
Food Preparation -The preparation of food can be a problem, especially for pet birds. Birds have a very effective respiratory tract and coupled with their relatively small size are susceptible to toxic elements in the air. During cooking if food burns or smoke is produced, any birds nearby the kitchen could be at risk of fatal smoke inhalation. If non-stick cookware is used there is another risk for pet birds. Under normal cooking conditions, the cookware is safe but if polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated products (such as Teflon, Silverstone, and Supra) are overheated (over 530 degrees F), they can emit toxic fumes which are fatal to birds. PTFE coated drip pans achieve high temperatures under normal usage so they should not be used around birds at all. If your bird has been exposed to smoke or fumes get them to an area of good ventilation and seek veterinary care.
Holiday Food/Leftovers -Avoid the temptation to feed your pets leftovers from your holiday meals. Many of these foods are rich; especially those that are high in fat, and can often cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances in pets which could prove fatal. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is a very common disease of dogs and is frequently caused by the eating of table scraps. The pancreas plays a role in digestion of food but when an animal eats a rich or fatty meal, the pancreas is 'overstimulated' and the organ oversecretes enzymes leading to inflammation of the pancreas and surrounding tissues. Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting and abdominal pain, sometimes quite severe. The condition is very uncomfortable for the pet and sometimes can be fatal. If you notice these type of symptoms seek veterinary care.
Be cautious with any bones provided to your pet. Sharp bones, especially from chicken or turkey, may become lodged in the mouth or throat of your pet. If the bones move further into the digestive tract, there is a risk that the bones could perforate the stomach or intestines. This situation may require surgical removal and if they do not receive veterinary attention, they may die. Provide your .pet with commercial chew toys to avoid any potential problems.
Be aware of the danger with guacamole around pet birds. Most bird owners know that avocado is extremely toxic for birds and severe reactions can lead to death. However, some people forget that avocado is the key ingredient in guacamole. When you are having holiday parties and with all kinds of appetizers available, such as chips and dips, be careful if there is guacamole around with your pet birds present. They may decide to sample some of the dip, or an unknowing houseguest may innocently provide a taste of the dip to one of the birds with potentially tragic results. Also, do not give your pets onions, macadamia nuts or alcohol -- they are toxic to both dogs and cats. 

Relieve Pet Stress during the Holidays - The holidays are stressful times for all of us. The commotion in decorating, cooking and entertaining friends/relatives can be overwhelming to many people. Our homes can be filled with people, especially young children. Many pets, even if not aggressive or territorial, are stressed by the increased numbers of strangers 'intruding' in their domain. The high activity level of children can be a new and stressful experience for many pets unaccustomed to this behavior. Birds can become especially upset during the holidays, particularly the larger varieties of birds. Routine is very important to birds and if that routine changes, they can become frustrated and engage in abnormal behavior. These types of behavior include, aggressiveness, screaming, biting or development of vices such as the picking off or chewing of their own feathers in frustration, which if allowed to continue can become a habit.
If possible, try to provide your pets with a consistent level of interaction with you so they do not feel left out. This is especially important with parrots. Try not to let the pandemonium of the holidays lead to stress in your pets. If you feel that your pets are uncomfortable around new people, it may be best to separate them from the holiday activity. Provide your pets with an area where they can 'get away from it all' and be alone. Cats may enjoy an intricate 'kitty condo' set up or even a cardboard box or paper bags in which to hide. For pet birds that are nervous, you might have to place the cage in a quiet room or, if that is impossible, partially or completely cover the cage so that the bird has the ability to 'hide.' Make sure that your young guests understand that they must let the animals rest when they are put in their area of 'refuge.
Chicks and Bunnies as Pets  - Children always are excited about the possibility of having a little chick or bunny as a pet and this is heightened during the Easter season, when it is especially promoted. Unfortunately, these type of purchases can lead to tragic outcomes. When these living creatures are taken on as a companion, it is so important to understand their nutritional and husbandry needs as well as the reality that this is a true commitment. All too often these pets are purchased, their needs are not understood and they die horrible deaths due to the lack of  proper care. Another huge problem is that the children may tire of the pet, especially as they grow into adult chickens or rabbits, and the novelty/cuteness wears off. These loving creatures need good, lasting relationships and not facing the possibility of being discarded for whatever reason.
Please understand this...Chicks and rabbits should not be taken on as pets unless their owners are committed to giving them permanent homes and caring for them responsibly. They are living, breathing, feeling, companion animals and deserve to be treated with the respect.
 Conclusion  - By following these precautions your holiday season will be a joyous one without any pet crises. They love to be part of the family festivities but make sure they do so safely.