Springtime toxicities

Warmer weather and longer days are finally here, after what has been a very long and wet winter. We’re sure your pets are feeling a spring in their step, and with that can come a great deal of mischief! So, we’ve put together our top toxicity warnings to help prepare pet owners for the possibilities.

Garden delights

Spring is a wonderful time of year; the outside world is waking up, and with it comes an array of beautiful flowers; many come in bulb form though, and these can be problematic for pets. Daffodils, if eaten, can cause seizures and, worryingly, a dog need only drink the water from the vase for there to be a risk of health issues. Lillies are so severely toxic to felines that we would recommend cat owners don’t even keep them in the house or garden. Amaryllis and tulips can cause tummy upset, and even breathing difficulties. Silly young pups tend to be the classic culprits for bulb bothering, owing to their inquisitive nature. However, whoever the pet, call the vet if you suspect them of having consumed any plants at all.

Garden dangers

If you and your pets are getting out into the garden more now that spring has sprung, there are one or two things to watch out for. Pets who are feeling the joys of spring are often into absolutely everything, including flying insects! Bee and wasp stings are rarely life threatening (although allergic reactions and stings in or near to the throat are more worrying), but they can be painful; best to remove any that have found their way into the house, and if your pet is stung, definitely keep a very close eye on them and perhaps phone us for advice if you’re worried.

As you ready your garden for the growing season, beware of what products you’re using. Although the worst culprits are now banned, some slug baits can still be detrimental to pets, as can many weed killers and even fertilisers. Ingestion of toxic garden products requires immediate attention and some very specific treatments in order to help a pet through the poisoning. Always check the instructions and warnings and keep well out of reach of pets when not in use.

Easter goodies

There’s a reason why Toxicity Bingo (Easter Edition) is a thing in vet practice. We really do see an increase in pets getting their paws on things that they shouldn’t at this time of year! And the items on our bingo cards are chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, simnel cake, and the like. The trouble is that they are simply more abundant at this time of year, and it can be easy to forget where you hid the last of those chocolate eggs for the easter egg hunt before your pet finds them first. The danger in chocolate lays in the cocoa content. More specifically, theobromine is the pet-toxic element within cocoa, and dark chocolate is chock full of it! Milk chocolate less so (but still a very real potential danger), and white chocolate practically none. However, considering that the symptoms of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, muscle stiffness, seizures, and even devastating effects on the heart, we recommend that you phone for advice no matter what sort of chocolate your pet has eaten. The good news is that there is a simple calculation that we can use to determine whether your pet has consumed it in toxic quantities. And even better, provided you get them to us quickly enough, we can treat chocolate toxicity very effectively in most cases.

As for the above-mentioned baked goodies, grape-based ingredients are the offenders here. Raisins, sultanas, and currants all cause renal failure in pets. Characterized by increased drinking and urinating, lethargy, and inappetence, the signs of kidney disease don’t often appear until the damage has well and truly been done. So, as with any potential poisoning, it is best not to wait in any case of raisin ingestion, instead, speak to a vet as soon as possible.

We wish all pet owners a wonderful springtime and hope you’re getting out and about, enjoying your pet’s company. Remember, we are here for you should you have any questions or concerns. A phone call can ease your mind, or even save a life!