What is NOT a Kitchen Cupboard Remedy for your dog or cat

cat tylenol

I had three phone calls this past week, all involving medications that the owner had GIVEN to their pet.  No, they did not call us and ask, “Hey, what can I give my dog/cat at home for these symptoms?”  They did not EVEN ask Dr. Google!  I am not opposed to giving advice over the phone to my clients about my patients, especially if the problem is minor, and there is something at home that will do the trick.  Most vets are this way – they want to help you and your pet.  This blog post is about me (veterinarian) trying to help you (pet owner) and your pet.

  1. DO NOT EVER EVER EVER GIVE  A CAT TYLENOL!  Not even the “baby kind.”  A client called to say her cat had vomited a couple of times that day.  Yes, the cat was still eating, and no, did not have a fever.  So Ms. Munchausen decided randomly to give the cat two droppers of Baby Tylenol.  Did it help the vomiting? No.  Can it cause a potentially fatal blood disorder in CATS? YES!!
  2. While many medications are used in both people and animals, THE DOSE HAS TO BE APPROPRIATE!  I am sorry to be yelling, but what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working.  The next client, owner of a 6 pound Yorkie, called to say her little guy was limping pretty badly.  She really wanted to avoid coming in for an appointment that day, so she had given 2 adult size Ibuprofen tablets.  Now puppy wasn’t feeling so great.  So what else could she give at home?  At this point, we recommended an exam with a veterinarian.  “Well, he was fine at his last exam six months ago.”  That may be true, but based on the medication administered at home, he may not be now.
  3. Lastly, just as with children, KEEP YOUR MEDICATIONS LOCKED AWAY SECURELY!  The third case was a dog that had been confined in a bathroom, and managed to eat the contents of the medicine cabinet.  Yes, the one over the sink, behind the mirror.   While the dog did survive, she was very very ill and required hospitalization for several days.

So please, call your veterinarian BEFORE you administer any medication to your pet that they did not prescribe or recommend.  It will save you money and worry.  It will save me worry too.

As always, feel free to check out our website http://www.hrah.com for info about our hospital and staff

Technician blog: Your dog ate WHAT?

As a veterinary technician with nearly 12 years of experience under my belt, I’ve heard all sorts of interesting and unusual things from my clients. Not much shocks me after all this time. Which is good, considering some of the things dogs and cats are inclined to eat. Some of my favorite cases involve unusual ingestions by the housepets. Cats and dogs eat all sorts of strange things. We all know any dog would have trouble NOT getting into the trash can where all the delicious things hide; the last bite of your sandwich, the piece of cheese you dropped on the floor, the fast food wrappers that smell oh so delicious.

dog trash

Then there are the things that we, as veterinary staff, look at the pet and think “What on earth were you thinking when you ate that?”. Cats LOVE to eat rubber bands (hair bands, regular rubber bands, whatever).  Tinsel during the holidays, shoelaces, random pieces of string (sometimes with a sewing needle attached!), they’re not picky, as long as it’s not meant to be eaten. Dogs will eat all sorts of silly things. Things we will never understand the appeal of. Socks, rocks, paper, tubes of chapstick. Gross things from the bathroom trash can, underwear, and even a diamond ring. My best friend’s dog ate half a deck of playing cards just last week! Some of these strange ingestions are relatively harmless. You’ll find bits of paper towels as you’re cleaning up your yard, or the crayons that your son lost to Sparky’s destruction on Tuesday. Veterinary Practice News released an article last fall with a collection of strange foreign body ingestions. You can see it here.

There are many things that are life-threatening, and will require veterinary intervention. Regardless of WHAT your pet ingested, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. Odds are good that it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. Even if your dog ate your “roommate’s stash” (more on this topic in a later blog), it’s very important to tell your vet everything you know about what your pet got into. You may hold a piece of information that is key to saving your pet’s life.

There are ingestions that are toxic: rat poison, prescription medications, even some types of chewing gum. Treatment for these ingestions can vary from inducing vomiting and administering charcoal (equivalent to having your stomach pumped as a human), to days or weeks of hospitalization with fluids and IV medications. Many of these toxic ingestions require a call to the ASPCA’s animal poison contol center. Gather as much information about the product your pet ingested as possible (including whatever is left of the container), and contact your vet immediately.

Then we have the ingestions that may be life-threatening: plastic bags, rocks, coins, items of clothing. Again, the treatment for each ingestion is different. Treatment can range from inducing vomiting to produce the offending item to exploratory surgery to remove it. If not removed, many foreign bodies CAN be fatal. A gastric foreign body can lodge itself in your pet’s intestines, creating a dam of sorts. Not allowing food or waste to pass as normal, creating a build-up of toxins in your pet’s system. A doctor that I work with surgically removed an entire stuffed toy (in one piece!) from the stomach of a dog last summer (seen below).

froggravel

If your pet is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of the two, this could be an indication of something more serious than just a stomach bug. The bottom line is this: Pets will eat weird things with no logical explanation. ALWAYS contact your veterinarian to determine what the best course of treatment is for your pet. We are always happy to have a look at Fluffy, and make sure she’s safe and healthy. Better safe than sorry, right?

Check out our hospital website at http://www.hrah.com