Merry Christmas

Posted on December 01, 2011

Merry Christmas! We hope you and your pets are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season this year! On behalf of myse;f and the staff, I want to thank you all for a terrific 2011. It has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated pet families and welcoming new pets and people to the practice. We also have felt the sadness of the loss of some dearly-loved companions over the past year. I continue to appreciate my staff, a team of people who care deeply about keeping animals safe and healthy and caring about the humans to whom the animals are attached.

It has been a financially-challenging year for many. We have worked to hold down expenses here to be able to keep our fees for office visits, vaccinations, and elective surgeries unchanged. Additionally, though we feel some constraints in our current facility, we plan to stay put for the next few years as we prepare to expand. Fortunately, there is still ample space to do so in the immediate vicinity of our current office. Until then, we appreciate your patience at especially busy times. This should allow us to keep professional fees reasonable during a very slow economic recovery.

Holiday Tips: Preventing Christmas Dramas in Dogs And Cats

--Toxic Plants?
Poinsettias, despite a long run on the “toxic plant” list, are actually, at worst, just irritating to the mouths of dogs and cats. “Mistletoe” can originate from a variety of plant sources, some innocent, others potential neurotoxins, so it may be best to stay “under the mistletoe” and keep it away from pets.

--Tinsel (and other bad stringy things…
Cats in particular seem to love to swallow the “icicles” and other stands of tinsel, leading to a possibly awful (and potentially fatal) “linear foreign body,” which can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. Dogs may actually swallow whole strands of lights. While all electrical cords have the potential to cause painful electrical burns to the mouths of wayward puppies and kittens (and not a few adolescent-behaving adults), the flashy lights seems to shout “come hither” more than other cords.

--Food and Drink
While we humans will likely indulge in impressive displays of eating, we should be careful of feeding rich foods, like turkey and ham, to some pets who can become quite ill from them. Dogs in particular can develop acute pancreatitis from rich and fatty. foods to which they are unaccustomed. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found primarily in sugar-free chewing gum, is toxic to animals. Chocolate also has the potential, at high doses and especially in concentrated forms like bakers’ chocolate, to be toxic to animals. It causes gastrointestinal upset initially and can lead to elevated heart rates and even seizures. By the way, if you (or a guest—think about that especially annoying in-law) think that it is fun to watch the cat stagger after a few sips of liqueur or “smart” eggnog, remember the danger to pets that comes from ingesting alcoholic beverages.

Lots of doors fly open this time of year with the arrival and departure of guests (only Santa uses the chimney) and the risk of pets getting out is significant. Be sure that your pet is microchipped and that it has been registered. We can help answer questions about both

--Cold Weather
Be sure that outdoor pets have access to fresh (and unfrozen) water and shelter from the wind. Give your car hood a “thump” if it has been parked outside to shake loose any kitties that have found your engine to be a warm napping place. Fan belt injuries can be disastrous. Finally, the ethylene glycol found in anti-freeze is a potent toxin to pets that like to lick the sweet, syrupy fluid from the garage floor or driveway. It causes potentially-irreversible kidney failure. Incidentally, if your pet is involved in any holiday drama, we will be here regular hours throughout the holidays (including 8 to 12 on the Saturdays of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and the Mondays after both holidays).