I Love 24 Hour Vets

Happy Valentine’s Day from your hostess, Nicole (NorthStar’s Marketing Guru)

Contrary to most believe, I actually enjoy Valentine’s Day.  I know it has been coined as a Hallmark Holiday, and many singles get together for their annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day Celebration.”  But, I like it, I may even love it.

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

What’s so wrong about having a day where you just lay it all out on the line and finally admit the sentiment, “I’m in love with you.” Well I do have something slightly better than that….Puppy Love!

I have three dogs that tell me they love me everyday.  Rogue (Siberian) says, “I love you for finding me 24 hour veterinary emergency care when I needed it.”  Jenks (Pit Bull)“I love you for giving me a home when I was at NorthStar VETS. Coco, (Black Lab) “I love you for taking me home with you from NorthStar VETS when my owners abandoned me on the streets.”

They rarely get mad at me, unless of course I’m a little late for playtime. They even keep me warm and cuddle at night…If that’s not love I don’t know what it is. Showing them love back is super important to me, and I do that by giving them the best care possible.

The upcoming holidays of Valentine’s Day, and Easter, aka “chocolate season,” is a time to practice vigilance about where we place our sugared treats. On Valentine’s Day alone stores across America will sell over $900 million in chocolates and candy.  Yumm…  Of course with all of these delicious treats surrounding us our beloved pets may want in.   But, we must be cautious about where we leave our sinful treasures.

Chocolate is highly toxic to our pets. You may have known someone or been in a situation wondering, “Do I have to rush my dog to an emergency vet if he ate one of my Godiva Truffles”?

The truth is chocolate contains theobromine that is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. This is a xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine, and theophylline.

The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine 100-150 mg/kg to cause a toxic reaction. Although there are variables to consider like the individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration.

Xanthines affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. It has a diuretic effect as well. Clinical signs include: Hyper excitability , Hyper irritability, Increased heart rate, Restlessness, Increased, urination, Muscle tremors, Vomiting, Diarrhea

Further, there are other things toxicities to worry about: Vomiting should never be induced if an acid or strong base has been ingested such as chewed batteries, if a caustic agent (damaging to tissues) is ingested such as potpourri oils, or if an object may become stuck in the esophagus when vomited, such as a chicken bone. It is always advisable to contact a veterinarian before inducing vomiting to ensure that it is a safe choice.

There are many toxicities in which inducing vomiting is appropriate. All pill medications, chocolate, and xylitol containing gum are some examples. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most effective methods for inducing vomiting in dogs and cats. The hydrogen peroxide must be fresh and still bubble when poured. An appropriate dose for a cat and a small dog is about 1-2 teaspoons. A medium size dog could be given 1- 2 tablespoons, and a large size dog could be given 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. If there is no vomiting in 10 minutes it is OK to repeat the dose.

Hydrogen Peroxide results in vomiting by causing irritation to the lining of the stomach. Too much hydrogen peroxide can cause painful gastric ulcerations. If vomiting doses not occur after the second dose of hydrogen peroxide, consult a veterinarian, as vomiting may need to be induced by a veterinarian with other drugs such as apomorphone.

If your pet (dog or cat) has recently ingested a suspected toxin, it is very important to contact a veterinarian or Animal Poison Control (888- 426- 4435). If they are closed you can always contact your nearest 24 hour emergency vet hospital, like NorthStar VETS, Monmouth County NJ, 609.259.8300.

Fun Fact:  In 2010, NorthStar VETS treated over 50 pets with chocolate toxicity.

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