Friday, April 29, 2011

Why Should I Fast My Pet Before Anesthesia?

This is a commonly asked question in veterinary medicine, and one many pet owners often don't fully understand. When a dog or cat is sedated the swallow reflex in the throat is less responsive. Like people, anesthetic drugs often make animals nauseous. If the patient vomits while sedated or under general anesthesia there is high risk of aspirating, or breathing in, some of the vomited material. This can lead to a serious (sometimes fatal) condition called aspiration pneumonia. The risk of aspiration is increased in brachecephalic breeds (boxers, bulldogs, pugs) because of their anatomy.

We all love our pets and want to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. So while it may feel a little mean to send them to bed without dinner, it's one of the most important things we can do for them before undergoing anesthesia. If you have further questions about anesthesia and your pet, you may contact us at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod or contact your local vet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easter Safety Precautions

As you get ready to celebrate Easter with family and friends, keep the following precautions in mind to ensure that your furry family members stay safe and healthy.
Chocolate: Chocolate is very toxic for pets, especially dogs. Even small amounts of chocolate can be extremely dangerous. The toxic component in chocolate, theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizure and an abnormally elevated heart rate. Different types of chocolate contain varying levels of theobromine. Dark chocolate contains the highest amount and is therefore the most toxic to dogs. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, and trembling.

Easter Lilies: Easter Lilies are deadly for cats, so make sure you keep them completely out of cats' reach. Other potentially poisonous flowers may include tulips, Calla lilies, daisies, crysanthemums and baby's breath.

Easter Grass: Easter Grass can be life threatening for cats if ingested. The material can wrap itself around your cat's intestines and cut off circulation, requiring immediate medical intervention. Look for safer alternatives to Easter grass, such as tissue paper.

Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol, a popular sugar substitute used in sugar-free candy and in anything from sugar gum to toothpaste is highly toxic to pets. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and can lead to seizures and liver failure.