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Common Foods That Are Toxic for Your Cats and Dogs

Chocolate is probably the best known of toxic foods - its toxicity comes from an alkaloid called theobromine. This substance is toxic in cats and dogs with a dose of 100-150 mg / kg; the darker the chocolate, the richer in theobromine, so don’t take any chances and never give chocolate to your pets. The effects of theobromine affect the nervous system and the heart of your cat or dog.

Caffeine is also very toxic at very low doses. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, fever and even convulsions.

Grapes and raisins are also toxic, which means that a bunch of fresh grapes can be fatal for a dog weighing ten kilos. As raisins have a higher concentration of the toxic agent, the toxic dose is smaller. Each animal’s sensitivity to toxic agents will be different. Grape poisoning can cause kidney failure in your pets.

Because cats and dogs metabolize alcohol poorly, it can cause gastric problems (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) and nervous system disorders (reduced coordination, convulsions, etc.). Ethylic coma can lead to death. Never allow your pet to consume alcohol or food containing alcohol.

Human medication is also toxic to animals and can be one of the causes of emergency consultations. Make sure to store all your medicines out of reach of not only children, but also your pets. Some medications can cause ulcers while others kidney failure.

All pesticides and some shampoos are neurologically toxic to animals. The main ingredient in many poisons for rats and mice, Coumarin (D-Con), disrupts blood’s coagulation abilities and can therefore affect your pet in the same way, even if it eats a mouse that was poisoned. Antifreeze is also dangerous for your cats and dogs. Many animals like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but as this product is very toxic it becomes deadly, even ingested in small amounts.

If your pet has ingested a toxic agent, whether it’s food, medical or other, contact your vet as soon as possible. Make sure you have the following information ready:

  • The species, breed, gender, weight and age of your pet
  • Symptoms of your pet
  • The name of the toxic agent (if known), the amount consumed and the time
  • elapsed since exposure
  • Packaging of the toxic agent

If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested toxic foods or products, contact our teams as soon as possible. A single visit can help you get the best treatments for your pet's recovery.

 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of common foods that can be toxic or even fatal to your pet:

  • Garlic
  • Alcohol (beer, spirits, wine, food containing alcohol)
  • Fat foods (fast food leftovers, junk food or food cooked in fats)
  • Mouldy foods
  • Avocados
  • Candy (especially those containing xylitol, a toxic sweetener)
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, diet pills or anything that contains caffeine)
  • Mushrooms
  • Chocolate
  • Chives
  • Compost
  • Hop cones (used to make homemade beer)
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Leaves and stems of potatoes and tomatoes (green parts)
  • Liver (small amounts of liver are acceptable, but an excessive consumption can cause vitamin A toxicity)
  • Mustard seeds
  • Currants
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Nutmeg
  • Walnuts and Macadamia nuts
  • Fruit pits (apricot, cherry, and peach)
  • Raw eggs, meat or fish (may be contaminated by different pathogens including
  • Salmonella and E. coli bacteria, which are responsible for a large proportion of food poisoning cases)
  • Onions (in any form - powdered, raw, cooked or dehydrated)
  • Uncooked bread or yeast dough
  • Apple seeds
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Salt
  • Tea (contains caffeine)
  • Xylitol (an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to animals - may be found in candy, gum, toothpaste, pastries, and certain diet foods)

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Rabies

We are often asked how important is vaccination against rabies, or if vaccination is required or still necessary. Rabies is an infectious disease of viral origin, which is usually transmitted when the saliva of an infected animal comes into contact with blood, following a bite or a scratch. The virus can also come into contact with a mucous membrane (eye, mouth, nose) or skin wound by licking.

Rabies is a fatal and incurable disease to both animals and humans, in 100% of cases. The virus attacks the central nervous system of mammals, causing two presentations:

Paralytic or dumb: pets often go hide and are more lethargic, while wild animals become less fearful and will approach humans. In both cases, they will eventually be affected by paralysis and die.

Furious: Affected animals will be extremely agitated, excited, or aggressive. They can bite and attack objects or other animals indiscriminately.

As rabies is an incurable disease, the only effective prevention is vaccination. The vaccine is safe and effective when used according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Thus, a vaccinated pet won’t have a risk of infecting family members if attacked by a potentially rabid animal.

Some precautions can also reduce the risk.

-Limit your contacts with unidentified wild and domestic animals.
-Keep your dogs close to you when walking outside or in high-risk areas.
-If you see an animal acting strangely, report it here.

If bitten, clean the wound with soap and water and quickly contact a doctor. Rabies is a reportable disease: this means that any suspicious bite or animal must be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. In humans, treatment is possible if care is undertaken very quickly and before symptoms appear. Otherwise, survival is very unlikely.

As you can see, vaccination is an essential tool in the prevention of this deadly disease. Through the vaccination of domestic and wild animals, we can effectively reduce the incidence of infections.

 

Marie-Christine Hamelin, Animal Health Technician

 

 

 

Gardens or Flower Bouquets: How to Recognize Toxic Plants for Cats and Dogs

Whether you receive a bouquet of flowers as a gift, you have plants at home, or are gardening, if you have a cat or a dog (or even both!), you need to know which plants are dangerous and which ones you can keep!

 

According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, here are the plants that are poisonous to your furry friends:

  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn crocus
  • Castor plant
  • Christmas cactus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil
  • English Ivy and Devil’s Ivy
  • Holly
  • Hydrangea
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily: regardless of its variety (Asiatic Lily, Daylily, Peace Lily or Lily of the Valley), they are all dangerous
  • Marijuana: especially the seeds, but the leaves as well
  • Oleander
  • Poinsettia
  • Rhododendron and Philodendron
  • Sago Palm
  • Schefflera
  • Tulip
  • Yew Wood

 

What plants are safe to have?

  • Aster
  • Calamagrostis
  • Carnation
  • Caryopteris
  • Daisy
  • Grass Fountain
  • Orchid
  • Pansy
  • Rose
  • Russian Sage
  • Sunflower

If you are unsure about a plant ingested by your pet, visit the Animal Poison Control Center website or call them at 1-888-426-4435.

 

Ingesting a poisonous plant can bring its share of problems, such as

  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Weakness
  • Hypothermia

 

The most extreme cases can lead to the death of the animal, which is why you should never underestimate the quantity ingested and go to the emergency quickly if you think you have seen your animal eat some.

You can go to the emergency department of our three following hospitals at any time:

 

Do not hesitate to research each of these plants to be able to recognize them visually.

 

 Cindy Rosa-Boisvert, TSA

Hôpital Vétérinaire Ste-Thérèse

 

Xylitol – A Threat to Buddy Over the Holidays!

The holidays provides pets with several opportunities to steal some food left unattended in the home. Vigilance is key!

Xylitol is a natural sweetener extracted from birch bark. It is used in the manufacturing of numerous food products and other items. Consumption of xylitol can be very dangerous for dogs, especially when the ingested product contains a lot of it (within the first 3 ingredients). It only causes mild issues for cats and ferrets.

It is easy to identify xylitol in ingredient lists of food products, but it can be invisible on the label of other products…. Here are a few examples:

-     Food: ketchup, peanut butter, chocolate, candy, chewing gum, BBQ sauce, bakery & pastry items, drink crystals, etc.

-     Cosmetics: makeup, lip gloss, lip balm

-     Pharmaceuticals: medications, vitamins, electrolytes

-     Personal care & hygiene products: face wipes, baby wipes, diapers, sunscreen

-     Dental care products: toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, lozenges

In dogs, xylitol causes severe and rapid hypoglycemia (15 min to 2 hours after eating) and severe liver damage (12-72 hours after eating).

Here are a few observable clinical signs:

  • Hypoglycemia: weakness, loss of balance, walking “drunk”, trembling, convulsions, loss of consciousness, even death if not treated!
  • Hepatic damage: decreased appetite, lethargy, yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, and diarrhea.

To protect your pet from xylitol, avoid buying foods that contain it and avoid cooking with it, or store these products out of reach.

Make it a habit to take your medications/vitamins in a closed room, in case something falls on the floor; so you have time to pick up the dropped medication before your pet eats it.

In the event that your pet ingests something containing xylitol, go immediately to your nearest emergency centre to be seen by a veterinarian.

Be sure to have the ingested product or recipe on hand and tell the veterinarian how much your pet has ingested. This information will be crucial to your pet's treatment.

 

Danielle P.  TSA
Hôpital Vétérinaire Blainville

 

Animal Health Clinic

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of veterinarians, technicians and support team is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.

Hôpital Vétérinaire Victoria • Verdun

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of 3 veterinarians and 5 technicians is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.

Hôpital Vétérinaire Victoria • Sainte-Julie

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of 3 veterinarians and 4 technicians is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.

Hôpital Vétérinaire Victoria • Greenfield Park

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of 4 veterinarians and 3 technicians is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.