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Archive for the ‘Self-Help Study Guide’ Category

Received this review today, check it out.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/david-r-gross/animals-dont-blush/

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My dog goes ballistic from loud noises. What can I do?

Copied from January 12, 2012

Not all dogs panic when they hear loud noises and there does not seem to be any particular breed predilection for this behavior. Two separate and distinct areas of the brain are responsible for sensing then responding to loud noises. Cells that sense loud noises respond by increasing their electrical activity sending strong signals to cells in the response area of the brain. Those cells respond by conveying the information; LOUD, SCARY, DO SOMETHING! When your pet detects a loud noise, remember their hearing is significantly more acute than that of humans she/he/it cannot tune out the sound like hearing a ceiling fan, the TV or other common background noises.

The response cells process the received increase in electrical activity and send out signals that require the dog to do something. What the dog does in response to the loud noise input varies with the animal and can range from shear panic and panic behavior to a yawn and going back to sleep. What is confusing is that many dogs seem to develop the panic response in mid-life, perhaps having experienced something painful or uncomfortable associated with a loud noise. Most puppies and young dogs do not exhibit much of a response to loud noises, but there are always exceptions.

The pressing question, if you have a dog that panics at loud sounds, is what can I do about it?

When you go away put your dog inside in a safe place you have created for him/her. Many dogs will choose a room or area where they are most comfortable and where they go when unsupervised. Make certain they have free access to this area when you are gone. Encourage them to use a room with few outside windows and use blackout curtains on any windows in the room. This will dampen the noise level. Turn on an appliance that creates background noise, an air purifier, a fan, a TV, a radio tuned to classical or soothing music. This is not the time for hard rock.

Make certain the dog has a comfortable bed, hardwood floors and hard walls transmit loud sounds. I hesitate to tell you this, but it is a sign of the times. You can purchase “Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)”. I saw it in a pet store as a plug-in that claims to be a species-specific calming scent. Can you see my eyes rolling back into my head?

If you are with your dog during Fourth of July firecracker season or a thunderstorm, try to establish a connection between them hearing a loud sound and something nice. Try to calm him with praise, feed him a special treat. Scared dogs will not eat and a dog eating something especially desired will not be scared.

If none of this works, ask your veterinarian to recommend a professional trainer or animal behaviorist who specializes in behavior modification. As a very last resort, your vet can prescribe a tranquilizer, but these work best if given before the loud stimulus so in anticipation of fireworks. Your vet may or may not approve of this use of drugs. I am hesitant in all but very severe cases where the dog is liable to hurt itself or others.

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Ernest Hemingway in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

It is early May, after a spring snow storm, Roberto and Maria are together in Roberto’s sleeping bag, outside, in the mountains of Spain.

“Then they were together so that the hand on the watch moved, unseen now, they knew that nothing could ever happen to the one that did not happen to the other, that no other thing could happen more than this; this this was all and always; this was what had been and now and whatever was to come. This, that they were not to have, they were having. They were having now and before and always and now and now and now. Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is the prophet. Now and forever now. Come now, now, for there is no now but now. Yes, now. Now, please now, only now, not anything else only this now, and where are you and where am I and where is the other one, and not why, not ever why, only this now; and on and always please then always now, always now, for now always one now; one only one, there is no other one but one now, one, going now, rising now, sailing now, leaving now, wheeling now, soaring now, away now, all the way now, all of all the way now; one and one is one softly, is one longingly, is one kindly, is one happily, is one in goodness, is one to cherish, is one now on earth with elbows against the cut and slept on branches of the pine tree with the smell of the pine boughs and the night; to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come. Then he said, for the other was only in his head and he had said nothing, ‘Oh, Maria, I love thee and I thank thee for this.’”

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We discovered veterinary medicine in Uruguay is alive and well. Their College of Veterinary Medicine was started in the second decade of the 20th Century, and is part of the Universidad de la Republica, the National University. It is the only veterinary school in the country. We discovered it while on one of our extended neighborhood walks, an easy twenty-minute amble from our hotel

Here is a photo of my bearded self with the sign for the veterinary school.

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After meeting and talking to both students and faculty I discovered all education in Uruguay is free. Primary school for six years, secondary school for another six then a choice between a variety of trade schools or university. I neglected to find out if that choice is determined by an examination, as it is in Europe, or is just a choice by the student. Entrance to veterinary school is directly from secondary school and it is open enrollment. Anyone who graduates from secondary school, on the academic track, is admitted if they apply. Currently anywhere from three to six hundred students enter the program each year. The two faculty members I talked to both said they never know until the first day of school how many students will be present. The second year they lose quite a few students by failing exams or giving up but still have a heavy load for faculty. Each year the number of students who manage to stay in the program decreases and after five years plus one more year of “thesis” work they usually graduate about a hundred students with a dual degree in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry. The “thesis” work involves doing a project, sometimes what we would call research, and writing a paper about what they accomplished.

The good news is there is full employment for the graduate veterinarians. During our extended walking tours in Montevideo, usually four or more hours each day, we seldom go more than eight to ten blocks without encountering a veterinary clinic, almost always associated with a pet store and boarding facility. We have not seen a pet dog here that was not well cared for. Even the street dogs and cats appear to be in reasonably good shape. Many of the veterinary students find work in the agricultural industry, family farms and ranches that they go home to manage, large agribusiness companies that employ them as managers, plenty of small and large dairy farms both cattle and goats, that provide employment in addition to the pet practices, “mascots” they call them.

Dr. Rodolfo Ungerfeld is the Head of the Department of Physiology. A very kind and friendly Reproductive Physiologist who does some interesting work

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Here I am with Professor Ungerfeld on my right and one of his graduate students on my left.

One of his many project involves reproduction problems in Pampas Deer, a species that used to number in the hundreds of thousands in Uruguay and is now down to only a few thousand. A herd of several hundred are kept in La Reserva de Flora y Fauna del Cerro Pan de Azucar, a zoo/reserve near Sugarloaf Mountain. Pan de Azucar is the third tallest mountain in Uruguay, about 500 or 600 feet above sea level). The place is only a couple of hours from Montevideo by car so we rented one and took a road trip.

Here is one of the tiny but magnificent Pampas Deer.

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We also walked part way up the mountain and got an overview of the reserve.

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The other faculty member I had a productive afternoon with is Professor Alejandro Benech. He is in charge of the small animal clinic but taught cardiovascular and respiratory physiology for many years and does some interesting research on ischemia/reperfusion injury of the heart using a sheep model. From the data he showed me he could be looking at some very important results.

We only have three more days to enjoy Montevideo and we plan to make the most of them. My new friends have graciously invited me to return and give some lectures to their graduate students. We couldn’t do it this trip because next week the whole country shuts down for “Easter Week”. They call it “Tourist Week” because of the serious legal separation between church and state. I hope I will be able to return and give those lectures.

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My oversized ego makes me believe this first separation from Charlize has made her very sad. When I left her with the young couple who agreed to care for her while we are gone she was so busy investigating their home and their two cats she didn’t seem to notice when I left. A text message the next day, with a photo of her enjoying herself, indicated she is doing just fine without me. Predictably, I miss her more than she misses me.

Alexis and I are adventuring in Argentina and Uruguay. We flew from Seattle to Dallas the morning of March 10 then from Dallas to Buenos Aires, arriving the next morning. Alexis visited Buenos Aires in 1989 so we spent two days revisiting sites and places she had been and remarking on all the changes. I’m getting along reasonably well with what is left of the Spanish I learned during the twelve months my young family and I spent in Mexico City forty-eight years ago. I manage to make myself understood in most situations and with the help of a Spanish/English dictionary I’m starting to remember vocabulary and even some conjugations, but my rough efforts do bring some puzzled frowns and indulgent smiles. Most of the people I try to talk to are happy I am making the effort to speak their language and even when their English is much better than my Spanish, they are patient with me.

The people of Uruguay seem much more relaxed, friendly and patient than those we encountered in Buenos Aires. The latter is a busy, big city whose inhabitants display the same attitudes toward strangers as I have encountered in New York, London, Paris and other big cities. The entire population of Uruguay is only about 3.5 million people and Montevideo seems smaller than Seattle.

Here is Alexis visiting with two immobile new friends in Buenos Aires.

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We took the ferry from Buenos Aires, an hour-long trip across the huge estuary of the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento. Colonia was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese Governor of Rio de Janeiro as a headquarters for the smuggling of manufactured items. This was done to counteract the monopoly run by the Spanish rulers of Argentina and Buenos Aires to control the importation of these goods. After leaving the ferry we took a two and a half hour bus ride to Montevideo, a good way to get a feel for the agricultural economy of eastern Uruguay. We passed many small dairy farms. It’s early fall here and some crops are just starting to ripen. It was also interesting to see date palms, evergreen trees and Eucalyptus trees all growing in close proximity.

The plan for the next couple of weeks is to return to our comfortable hotel in the Buceo neighborhood of Montevideo each evening. We are only a couple of blocks from the Puerto del Buceo, a marina with a small beach. The plan is to return  each evening. after day trips to various locations in this wonderful country. For the past four days we have wandered around the city, mostly walking and trying to meet and enter into conversation with residents. Saturday we were in the Ciudad Vieja, the old city, in the Mercado del Puerto. Crowded into an amazing wrought-iron superstructure is an even more amazing collection of parillas, relatively inexpensive restaurants that specialize in grilled meats, huge portions of grilled meats. This particular place on Saturday afternoons, we arrived about 3:00 PM, is filled with artists, craftspeople, musicians and a few, but not too many, tourists this time of year. Crowds of artistic folks were eating lots of meat, drinking wine and beer and having fun. Many joined the festivities created by a street band of youngsters playing and dancing.

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The band consisted of an older gentleman, in the blue shirt, playing the trumpet, three teenaged drummers, the youngest no more than thirteen, two beautiful young ladies in bikini’s and high heels dancing and a leader who played tambourines and collected from the appreciative crowd.

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I am an addict of all descriptions of the Lewis and Clark expedition. One of the many extraordinary obstacles overcome during that journey was the portage of the Great Falls of the Missouri. The Mandan Native Americans described this landmark of the upper Missouri River to Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804. The explorers anticipated finding these falls thus verifying that they had made the correct choice when faced with the merging of the Milk and Missouri Rivers earlier in their journey.

Lewis, as he frequently did, left the party with Clark in charge to continue the struggle of moving all of their supplies and equipment westward against the current of the river. After he had traveled about two miles Lewis heard the sound and saw the spray from the falls and seven miles later he arrived. Here is his written description taken from his journal as edited by Elliott Coues in “The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition”:

“The river immediately at this cascade is 300 yards wide, and is pressed in by a perpendicular cliff on the left, which rises to about 100 feet and extends up the stream for a mile; on the right the bluff is also perpendicular for 300 yards above the falls. For 90 or 100 yards from the left cliff, the water falls in one smooth, even sheet, over a precipice at least 80 feet. The remaining part of the river precipitates itself with a more rapid current, but being received as it falls by the irregular and somewhat projecting rocks below, forms a splendid prospect of perfectly white foam, 200 yards in length and 80 in perpendicular elevation. This spray is dissipated into a thousand shapes, sometimes flying up in columns of 15 or 20 feet, which are then oppressed by larger masses of the white foam, on all which the sun impresses the brightest colors of the rainbow. As it rises from the fall it beats with fury against a ledge of rocks which extend across the river at 150 yards from the precipice. From the perpendicular cliff on the north, to the distance of 120 yards, the rocks rise only a few feet above the water; when the river is high the stream finds a channel across them 40 yards wide and near the higher parts of the ledge, which then rise about 20 feet and terminate abruptly within 80 or 90 yards of the southern side. Between them and the perpendicular cliff on the south the whole body of water runs with great swiftness. …”

Lewis himself found this description not adequate to describe what he saw and intended to revise the description to better reflect the magnificence of this natural phenomenon. He never got around to making those revisions. The next day, June 14 of 1805, Lewis continued upstream and discovered a second falls, 19 feet high and 300 yards across. He named it “Crooked Falls” next he climbed a nearby hill and found a third waterfall he described as “…one of the most beautiful objects in nature, a cascade of about fifty feet perpendicular….” Lewis named these falls “Beautiful Cascade”, but they are now known at “Rainbow Falls”. Further upstream Lewis spotted yet another falls that were only about 6 feet high but stretched more than a quarter of a mile across the river, these became known as “Colter Falls”. Captain Lewis continued his explorations and about two and a half miles upstream of Colter Falls he located a fifth cataract. This one was about 26 feet high and close to 600 yards wide and became known of the “Black Eagle Falls”.

I had never seen these wonders and wanted to experience them so on our trip home from Denver Charlize and I made a detour to Great Falls, Montana. Here is what we found:

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Just upstream of the Great Falls sits Ryan Dam reducing the Missouri’s flow to slightly more than a trickle. No roar, no mist, no rainbows. Between Rainbow Falls and the Great Falls resides the Cochrane Dam and just downstream of the Rainbow Falls is the Rainbow Dam. The flow over Crooked Falls is significantly reduced because of Rainbow Dam. Colter Falls, upstream of the Rainbow dam, is now submerged. The Black Eagle Falls are upstream of Black Eagle Dam and the water held back by this structure has made the Black Eagle Falls a vestige of what the Corps of Discovery experienced.

I’m certain the people now inhabiting the city and environs have benefitted from the hydroelectric power generated and the water impounded by these dams, that’s progress. But just as it is now impossible for me to experience the agonies of the Corps of Discovery’s portage around the falls as described in the Journals, it is also impossible to experience the magnificence of those five cascades. Charlize and I both considered the experience a “bummer”!

 

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Growing up in Arizona and spending significant time camping at and in the Grand Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon, along with a whole summer working on the Navajo Reservation produced in me a serious flaw. I am less than overcome by emotion when viewing wind and water sculpted red rock formations.

Charlize and I spent the night in Springdale, Utah. Early the next morning we did a quick tour of Zion National Park. It is beautiful, but as I said.

We followed the Zion-Mount Carmel highway through the mile-long tunnel carved out of the rock and stopped at an over view just outside the East Entrance. There I talked with three very friendly young folks; Jim, who is about to graduate from nursing school and two female nursing students from the same school in St. George, Utah. Charlize initiated contact and the conversation flowed easily. All three were bright, interested, committed and determined to do good and make a difference. Jim wants to be involved in a medical program that helps underserved patients in third world countries. Nice!

Charlize and I arrived at Bryce Canyon about noon and did a very quick tour. We weren’t allowed to take Frog beyond the first viewpoint, Sunrise Point. To tour the rest of the Park we would have had to unhitch and leave Frog unattended. Charlize was not happy with that idea, nor was I, so we departed.

Rather than back tracking we made a command decision and headed east on state highway 12. We stopped in Tropic, Utah for a quick lunch and pressed on. The road was free of all but occasional other vehicles and we didn’t see a single eighteen-wheeler. We stopped for a panoramic view at the mountain pass between Escalante and Boulder. The CCC constructed the original “Million Dollar Road” with “skill, sweat and dynamite” finishing it in 1940. The view spanned from Navajo Mountain on the Utah-Arizona border to the east, the Henry Mountains in the center and west to the Aquaris Plateau and Boulder Mountain. The distance encompassed, from east to west must be well over a hundred miles. The vista includes a cornucopia of deep, winding canyons that form the Escalante River Basin.

We traversed at least three summit passes after leaving Bryce the highest was about 9,600 feet, with snow on the ground. We arrived at the beautiful Fruita Campground in the Capital Reef National Forest about four-thirty in the evening. With my Senior National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass it cost me five bucks for the night. I was tired from all the mountain driving but pleased with a full day. It was an awesome reliving of the past driving on mostly empty, two-lane highways, very reminiscent of the way driving in the west used to be when I was young.

DSCN0417 Here is Charlize checking out the view of the “Million Dollar Highway”

DSCN0415This is what she was looking at.

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We arrived in Phoenix but left Frog in San Diego. I will to return to San Diego after my sojourn in Phoenix to visit with my brother, his family and some old friends who are still living here as well as some snowbird friends. After averaging between ten and a half and eleven and a half miles per gallon pulling Frog Old Blue averaged sixteen and a half mpg while traveling seventy-five miles an hour on the freeways between San Diego and Phoenix. With gasoline costing four dollars and twenty cents, or more, per gallon in San Diego I calculated that I saved at least fifty-two dollars on the trip here, anticipate an equal amount on my return. I was also able to drive seventy-five mph instead of the fifty-five mph limit pulling Frog.

My brother and his wife are owned by a Chihuahua mix. She is short on stature and gigantic on attitude like many of her ilk. She is also possessive. When we walked in their front door that little dog let Charlize know whose house it was and that trespassers would be tolerated, at best. Her name is Madeline and Charlize avoids her as much as possible. Whenever Madeline has the opportunity she attacks, nipping at Charlize’s hind legs, going for the Achilles tendon. Charlize cowers and runs away but I’m afraid that at some point, probably when none of us are witnesses, she will turn on Madeline and do serious harm, but thus far she has not made a move to defend herself.

My brother Joe and his wife Carol have a two-plus acre lot filled with well-kept desert vegetation. The landscaping is unique, neat and starkly pretty if you grew up here in the desert and liked it. I did and I do. Charlize ran into a cactus while retrieving for my two grandnieces. She now understands to avoid those denizens of the desert, the cacti, not the nieces.

At four in the morning, my first night here, Naomi, almost four years old, got out of her bed and came into the room where her Daddy had been sleeping prior to my and Charlize’ arrival. Daddy, my nephew Andy, was asleep on a blow-up mattress in the same room with the girls. Little Naomi walked over the mattress with her Dad, came into the room where Charlize and I were behind a closed door, got into the bed where I was asleep on my right side. She was at my back so she crawled over me to get to my front and announced she wanted to snuggle. Charlize, ever watchful for intruders, had helped Naomi up onto the bed, nuzzling her behind. I guess I didn’t feel or snuggle the same as Daddy so Naomi started to fidget.

“I’m your Uncle Dave,” I explained. “Do you want your Daddy to snuggle with you?”

Yes,” she answered.

“He is in your room sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Do you want to go join him?”

“Yes,” she said, and did, apparently nonplussed by the situation.

Andy and the girls live in Germany. The girls are both completely bi-lingual. Andy speaks to them in English and they speak to him in English. Their mother, a native German, speaks to them in German and they speak to her in kind. If in a situation where everyone is speaking German Andy also speaks German. Their mother does the same in English when she is in an English-speaking situation, such as visiting here. Andy tells me that when he first spoke German to them, or their mother spoke English they were confused and a little upset that the parent was not communicating with them properly, but they soon adjusted and no matter which language is being used in the conversation they answer in kind. Oh, to be so fascicle with language.

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Rosalie and I married on April 23, 1960. I graduated from veterinary school the first week of June and we embarked on a road trip from Fort Collins, Colorado to my first position in Sidney, Montana, camping out along the way, the only honeymoon we ever had.

After a night in the Medicine Bow range in Wyoming, and a second night at the Coulter campground in Jackson Hole, we arrived in Yellowstone Park. That evening, after using the outhouse, I stood at the water pump, brushing my teeth. There was a loud metallic clang, as a garbage pit lid ripped open. Rosalie screamed, and our German Shepherd Mister erupted into furious, angry barking. I grabbed the ax I had brought along to gather firewood, and ran down the gravel road, toothbrush clenched between my teeth, toothpaste foaming out of my mouth. My towel flew off my shoulder. My toes grabbed frantically, struggling to keep my unlaced boots on my feet as I ran. I saw Mister’s silhouette, clawing at the tent flap.

A small black bear was standing over the garbage pit at our campsite. Through the fabric of the tent, back lit by the lantern, I saw Rosalie. She was screaming while trying to hold Mister back. The bear looked over its shoulder as it reached down into the garbage bin for more of my famous chili. I spat out the toothbrush and started shouting.

“GET OUT!  TAKE OFF! …YEEOUH!”

I squatted down and unzipped the tent flap that was starting to tear from Mister’s attack

“Let him loose honey. It’s just a small bear.”

I grabbed the dog’s collar as he lunged through the opening. The two of us now faced the bear, the dog growling, me waving the ax.

“GO ON, GET OUT …SCRAM!”

The bear moved to face us. He was nonchalant, now able to watch us directly instead of over his shoulder. He continued to fish out and eat the chili. When finished he turned, glanced over his shoulder, then strolled away, unconcerned by antics of man or dog.

Rosalie came out of the tent and stood next to me hugging me around the waist with her left arm and patting Mister with her right hand.

“My hero, and my hero,” she murmured.

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To recap, in the previous five columns we have listed many plants that contain toxins that could be injurious to your dog, cat or horse. Because of their size and propensity to chew almost anything kittens and puppies are at higher risk. Now I want to cover plants not previously classified.

The Umbrella Leaf also known as the Indian Apple Root, American Mandrake, Wild Lemon, Hog Apple, Duck’s Foot, Raccoon berry and American Mandrake accumulates the toxin podophylin. Ingestion can result in gastroenteritis, lethargy, respiratory distress and in rare instances coma. Contact with the skin can cause inflammation and skin ulcers. Iris (Snake Lily, Water Flag or Flag) contains three pentacyclic terpenoids known as zeorin, missourin and missouriensin. Highest concentrations of these toxins are in the rhizomes. Ingestion results in irritation of the oral mucous membranes and gastroenteritis. The Chinaberry Tree (Bead Tree, China Ball Tree, Paradise Tree, Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Japanese Bead Tree, Texas Umbrella Tree, Pride-of-India) accumulates tetranortriterpenes (meliatoxins) in the bark, leaves and flowers but the ripe berries are the most toxic. Ingestion can result in diarrhea, vomiting (not in horses), hyper-salivation, depression, weakness, and in rare cases seizures.

The American Mistletoe, Phoradendron flavescens, contains lectins and phoratoxins that can cause gastroenteritis, cardiovascular collapse, respiratory distress, and erratic behavior. It is hallucinogenic in humans, but do not be tempted, the GI and other effects predominate and are far from pleasant. Ingesting the young sprouts, seeds, bark or pruned twigs of the Locust tree causes significant gastroenteritis, anorexia (loss of appetite), depression, stupor, generalized weakness with rear end paralysis, cold extremities, dilated pupils, dyspnea (difficult breathing), a weak and irregular pulse, and bloody diarrhea. Horses that recover from eating this plant can develop chronic laminitis. The toxic principles of the Locust tree are toxalbumins.

The Peony contains the toxin paeonol and can cause gastroenteritis in horses, dogs and cats. The Gardenia (Cape Jasmine) contains genioposide and gardenoside, also resulting in gastro-intestinal upset. Baby’s Breath (Maidens Breath) contains gyposenin yet another cause of gastroenteritis. More gastroenteritis results from many cultivars of Geranium (containing geraniol, linalool). Garlic plants (Stinking Rose, Rustic Treacle, Camphor of the Poor, Nectar of the Gods, Serpent Garlic, Rocambole) contain N-propyl disulfide and toxic doses can cause gastroenteritis and a breakdown of red blood cells resulting in hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, blood in the urine, generalized weakness, abnormally high heart rates and dyspnea.  The

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia, Indian Pink) contains lobeline and ingestion can result in depression gastroenteritis, abdominal pain and abnormal cardiac rhythms. Tulips contain Tulipalin A & B with highest concentrations in the bulbs. Ingestion causes gastroenteritis, depression, and hyper-salivation. The Sweet Pea (Perennial Pea, Everlasting Pea) accumulates aminoproprionitrite and ingestion can cause weakness, lethargy, pacing, head pressing, tremors, seizures and death. Ingestion of sufficient quantities of the Buckwheat plant, containing fagopyrin, can result in photosensitization and ulcerative and exudative dermatitis.

Several plants in which the toxic principle has not yet been identified, can cause mild to severe gastroenteritis. These include; Dahlias (many varieties), Chinese Jade (Silver Jade, Silver Dollar), Buddhist Pine (Yew Pine, Japanese Yew, Southern Yew, Podocarpus), Norfolk Pine (Australian Pine, House Pine, Island Pine), Horseweed (Showy Daisy, Fleabane, Seaside Daisy) and Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Rose of China).

Several varieties of Lily (Rubrum Lily, Asian Lily, many varieties of Day Lily and Easter Lily appear to be toxic only to cats. The toxic principle is unknown but ingestion can result in gastroenteritis, lethargy, kidney failure and death.

Gold Dust Dracaena (Florida Beauty), the Red-Marginated Dracaena (Straight-Marginated Dracaena) and the Striped Dracaena (Warneckii, Janet Craig Plant) all contain an unknown toxin that causes gastroenteritis, depression, incoordination and weakness in both dogs and cats but dilated pupils, abdominal pain, and tachycardia (increased heart rate) only in cats. The Madagascar Dragon Tree is also only toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion of this plant causes gastroenteritis, depression and in cats dilated pupils.

One last time, if you think your animal has ingested, or been in contact with, any of these hundreds of plants that contain toxic substances and is showing any of the described signs get the animal to your veterinarian. Only a few of the plants are toxic enough to be fatal but even the mild toxicants can cause unwarranted distress that should be relieved.

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