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Posts Tagged ‘Pet’

Lately I am beginning to think that Charlize is upset with me. I think she’s worried that something I wrote, information I believed would be helpful, is being used for nefarious purposes.  Because the reach of the Internet is global the potential harm is spreading, and she’s worried about dogs and cats everywhere.

Antifreeze poisoning is a significant problem in dogs and cats, one of if not the most common cause of animal poisoning. Back in January 31, 2012 I posted an article on this blog that was also published in MyEdmondsNews. The article was entitled: “Why do dogs and cats drink antifreeze and how does it kill them?” My intent was to educate about the lethality of antifreeze, how to keep from exposing your pet, the signs and symptoms of poisoning, what to do if you suspect your pet has been exposed and the treatment that can only be provided by your veterinarian.

Since that article was published this website has hosted almost twenty-three thousand visits. A small percentage of those visits were from folks who follow my writings but the vast majority of the visitors reach the site via search engines. I don’t know the exact numbers but a disturbing percentage of those visitors used, and continue to use, search terms such as; how to kill a dog or cat with antifreeze, how much antifreeze to kill a dog or a cat, the best way to kill a dog or cat with antifreeze.

The website provides daily statistics about the articles that were accessed. It is a rare day when the antifreeze article is not the most visited, apparently by folks trying to find out how to rid their neighborhood of a pesky dog or cat. Many of the inquiries come from countries with stray or feral dog and cat problems but it is still disturbing that people are going to the Internet to find out how to poison animals.

So, what to do? I would like to believe that this article has saved some animals from a horrible death. Antifreeze kills by forming crystals in the kidneys that destroys kidney function, not a pleasant death. Quick response and appropriate treatment by a veterinarian is the only way to save an animal thus exposed. However, if the information is perverted, used to poison animals should I leave it on the site? Mine is not the only site that provides information about antifreeze poisoning.

OK, too heavy? The argument is that free access to information is not and cannot be bad, only the use of that information in a bad way.  Of course, Charlize is not really upset with me, especially not with something I wrote. She has yet to read any of my essays, although sometimes I read portions of them to her.  When I do so she provides unequivocal support rather than critique, constructive or otherwise. It would be wonderful if she would provide me with advice about what to do about this.

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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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