Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Child Safety With Dogs

My What Big Teeth You Have!

(And How Can I Avoid Them?)


courtesy of invisiblefence.com
How do you avoid getting bit by a dog?  
Young children should always be supervised with a dog, even the family dog. Experts agree that no child under school age should be left alone with any dog for even one moment, no matter how gentle the child or the dog.  

Is it safe for a child to be the one who walks the dog?  
It puts the child at risk of getting injured when another dog attacks the dog being walked.  Children should not walk the family dog unsupervised until they are adult sized, and using good judgment.  

courtesy of invisiblefence.com

An essential safety rule for children with any dog is to ask the responsible adult for permission before approaching or touching the dog.  If there is no adult to ask, leave that dog alone. 

Many dogs instinctively protect territory.  This can include a car the dog is sitting in, a yard the dog is confined in (this includes electric fenced yards-which a child can wander in very easily) or when the dog is on a walk with the owner.   Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially if it is tied up or in its yard.  A dog who doesn't know you may see you as a threat.  Never turn your back to a dog and run away.  A dog's instinct will be to chase you down and catch you, just like it would do with its prey.

courtesy of safedogobedienceadvice.com
The same dog might be safe for a child to pet when the dog is on a leash but not in its yard, or vice-versa.  Some children make the problem worse by deciding that a dog is a mean dog (the dog next door who barks at everything, Grandma’s little lap dog who barks when the kids run around the house, etc.) and they taunt it.   Soon the dog is particularly protective against children in that situation.  The child who gets bitten may be another child, not the one who did the teasing.

Don't disturb a dog, even if you know the dog, while it’s sleeping, eating, or playing with a toy, especially if it’s a flavored chew toy, which in its mind equals food.  Always ask an adult if you can play with the dog with its toys.  

Don’t disturb a momma dog with her puppies.  She might try to protect them from you.  

And when you do pet a dog, let him see and sniff you first.  Offer a closed hand from below the chin, not a hovering hand over the dog’s head.  An overhead gesture can frighten a fearful dog and he may try to protect himself.  Don’t wiggle your fingers in a dog’s face or yank your hand away either.  The dog may bite your fingers in play, thinking your fingers are prey.


What to do if you think a dog may attack? 

If you are approached by a dog who may attack you, follow these steps:  Remain motionless, and avoid eye contact with the dog.  Attempt to slowly back away from the dog to safety.  Resist the urge to scream and run away.  If the dog does attack, in a firm voice, say, “NO!” and offer him your  purse, grocery bag, jacket, glove, shoe, bicycle, or anything that you can distract the dog with.  If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball tucking your face into your knees, and try to cover the back of your neck and ears/cheeks with your arms.  Stay as still as possible.  Try not to scream or roll around.


What to do if I you bitten by a dog?
If you are bitten by a dog, as soon as you can safely get away, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water, and then seek medical care.   Report the bite to your local animal control agency. Tell the animal control officer what the dog looked like, and if you know his owner's name and/or address.  If the dog is a stray, tell the officer where you encountered the dog, and in which direction he went.

What about cats?
courtesy of petstyle.com
Do not tease a cat with your fingers Do not pick up a cat against its will. Do not touch a cat outdoors that you come across unless the owner is present and says that it is safe to do so.   

How to interpret cat language: a cat swishing its tail, a cat hissing or growling, a cat with big pupils, a cat with its ears flat to its head, or a cat who has its back hunched:  these are cats that are saying, “back off!”  The same guidelines apply if you get bitten by a cat as by a dog.

Blog by:
Dr. Dana Lewis
Dr. Dana assists families with Pet Hospice and In Home Euthanasia in the Raleigh North Carolina area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle, as well as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Reverse Sneezing

Does your dog suffer from this condition? CLICK HERE

Reverse sneezing, or pharyngeal gag reflex, is a spasm caused by an irritation of the wall of the pharynx. It is similar to a sneeze, which is caused by an irritation to the nasal passages. While the reverse sneeze can look quite alarming, no treatment is needed, and episodes are self-limiting.

Reverse sneezing can have many causes. Common causes can include allergies, nasal mites, foreign bodies (such as a blade of grass or seed), viruses, masses or infections.

Reverse sneezing episodes can also occur when a dog is sniffing, excited, or pulling on a leash.  Exposure to pollen, dust, smoke, perfumes, aerosols, or other allergens or respiratory irritants may also lead to reverse sneezing in some dogs. 

Dental disease and oral infections can worsen irritation of throat and pharynx / larynx, and may predispose some pets to reverse sneezing. 

I'm often asked about Reverse Sneezing by my clients - What to do when it occurs, and how can it be prevented. I advise my clients of the following: 
  • If mild and self-limiting, no treatment or prevention is necessary. If the pet is reverse sneezing, and you want to do something that may be helpful, sometimes rubbing the nose or throat can help to end an attack. 
  • If episodes are more chronic or frequent, you may want to evaluate your pet's environment for potential irritants, and look for ways to minimize your pet's exposure to dust, allergens, and other respiratory irritants. You may also wish to consider an antihistamine trial, which may help reduce symptoms of allergies.
  • For severe and recurring reverse sneezing, I recommend a thorough examination of the pet's throat and oral / nasal cavities using a small endoscope. 
Dr. Bacon services the Greater Knoxville Area, including Farragut, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Clinton, Luttrell, Maryville, Sevierville, and Dandridge.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

Almost Everything You Need to Know About
Chronic Renal Failure
But Might Be Afraid to Ask

First - let's get some definitions down: 

Chronic: long term. 
: kidney. (we use them interchangeably)
Failure: the inability to perform a task adequately. 

Chronic renal failure (CRF), also called chronic kidney failure, refers to the situation where the kidneys have not been able to perform at least one of their many tasks adequately for some time (months to years). Many doctors opt for the term chronic renal insufficiency, as many cases can be treated successfully and can look forward to months or often years of quality life, while failure connotes negativity. In addition, at this time we do not usually do dialysis with pets, but there are some programs for kidney transplants available in cats.

Kidneys:  two bean-shaped organs present in our abdominal cavity that make urine and a whole lot more!  The kidneys are made of thousands of tiny filtration units called nephrons. Once a nephron is destroyed by a disease, it is not replaced; the number of nephrons we have has to last a lifetime (or at least quite a few need to last a lifetime-we do have extras).

Many people have no idea what our kidneys do for us beyond that they have something to do with urine production. In fact, the kidneys are involved in conservation of water, stimulating red blood cell production, regulating blood pressure, balancing salts, activating Vitamin D, and more. Any of these functions may be failing in the renal failure patient.

The kidneys remove toxic wastes from our bodies and when these substances cannot be adequately removed, we develop excess thirst, nausea, pain, weakness, appetite loss, intestinal bleeding, even seizures. Our goal in early stage patients is to postpone or even fully prevent the development of uremia. Our goal in later stage patients is to resolve the uremia and bring the patient back to an earlier stage of disease. 

If the pet is still making plenty of urine, how can there be kidney failure?
In chronic kidney failure, urine is usually produced in excessive quantities. What the kidneys are failing to do is conserve water and they fail to make concentrated urine. The body produces numerous toxins as it goes through its daily tasks. These toxins circulate to the kidneys where they are filtered out and urinated away. An efficient kidney can make highly-concentrated urine so that a large amount of toxin can be excreted in a relatively small amount of water.

When the kidneys fail, they lose their ability to concentrate urine and more water is required to excrete the same amount of toxin. This usually starts to happen when about 2/3 of the nephrons are no longer working.  The animal will begin to drink more and more to provide the failing kidneys with enough water. Eventually, the animal cannot drink enough and toxin levels begin to rise. At first owners might notice only that they are filling the water bowl more often, or the litter box is wetter, or that the dog has to go out more often or is having accidents.  Later the pet owner might notice weight loss, listlessness, nausea, constipation, and poor appetite.
Fortunately, we have many extra nephrons, so many extra that overall kidney function does not fall behind until we are down to about 1/4 of our original number of nephrons.

Nephrons can be destroyed quickly or slowly. Usually, by the time less than 1/4 of our original nephrons are left, whatever the inciting disease process was is long gone and there is no way to tell what happened. All we can do is make the kidney workload easier by making up for the kidney’s inadequate performance with medication or supplements. Hopefully, we can also slow the progression of the failure. Therapy is highly individual depending on which jobs the kidneys are having trouble doing.

Azotemia:  the condition where toxins have built up in the bloodstream and lab tests are definitely abnormal. It does not necessarily mean the patient is experiencing reduced life quality as a result of these abnormal lab findings. 

Uremia means that the patient is experiencing uremic poisoning. In other words, not only are the tests abnormal but the patient is feeling the effects of the toxic build up.

Therapy:  Our goal in treatment is to prevent, postpone, or resolve uremia. Resolving azotemia may not be realistic.  In most cases, by the time the diagnosis of kidney failure has been made, the initial disease that started the kidneys on their path to failure is long gone, leaving a progressive loss of function to march unrelentingly onward. Our goal is to stop that march, and get to a stage where the patient does not feel the consequences of the disease. We cannot make failed kidneys become normal again, but we may be able to re-balance our patient’s metabolism so that he or she feels as though we did. What makes a case hopeless or hopeful depends on the patient’s ability to respond to therapy nearly as much as it depends on the stage at which the condition is discovered.   See suggestions after each of the lab parameters we monitor.

Lessons in Lab Work:
Let’s begin with some of the relevant lab values that come up in the course of screening a pet’s kidney function. Your veterinarian may also recommend other tests besides these, such as urine sediment and/or culture if there is a chance that there is a urinary tract infection present as well.  It is helpful to familiarize yourself with these terms so you can understand what your veterinarian is monitoring:

Urine Specific Gravity:  One of the kidney’s most important jobs is the conservation of the body’s water. The kidney must excrete the toxic by-products created by the body’s metabolism but it will want to do so in the least amount of water possible. The healthy kidney is able to make very concentrated urine.

When we analyze a urine sample, one of the most important parameters is the specific gravity. This is a measure of how concentrated a urine sample is. Water has a specific gravity of 1.000. A dilute urine sample has a specific gravity less that 1.020.  A concentrated urine sample would have a specific gravity over 1.030 (dogs) or 1.040 (cats). A failing kidney by definition cannot make concentrated urine and the patient must drink excessively to get enough water to excrete the day’s toxic load.  At certain times of the day our urine is more concentrated than others-our first morning urine tends to be our most concentrated of the day since we usually don’t drink much at night if we are in good shape, but if we just had a big drink, our next urine will be more dilute.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN):  This is a protein metabolite excreted by the kidney (it is one of the toxins we are concerned about, though it may be more of a marker for other toxins that are less easily measured). In a normal animal, the BUN is around 25 mg/dl (milligram per deciliter). Often at the time of diagnosis, BUN is well over 150, 200, or even 300. We’d like to keep the BUN no more than 60 to 80 mg/dl. BUN is influenced by dietary protein (including the patient’s own blood that has bled into the intestine).

Creatinine:  This is another protein metabolite (though this one is less dependent on dietary protein intake than is BUN). A normal creatinine is less than 1.4 mg/dl, certainly less than 2.0. Patients begin to feel sick when values meet or exceed 5.0 so we try to keep the value at 4.5 or less. BUN and creatinine will be tracked (as will several other parameters) over time and in response to different treatments.

Therapy to address fluid loss and azotemia (elevated BUN and Creatinine): 

First, is giving fluids to help keep the pet hydrated, to optimize blood flow to the kidneys, and to help flush out toxins from the blood stream.  Also, we institute dietary management to give the body proteins that it can utilize best and to decrease excess protein metabolites.  Additionally, we use gastrointestinal medications such as stomach acid blockers of various kinds, appetite stimulants, and anti-nausea medications since kidney failure leads to excess stomach acid secretion, and nausea. 

Phosphorus:  The calcium/phosphorus balance becomes deranged in kidney failure due to hormone changes as well as the inability of the failing kidney to excrete phosphorus. If calcium and phosphorus levels become too high, the soft tissues of the animal's body will become more like bone with deposits of mineral in them that are inflammatory, uncomfortable, and often cause intestinal bleeding. The bones will weaken as well, in some cases actually becoming rubbery. Keeping phosphorus levels in the low normal range has been correlated with improved survival.

Therapy for excess phosphorous:  Phosphorous binders added to the diet, and if we can get the phosphorous and calcium down low enough (so that if you multiply the numbers you get for each mineral the answer should be less than 60), a medication called calcitriol may slow further kidney decline.

Potassium:  The failing kidney is unable to conserve potassium efficiently and supplementation may be needed. The sign of hypokalemia (the scientific name for low blood potassium) is weakness, especially drooping of the head and neck.

Therapy for low potassium is a potassium supplement.

Packed Cell Volume / Hematocrit:  This is a measure of red blood cell amount. More literally it represents the percentage of the blood made up by red blood cells. The hormone which stimulates the production of red blood cells is made by the kidney. The failing kidney does not make this hormone in normal amounts leading to a reduction in red blood cells (anemia), in turn leading to weakness, poor appetite, and overall poor life quality.

Therapy for anemia in kidney failure is using an injectable form of the hormone that stimulates bone marrow to make red blood cells. 

Blood Pressure:  Blood pressure is important to monitor in kidney patients as there is a tendency for hypertension (high blood pressure) to develop in kidney failure.

Therapy consists of medication to lower blood pressure and certain medications work better in certain species.

Thyroid Hormone:  In our cat patients, it is important to screen thyroid hormone level as hyperthyroidism can lead to high blood pressure and kidney damage.

Therapy involves stopping excess thyroid hormone production via one of several ways: a medication usually given orally, dietary management, surgery to remove the overactive tissue, or radioactive iodine treatment. 

Urinary Protein:  One of the functions of the kidney is to prevent loss of the body’s blood proteins. The kidney’s filtering mechanism that enables it to remove toxins is designed to leave larger molecules (such as proteins) inside the body where they belong. But if holes develop in the filter, protein can be lost. If this complication cannot be controlled, survival time is dramatically shortened.

Therapy consists of using a medication that is used in heart disease, called an ACE inhibitor.  These medications also reduce blood pressure somewhat and decrease protein excretion in some patients.

REMEMBER, While all of this information may seem overwhelming and insurmountable, remember that many cases of kidney failure can be treated successfully and patients can look forward to months or often years of quality life with management!

Blog by:
Dr. Dana Lewis
Dr. Dana assists families with Pet Hospice and In Home Euthanasia in the Raleigh North Carolina area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle, as well as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Knoxville Mobile Pet Euthanasia Laura Bacon

Veterinary Spotlight
Dr. Laura Devlin Bacon

Our next veterinary spotlight shines on Dr. Laura Bacon from Knoxville, Tennessee (our first vet in Tennessee).
Dr. Laura and Gracie

Dr. Laura was born and raised on a large farm with a marina in Hancock's Bridge, New Jersey. She now resides in Knoxville with her hubby and two boys ages 2.5 yrs and 6 months.

She also has some furry children.  
  • Gracie - An Exuberant Black Labrador Retriever who loves life!
  • Calaloo - An independent Black and White cat 
  • Yellow Cat - a Cat who thinks he's a Dog
Yellow Cat

She earned her undergrad degree from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and went to vet school at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her favorite breeds are
medium and large breed retriever mixes - pound pups. And if she could own an exotic animal - it would be exotic chickens!

Dr. Bacon enjoys Spending time with family, competitive cycling, running, hiking, reading, gardening, and travel.

The favorite part of being a vet for Dr. Bacon is the simple act of helping an animal in need. "My job is my life's purpose - to be an advocate for those creatures who do not have a voice of their own." she says.

Dr. Bacon has always wanted to be a vet, but if she could be something else.... maybe a professional athlete....or a world traveler.... a wildlife photographer or a Dolphin and Manatee Veterinarian! 

  • When Dr. Bacon was young, she spent time with her Grandfather helping him make a living through crabbing and fishing, and worked on the family farm. 
  • The oddest animals she has fostered include a turkey vulture and Fred the opossum.
  • She has a certificate in microvascular surgery from Emory Medical School. 
  • She worked for a biotech company in Atlanta preparing human tissue for transplant for two years before attending veterinary school. 
  • She love manatees and the beach
  • She is crazy about her husband and two boys and our furry animal babies.
  • She met Betty White when she was a Ballard Scholar for Morris Animal Foundation. 
  • She loves chocolate! 
  • Dr. Laura and Sydney (her yellow lab mix and best friend who passed last year) spent a summer out west together, and even hiked Pike's Peak. 
  • In the midst of collecting National Park Patches for our sons, and hopes to visit all the US National Parks before they are 18. 
  • She loves to read
  • She'd like to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail and bike across the US in the future.

Read more - or contact Dr. Bacon.....
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Dr. Bacon services the Greater Knoxville Area, including Farragut, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Clinton, Luttrell, Maryville, Sevierville, and Dandridge.

Friday, December 9, 2011


By guest blogger Jodi Ziskin, Holistic Nutrition and Wellness Consultant for Cats and Dogs
Jodi Ziskin and Obi
When a dog or cat is chronically or terminally ill or simply recovering from surgery, getting them to eat can be a challenge.

There are many reasons for loss of appetite including (but not limited to):
  • Medications that cause queasiness in the tummy
  • Diseases of the digestive tract
  • Aches and pains that make it difficult to get up
  • Pain due to tooth decay or other oral diseases
This is, of course, both frustrating and heart breaking for pet parents. We know that our furry babies need nutrition and hydration to help them recover or for those who are nearing sunset, to make them feel as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

In addition, pets who need to take meds with meals or on a full stomach simply must eat.

To Stimulate Appetite

Emu Oil - Yep, you read that correctly. The taste of emu oil is irresistible to most cats and dogs. It also contains a plethora of health benefits. The oil is rich in omega 3s (and other important essential fatty acids) and is anti-inflammatory. This is wonderful for pets with irritable bowel disease, arthritis, pancreatitis and more. Emu oil can also be used externally. It helps heal bites, hot spots, rashes and more. I suggested the Premiere Pure Oil by www.emumagic.com.

Tuna Juice - The diluted juice poured over food can stimulate the appetite. I recommend the Whole Foods 365 brand of no salt added Wild Slip Jack. Simply drain the liquid from the can and dilute with the same amount of filtered water.

Dried one-ingredient freeze dried meat treats - Excellent options by Grandma Lucy's, Stella & Chewy's, Bravo and more. Pick your pet's favorite - tuna, salmon, bison, chicken, turkey, etc. Crumble a treat over food (and maybe even mix in).
www.grandmalucys.com, www.stellaandchewys.com, www.bravo.com. Each site provides information on retailers by zip code.


I always recommend adding a probiotic and digestive enzyme to each meal. The probiotic will help balance flora in the stomach, reduce bad bacteria and increase good bacteria in the gut, and will help strengthen the immune system. Digestive enzymes help break down the food, making it easier for your pet to digest and assimilate nutrients. One of my favorite products is a two-in-one by Animal Essentials called Plant Enzymes & Probiotics - http://www.animalessentials.com/#products:63. Start by adding just a sprinkle to meals and working up to the recommended amounts for your pet's weight. This can take a few days.

Foods to start with

Plain organic full-fat yogurt - Yobaby by Stoneyfield Farm is wonderful. It is creamy, cool and provides protein, fats, calcium and some probiotic. This is often a great first step in stimulating the appetite.
- For cats or small dogs, start with 1/2 tsp a few times per day. For large dogs, offer a tablespoon at a time.

Homemade Broth - Do not use canned or broth from cartons. Most of these contain onions, which can be poisonous to dogs and cats, MSG, too much sodium or other unsavory ingredients. Instead, make your own (you can eat this, too).
Simmer chicken (skinless, but with bones), preferably dark meat, along with carrots, kale, zucchini, parsley and a dash of sea salt for about an hour. Skim the broth so there are no solids left. Let cool and offer to your pet. Let them have as much as they want.

Next Step

Scrambled Egg - Scramble an egg with some organic butter.
  • Once cooled, mix in half of it with a teaspoon of the aforementioned yogurt for cats or small dogs or the whole egg with a tablespoon of yogurt for larger dogs. Not only is this a nutritionally dense meal, it is easy to digest and assimilate.
  • If your pet does not like yogurt, serve with the broth.

As Appetite Increases

Chicken and brown rice *- This will take a little time to prepare, but it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days. I recommend using organic or at least hormone and antibiotic-free boneless, skinless thighs. Heat up coconut, sunflower or olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of filtered water and 1/2 pound of the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. For the rice, cook with twice as much water as the directions call for. This will make it mushy and more palatable.
  • Empty the chicken and all the liquid into a blender and pulse until the mixture reaches a pate consistency.
  • For cats, just add 1/4 cup of the rice; for dogs, 1/2 - 1 cup of rice.
  • Although cats cannot digest grains, adding rice to the chicken will help slow down the digestion process, making it easier on the whole system.

Grandma Lucy's Simple Remedy * - Quick and easy. Just add water. http://www.grandmalucys.com/remedy.html

*Please note: these suggestions are for temporary feeding only. For nutritionally balanced, species appropriate recipes, please work with a vet or pet nutrition expert.

Other Suggestions
 ·        For very weak cats and dogs, you may need to initiate feedings by using a dropper or syringe (needle-free, of course) or spoon feed
·        For mobile pets, be sure their feeding station is higher than their stomachs. This will improve digestion
·        Most cats do not like to eat out of bowls - a plate is preferred
·        Make sure there is plenty of filtered water available at all times - rinse out bowls and refill at least two times per day

Jodi Ziskin is a Holistic Nutrition & Wellness Consultant for cats and dogs. She is a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant who also holds a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition with a concentration in companion animal care. Jodi's mission is to help cats and dogs live healthier and happier. She coaches pet parents in their home environment, via Skype or by telephone on how to make the best holistic diet and lifestyle choices for their animal companions. Visit www.HolisticJodi.com.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pet Euthanasia Raleigh North Carolina Dana Lewis

Veterinary Spotlight
Dana Lewis, DVM

Our second Lap of Love veterinarian to join us in North Carolina was Dr. Dana Lewis and is our next veterinarian to spotlight!

Dr. Dana was born and raised in Freeport, NY- a beautiful town on the water of Long Island.  "Before my sophomore year in high school, I moved to Stony Brook, NY, another picturesque village on Long Island.  I met my husband in the Ward Melville Players drama club.  I moved to North Carolina for undergraduate studies." Dr. Dana says.

She has two boys, ages 11 and 9 and the younger son is from Ethiopia.

Dr. Dana and Lydia
Dr. Dana has a few furry kids as well. "Lydia, our hound cross found in the mountains of NC with her siblings in an ice storm; Roger and Bruce, our bottle raised Domesticated Short Hair (DSH) cats from two different litters one summer; Ginny, our most recent addition DSH also bottle fed with her brothers who have been adopted out; Sirius, our charcoal cornsnake (pet of 11 year old son) and Harry and Ron, our guinea pigs (pets of our 9 year old son)."  (WHEW - that is a full household!)

Dr. Dana is a self declared geek and went to Guilford College, Greensboro, NC  (c/o 1987) and majored in Biology with a concentration in associated sciences and a minor in German.   She graduated from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. Where she was a member of the feline club, bovine club (yes - she is a small animal vet with a hankerin’ for cows), and WAAZM (wildlife, avian, aquatic and zoo med). 

Fun facts: Dr. Dana took French in junior and senior high, German in senior high and college, American Sign Language in college, and she has taught herself some basic Amharic, (spoken in Ethiopia). (she called herself a geek first)

Dr. Dana and Ginny
If she could own any exotic animal it would be a manatee or dolphin (she needs to come visit us in South Florida clearly).  And she thinks a Pteranodon would make a very cool patient. (I had to look up what a Pteranodon was!)

If she could come back as an animal what would it be?  Any cat, domestic or wild.

I asked her what her favorite part about being a vet is ....  "They told me before my vet school interviews not to say, 'I want to go to vet school because I love animals', but hey, I love playful cats and smoochie dogs."   (Ditto) 

Dr. Dana used to be a Montessori school teacher between undergrad and vet school and would like to do that if she was not a vet.

The entire Harry Potter series is her favorite book  (she thinks JK Rowling is a genius - although her favorite author is Robert Heinlein (the father of science fiction)

Photo credit: http://blog.ragan.com

The person she admired most is Ignaz Semmelweis. In the mid-1800’s in Hungary he introduced handwashing standards after discovering that the occurrence of childbed fever could be prevented by practicing hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics.  For this successful yet such simple and cost effective method, he is rightfully considered to be the savior of mothers.  And you all thought Louis Pasteur was the bomb.

When asked what her hobbies were... her list was... "Camping and boating at Jordan Lake, reading, snow skiing very slowly, scuba diving which I have not done in 11 years (sigh), traveling, cooking and eating, gardening, talking about animals, talking about my kids, and I used to oil paint landscapes and florals."

Her 'Bucket List' is a long list of places she wants to visit.... Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Australia, Galapagos, Grand Canyon, Ireland, Greece, Israel, India, Madagascar, and anyplace she could scuba dive or snow ski.

Her favorite quote is: 
Isaiah 40 28-31 : 

28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.
And that is a little something about Dr. Dana Lewis! :) 
Dr. Dana assists families with Pet Hospice and Euthanasia in the Raleigh North Carolina area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle, as well as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Household Hazards Poison Control for Pets

Household Hazards &
Why Poison Control Is Your Friend!

Tobacco Products

Tobacco products contain varying amounts of nicotine.  Butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine content.  Signs often develop quickly (usually within 15-45 minutes) and include excitation, rapid breathing, salivation, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Muscle weakness, twitching, depression, elevated heart rate, shallow respiration, collapse, coma, and cardiac arrest can follow the period of excitation. Death occurs secondary to respiratory paralysis.
Treatment with recent ingestion in asymptomatic animals involves inducing emesis. Activated charcoal has been shown to be helpful in adsorbing nicotine. Patients should be monitored closely and treated symptomatically. Artificial respiration is indicated in patients with respiratory paralysis.

Drugs, both prescribed and illicit:
People sometimes require medications for pain, anxiety, attention deficit, depression, blood pressure, heart disease, etc.  Sometimes people are taking medications or illicit drugs and you aren’t aware of it.  And now they are visiting your house for the holidays, and they have left it our where your pet has access to it.

Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS!  You wouldn’t think that the medication you take for a headache would be that much of a problem but tylenol kills cats.  The other medications can cause gastrointestinal upset, ulcers, hemorrhage, and death if used inappropriately.

All of the other drugs have varying side effects and can also potentially kill your pet, so contact poison control if your pet is acting in an unusual manner; ask your guests if they may have accidentally left something around the pet could have ingested; have some idea of the number of pills the pet could have ingested; and bring drug vials with you to the veterinarian.  If it is an illegal drug, tell us anyway.  We want to save your pet, not get you or your houseguests into trouble with the authorities.  Knowing what your pet ingested guides the therapy that we institute.

Ice Melts

Many brands of sidewalk ice melts are on the market. The most common ingredients in these ice melts are sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate. A few ice melts contain urea. Pets may be exposed by walking on the ice melts themselves or by ingesting granules brought inside on the shoes of the owner’s.
Ingestion of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium salts can lead to vomiting and electrolyte abnormalities and pets may require appropriate fluid therapy.

Liquid Potpourri

Liquid potpourri is commonly used during the holiday season. Cats are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, skin, and eye damage.

In addition, potpourri can cause systemic toxicity including depression, coma, seizures, hypotension, muscular weakness, collapse, pulmonary edema, and blood mineral imbalances.  Medical care depends on what systems are being affected.

Silica Gel Packs

They are found in shoeboxes, electronics, medications and food to absorb moisture. Silica gel, one of the most common desiccants, comes in paper packets or plastic cylinders. Packages of silica gel are attractive to pets because of the rustling noise, and the packages are easy to bat around. Mild gastrointestinal upset may occur. Ingestion of the intact packet may cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.  Some moisture absorbing packs contain iron at levels that can cause illness as well.  These packs have dark grey or brown ingredients.

Electric Cords
(Yes, that is Dr. Lewis’ cat, Roger, hiding under the tree)

Chewing electric cords has appeal for some pets.  The pet may receive a life threatening shock, have thermal burns in the mouth, develop edema (fluid) in the lungs, and other potential complications.  Seek medical care if your pet has chewed a cord.  Unplug the tree and other cords when you are not at home or are asleep.  Cover cords with protectors when possible.  There are deterrents that you can apply to cords that taste bitter, and there is something called a ScatMat that you can place around your tree to keep the pet away from the hazards associated with the tree.

Curly Ribbon, Tinsel, Garland, Balloon Ribbon, Easter Basket Grass, and Craft Threads

Dangly fun for the cat, but once ingested acts as a saw and cuts through the intestines.  Nuff said!  Keep it out of the cat household!  Someone brings a present over; say thank you, then cut off and discard the ribbon immediately.

Poison Control - keep this information handy! It may save your pet! 

Blog by:
Dr. Dana Lewis
Dr. Dana assists families with Pet Hospice and In Home Euthanasia in the Raleigh North Carolina area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the greater Triangle, as well as Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties.)