New Poisonous Plants List for Pet Owners

The folks at the rover.com website have created a very useful new list of poisonous plants for dog and cat owners.

The list includes photographs of each plant to help in identification, as well as the plant’s common name and scientific name.

You can find plants that are toxic to dogs and/or cats, as well as review the list by toxicity level and whether the plant is a garden, house, or wild species.

The entry for each plant also includes a quick reference list of common symptoms to watch out for.

Be sure to check it out, and as always, keep the web address and phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center’s Pet Poison Helpline handy:

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/

(855) 764-7661

Thanks, Rover!

 

CDC Investigates Salmonella in Pig Ear Dog Treats

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the US Food and Drug Administration, recently issued a health warning to pet owners who feed their dogs pig ear treats.

They are advising people not to buy pig ear treats for their pets, and not to feed your dog any you might already have in the home.

There have been many cases of multi-drug resistant Salmonella, a bacterial infection, associated with these treats.  The Salmonella can affect both dogs and people who handle the treats.

The latest numbers from the CDC show that 127 people in 33 states have become infected.  26 people have been hospitalized, and 24 of the infections have occurred in children under 5 years of age.

While some companies have recalled their pig ear dog treats, the CDC and FDA advise pet owners to avoid all pig ears while the Salmonella outbreak is being investigated.

Here is a brief summary of their advice to dog owners.  Be sure to check out the CDC website for the full story.

  • Avoid buying pig ear treats.
  • Throw away any pig ear treats you might already have (make sure your dog can’t get to them in the trash).
  • Wash areas where pig ear treats were stored.
  • Signs of Salmonella in people include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps.
  • Signs in dogs include tiredness, vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea.
  • Report any suspected Salmonella infections to the FDA here.

 

Large-Scale Study Finds Cat Obesity is on the Rise

Researchers at Canada’s Ontario Veterinary College analyzed the electronic veterinary health data of over 19 million cats and found that not only do cats tend to put on weight as they age, but they also have been getting fatter over the past few decades.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that a cat’s weight will gradually increase until it is around 8 years of age.  Male cats tend to be heavier than females, and spayed/neutered cats tend to be heavier than unaltered cats.

Purebred cats reach their peak weight between 6 and 10 years of age, while non-purebred domestic cats peak at 8 years.

The mean weight of cats has increased overall from 1995 to 2005.  However, weight has held steady between 2005 and 2015.

Researchers note that many cats in the study had only one weight on file, suggesting that regular vet visits where weight is taken are uncommon for many pet cats.  They say that cats can be overlooked when it comes to health studies because they go to the vet less frequently than dogs.

In an article on the study, the researchers urge owners to monitor their cat’s weight regularly, including at-home weigh-in sessions.  They note that unusual weight loss or gain can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem.

Check out this video on the study here!

 

Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Hot Pavement This Summer

We’ve all seen a lot of news stories about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car, but did you know that a simple stroll on the sidewalk can blister your pup’s paws when the weather is hot?

KUTV in Salt Lake City talked to a local veterinarian about the dangers of hot sidewalks.  He took a thermometer outside on a hot day and measured the temperature on a sunny sidewalk.  It registered 131 degrees!  In contrast, the shade temperature was just 80 degrees.

Paw blisters can happen in minutes, so to protect your dog, be sure to walk her on grass and in the shade.  Early morning is the safest time of day.

Click HERE for the story and video.

 

FDA Updates Findings on Link Between Grain Free Dog Food and Heart Disease

The US Food and Drug Administration has been investigating a possible connection between grain free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs.

DCM is a heart condition that is most commonly seen in certain medium to large breed dogs.  The heart becomes enlarged and loses its ability to pump blood to the body.

Veterinarians began noticing an uptick of DCM cases in dogs not normally known to suffer from this disease.  In many of these cases, the dogs were eating grain freed dog food that contained different kinds of potatoes, peas, or lentils instead of wheat.

The FDA updated its findings at the end of June.  What does the latest research say?

  • The most reported breeds among all the cases are Golden Retrievers, mixed breeds, and Labrador Retrievers.
  • The mean age of affected dogs is 6.6 years, and the weight is 67.8 pounds.
  • The vast majority of reported cases were fed a dry dog food diet.
  • 90% of reported food products were labeled as grain free and 93% of reported products contained peas and/or lentils.
  • No one source of animal protein stood out more than others.
  • The most reported pet food brands are Acana, Zignature, and Taste of the Wild.

What are the next steps in this ongoing research?

The FDA is still investigating a possible connection between taurine (an amino acid) and DCM.

Taurine deficiency is associated with DCM in dogs.  Certain breeds are especially susceptible, and researchers are currently looking at taurine deficiency and DCM in Golden Retrievers.

The FDA reports that it continues to work with pet food manufacturers, veterinarians, and pet owners to understand more about this issue.

They encourage vets and owners to report any possible diet related cases of DCM.  You can find more information on reporting HERE.

Be sure to talk to your vet about the best diet for your individual dog.

DCM can be life-threatening.  If your dog is showing unusual signs of weakness, tiredness, difficulty breathing, or collapse, seek veterinary care right away.