Prevent Pet Problems in Paradise
Being aware is the key to protecting our animal companions from unexpected hazards around the home place.
Even the most idyllic environment can present dangers for your animals.
Donald A. Higgs
Heat shimmered up from the fields as Barbara gazed out her kitchen window, enjoying the bucolic scene before her. Two llamas were investigating a pile of grass clippings piled against the shed. A barn cat tight-roped along the top of the white picket fence toward the barn.
In the barn, Barbara’s husband, Ed, was servicing the hay truck, flushing the radiator so it wouldn’t overheat. A load of cocoa bean mulch was piled in the back of the truck, destined for the flower bed around the house. Barbara’s grandchildren squealed joyfully as they splashed in the new aboveground pool.
Barbara went back to mixing the batter for some chocolate cupcakes. The recipe she used included the latest sugar substitute that allowed her to keep the calories down for her diabetic husband. She frowned suddenly as she heard the skittering of mice across the plaster ceiling of her kitchen. She needed to replace the mouse poison she had in the pantry where the mice seemed to enjoy nightly feasts. As the beginnings of a headache set in, Barbara swallowed several Tylenol, not noticing the coated tab that rolled under the butcher block. Her new calico kitten wandered over to investigate.
Barbara headed out to do some weeding, forgetting that her Australian shepherd was still in the house as she left the glass pan of batter on the counter. Barbara’s garden was her pride and joy, and she even had some wine grapes growing on the trellis arch that protected the garden entrance.
Astute readers may be able to identify many of the hidden dangers for pets and livestock that lurk in this pastoral picture. Barbara and Ed loved their rural life, but had no idea their farm was fraught with risks for their animals. Poisonings are one of the biggest risks to pets and livestock living on a farmstead. Informed farmers and pet owners can avoid trouble before it starts by knowing the risks and eliminating them.
Treat Them – Fast!
In most cases, the first step in a case of suspected toxin ingestion is to get the pet to throw up. Hydrogen peroxide, in a few teaspoons (for a small dog) or tablespoons (large dog), can sometimes cause an animal to vomit, but an intravenous injection at your veterinarian’s office is much more reliable.
NOTE: When a caustic substance like lye or bleach is ingested, vomiting should not be induced, because the caustic substance can do significant damage to the esophagus on the way up.
Even if your dog or cat does vomit, only about two-thirds of the stomach gets emptied. The next step is to give an absorbent such as activated charcoal that binds up any material left in the stomach or intestines. Your veterinarian typically would keep this product on his or her shelves and would give it with the use of a large syringe or stomach tube.
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