Prevent Pet Problems in Paradise

Jon Geller, DVM, offers his farm animal health experience to readers to help prevent pet problems around the homestead.


| March/April 2007



How to prevent pet problems at the homestead. Even the most idyllic environment can present dangers for your animals.

How to prevent pet problems at the homestead. Even the most idyllic environment can present dangers for your animals.

Photo: Donald A. Higgs

Jon Geller, DVM, shares tips on how to prevent pet problems around the farm. 

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 above-ground 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 or how to prevent pet problems. 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.

gary_1
9/11/2008 1:54:16 PM

Thank you for an excellent article about how we can better take care of our pets health. There are some more toxins that we should be aware of though. From "HOUND HEALTH HANDBOOK" by Betsy Brevitz: Tomatoes, onions, and macadamia nuts are dangerous, and specific plants include autumn crocus, azalea, caroline cherry laurel, casterbean, cycad, cyclamen, foxglove, heavenly bamboo, japanese andromeda, laburnun/goldenchain, lily of the valley, milkweed, deathcap/angel mushrooms, oleander, rhodedendron, rosary pea/precatory beam, sago palm, and yew. From "THE DOG ATE IT" by Linda Eckhardt and Barbara Bradley: Avocado, coffee, alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, poultry and pork bones, (and tomato leaves and even onion powder) should never be feed to your dog. Other potentially hazardous household items include tennis balls (high lead count), dental floss, rubber bands/gloves, Vitamin D ointments, fluoride toothpaste, and nutritional supplements for humans.


joe burge
9/3/2008 8:01:34 AM

Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) Along with all the other tick borne diseases, I had never heard about this one until my ten year old Rottie died of it recently. Just another reason to keep your pet on preventative, but even with a tick treatment, this disease can be transmitted from the bite before the tick dies. Google it, keep an eye out for symptoms, and get it treated early to prevent the loss of a loved companion.


joe burge
9/3/2008 8:01:18 AM

Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) Along with all the other tick borne diseases, I had never heard about this one until my ten year old Rottie died of it recently. Just another reason to keep your pet on preventative, but even with a tick treatment, this disease can be transmitted from the bite before the tick dies. Google it, keep an eye out for symptoms, and get it treated early to prevent the loss of a loved companion.


aly van dyke
8/29/2008 3:02:16 PM

When I was growing up, my grandma had a black, short-haired daschund. This dog, Weeny (I know, original, right?), was, without a doubt, my favorite thing on this earth until I was about six and found the Power Rangers. Weeny was also, without a doubt, the fattest dog I'd ever seen. And her favorite meals, to the chagrin of many dog-lovers out there, were what my grandma called "human food," namely chocolate, when she could get her little snout into it. So the cocoa bean mulch really concerned me, given that dogs are ornery and curiosity more often gets them into trouble than it does cats. I know cocoa mulch sounds exotic and fun, but if it’s at the risk of a dog like Weeny’s life, even if the dog isn’t yours, is this mulch really worth it? I think compromising with regular mulch and saving a few dogs’ lives would be worth the trade-off.






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