Educational Articles

Emergency Situations

  • Many people and pets are sensitive to the proteins contained in the saliva or venom of biting insects. The most common clinical signs associated with an insect bite reaction include swelling and redness at the site of the bite, hives or multiple red, raised swellings over the body, a swollen face or muzzle, difficulty breathing and vomiting. Some patients will progress to severe respiratory distress and anaphylactic shock. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and history. Treatment typically consists of removal of the stinger or other insect parts, followed by administration of anti-histamines and anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids. Future insect bites should be avoided because many reactions worsen with repeated exposure to the offending proteins or toxins.

  • The lens is the transparent structure within the eye that focuses light on the retina, the area where vision occurs. It is a flattened sphere held in place by tiny ligaments around its circumference.

  • Feline Fatty Liver Syndrome (FLS) is also known as feline hepatic lipidosis. This disease is unique to cats and is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats.

  • Metaldehyde toxicity occurs when a dog (or, less commonly, a cat) eats slug bait that contains metaldehyde. The signs of metaldehyde toxicity include vomiting, anxiety, ataxia (due to muscle incoordination), stiffness, muscle tremors, elevated heart rate and respiratory rate, increased salivation, and increased sensitivity to touch. These signs often progress to continuous muscle tremors and seizures. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and history. There is no antidote to metaldehyde; treatment is centered upon decontamination and supportive care. Prognosis is good, with aggressive treatment.

  • Mothballs are solid pesticides that slowly release a vapor to kill and repel moths, their larvae, and other insects from stored clothing and fabric. Mothballs are sometimes also used to repel snakes, mice, and other animals, although this use is not recommended and can be harmful to pets, children, and the environment.

  • Besides making your dinner taste great, onions, garlic, leeks and chives can instigate severe medical problems for your dog. Although clinical signs of illness can occur soon after your dog eats the veggies, symptoms may take days to appear.

  • House paint, art paint, varnishes and other decorative or protective solvents come in many varieties… and most are dangerous to dogs and cats. Water-based paints, the most common, include latex, tempera, and poster paints.

  • Penetrating wounds such as sticks, arrows, or gunshots can be life-threatening though the outer appearance of a wound may not seem as severe. Take immediate steps to calm your pet, stabilize any foreign body that is present, and get your pet to your veterinarian. Surgery may be necessary after your pet is stabilized.

  • When a feather is pulled out or falls out during a normal moult, a new feather is stimulated to start growing right away. As the new feather (pin or blood feather) emerges from the skins feather follicle, it looks like a spike, quill or much like the feather shaft itself.

  • Many birds naturally eat plants as part of their diet. Some birds will chew on and possibly consume plants out of curiosity or in the course of play. Birds left unsupervised out of their cage may easily encounter plants kept around the house and in the garden.