What are the biggest hazards for cats over spring time?

Springtime normally brings an increased number of cases to our out of hours clinics.  Bright sunny days mean that people and their pets are out and about enjoying the weather.  We tend to see more cat fights, dog bites, allergic reactions and occasionally cases of heat stroke.

We’ve drawn up a list of some of the main hazards to look out for.

If you’re worried your dog is sick or injured as a result of any of these, please contact your vet as soon as possible, or find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or Vets Now 24/7 hospital.

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs.  The amount of theobromine differs in the different types of chocolate (dark chocolate has the most in it).  Find out more about the dangers of chocolate to dogs

2. Raisins

 Don’t forget that goodies such as hot-cross buns contain raisins.  Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas can cause renal (kidney) failure in dogs.

3. Spring flowers

Daffodils can be toxic, most often after ingestion of the bulb but occasionally after ingestion of flower heads and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy that in severe cases may result in dehydration, tremors and convulsions. These signs can be seen from 15 minutes to one day following ingestion. Other spring flowers, such as Crocuses and Tulips, are considered to be less toxic but seek veterinary advice if you are worried your pet has ingested them.

4. Ivy

Dogs that eat ivy (Hedera helix) commonly develop salivation (dribbling), vomiting or diarrhoea. In more severe cases you may see blood in the vomitus or bloody faeces.  Contact with ivy can cause skin reactions, conjunctivitis, itchiness, and skin rashes. Note that “Poison Ivy” is a different plant – Rhus radicans.

5. Bluebells

All parts of the plant are poisonous to dogs.  Signs are related to stomach, intestine and heart function and include vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort. There is a risk of heart beat irregularity (arrhythmia) if a significant quantity be ingested.

6. Adder bites

The European adder is the only venomous snake native to the UK. Adults are around 50-60cm long and are characterised by having a black / brown zigzag pattern along their back and V shaped marking on the back of the head. They are commonly found on dry, sandy heaths, sand dunes, rocky hillsides, moorland and woodland edges. They generally only bite when provoked by humans, dogs or cats and bites rarely occur during the winter when the snake is hibernating. Bites are more frequent in the spring and summer and result in local swelling.  The swelling may spread and can be severe. Other signs include pale mucous membranes, bruising, salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, restlessness, drowsiness and lethargy. Eventually animals may collapse, have blood clotting problems, tremors or convulsions. Seek veterinary attention quickly if your dog is bitten.  Anti-venom is used if available (although it can be difficult to obtain) and if considered appropriate.

7. Anti-histamines

From spring to early summer the pollen count is at its highest and this is when owners are likely to be stocking up on their anti-histamine medication.  Ingestion of large amounts of anti-histamines results in signs that may include vomiting, lethargy, incoordination, wobbliness and tremors. Signs develop within 4-7 hours of ingestion. Some dogs may become hyperactive and hyper-excitable and if large amounts of anti-histamine have been eaten convulsions, respiratory depression and coma may occur.

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