As the holiday season approaches, thoughts of pumpkin pies, gingerbread houses and sugar plum ferries occupy a lot of our free time. I’ve heard many people joke about going into a diabetic coma after taking in too much sugar. You may not realize that, although it’s not quite as straightforward as that, our canine and feline family members too can have serious consequences from an imbalance in blood sugar levels.
By Emilio E. DeBess, DVM, MPVM, State Public Health Veterinarian, Oregon Department of Human Services
FDA warns about feeding your pet a raw-food diet
In a new study, compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, the FDA said “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning pet owners about feeding their animals raw diets, warning that those who do may have a higher risk of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.”
Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze, has long been known to be toxic to household pets. Exposure is usually from puddles under a leaking car or a container in the garage that has been spilled or chewed up by a pet. The minimum lethal dose is only around 2.5 tablespoons for a 20 lb dog or just one teaspoon in a seven-pound cat. The toxic component is not the ethylene glycol itself, but rather the metabolites that form when it is broken down by the liver.
Quite a few years ago, I evaluated a one year old schnauzer for an acute onset of vomiting and diarrhea. He had no known medical problems and had not eaten anything unusual that could have caused his symptoms. The owner allowed me to do a complete workup, including x-rays and bloodwork.
A week ago, we alerted referring veterinarians in the area to an uptick in the number of parvovirus cases we were seeing at ACCES’ two referral hospitals (Seattle and Renton). Word quickly spread to the greater community setting off an unexpected scare.
Parvovirus is a virus that causes vomiting and severe diarrhea. In addition, it can suppress the immune system and put animals at risk for secondary infections. It mainly affects puppies and can cause death if not treated appropriately. With treatment, which includes intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics and plasma in severe cases, survival is 90%. Adults dogs can get the infection as well but often are less sick or may shed virus and not have clinical signs.