Feed on

Nicotine cartridges/filters can contain anywhere from 6-36 mg of nicotine–about the same amount as in a cigarette. The bottles of liquid used to recharge the cartridges (e-liquid, e-juice) contain up to 36 mg nicotine/mL and come in 10-30 mL bottles (30 mL was largest I was able to find), so can contain as much as 1080 mg of nicotine. So the bottles of the e-liquid could easily be fatal if the contents were ingested. The LD50 of nicotine in dogs is 9 mg/kg (lower in humans) so even a 10 mL bottle of 6 mg/mL (the lowest nicotine strength) could easily prove fatal if the contents were ingested.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ivy died within hours of chewing on a bottle of nicotine-laced liquid used to fuel e-cigarette
Dog started frothing at the mouth and vomiting after consuming liquid

By Anna Edwards

A dog has become the first pet in Britain to be killed by an electronic cigarette.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ivy died within hours of chewing on a bottle of nicotine-laced liquid used to fuel the smoke-free vaporizer.

Her owner Keith Sutton, 56, bought the device in a bid to cut down on his tobacco habit.

The battery-powered aid works by heating up the ‘e-liquid’ into a gas which the user inhales like real cigarette smoke.

Coach driver Mr. Sutton, of Rexroth, Cornwall, had left a bottle of the liquid on his dining room table when 14-week-old Ivy bit into it.

She immediately started frothing at the mouth and vomiting and Keith rushed her to the vets, where she was given huge doses of steroids, but died from nicotine poisoning early the next day.

There are currently warnings on the bottles but grandfather Keith wants to see e-liquid become a controlled substance before it kills another animal.

He said: ‘I peered round the corner from the kitchen and the dog was on the floor with the bottle of e-liquid.

‘She had chewed it and pierced the plastic container. She had only ingested the tiniest amount but by the time I picked her up she was frothing at the mouth.

Keith Sutton says Staffordshire bull terrier Ivy died of nicotine poisoning hours after chewing on the E-cigarette

nicotine is a highly poisonous substance that can kill both humans and animals.

In the Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates when one character, Sir Bartholomew Strange, was poisoned with nicotine, a colorless, odorless liquid lethal at just a few drops.

Toxicology experts warned that drinking the equivalent of just two bottles of e-liquid could deliver enough nicotine to kill a human.

There were nine UK deaths from nicotine poisoning in the three decades leading up to the 1970s, when nicotine was available in liquid form in insecticides.

The lowest fatal dose was between 50 and 60 milligrams – equivalent to smoking about 20 to 30 cigarettes or drinking two high strength bottles of e-liquid containing 24 milligrams of nicotine each.

Nicotine poisoning induces vomiting, muscles spasms and seizures. In fatal cases it interferes with the central nervous system and causes respiratory failure.

It is also highly poisonous to cats and dogs. Common signs to watch for include vomiting, abnormal heart rate, incoordination, tremors, weakness and collapse.

Nicotine is a rapid acting toxin and, often, pets will show signs of poisoning within 1 hour of ingestion, the Pet Poison helpline warns.

The toxic dose for nicotine in pets is 1/2-1 mg per pound of pet body weight, while the lethal dose is 4 mg per pound of pet body weight.

So a 40lb dog would get very sick after eating one cigarette – but would need 11 cigarettes to die from nicotine poisoning.

Pets ingesting small amounts of nicotine often vomit spontaneously and may self-decontaminate.

However, even when vomiting occurs, veterinary evaluation after ingestion is typically recommended so that the heart rate, blood pressure and neurological status can be monitored.

Treatments including additional decontamination, IV fluids and medications to slow the heart rate, decrease the blood pressure or stop tremors may be needed.

‘I attempted to cool her down with cold water but I don’t know any dog first aid, I just did whatever came into my mind.

‘Her tongue was blue, her lips were blue. She messed herself, then she vomited.

‘My partner was on the phone to the vet who said get her here as quickly as possible.

‘When we got there the vet went on to the veterinary websites but couldn’t find anything about nicotine poisoning.

‘He eventually went away and got an old book on poisons. He shook his head and told us it wasn’t good.

‘He gave her an injection of steroids, then put her on a drip and promised to phone us every couple of hours through the night.

‘They said the first 12 hours were critical and we received a call after 12 and a half hours saying she had passed away. Her lungs and heart had given up.’

Keith – who uses an eKarma Vaporizer fuelled by k-Liquid – is one of an estimated four million people in Britain who have turned to electronic cigarettes.

The World Health Organization has refused to endorse the device until long-term trials prove they are safe.

The e-liquid itself contains chemicals such as propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol 400 which are mixed with vegetable glycerin and various flavourings, plus varying amounts of nicotine.

While it would take a large dose of nicotine to harm a human, experts say a dog would only have to ingest 10 milligrams per kilogram of animal weight to be in danger.

There have been reports of pets fatally chewing on tobacco but Ivy is believed to be Britain’s first canine victim of e-liquid.

Keith wants to see much clearer health warnings on bottles and wants them sold as controlled substances like medicines or alcohol.

Ivy, who came from an RSPCA rescue centre, was treated at Animal Veterinary Services in Hayle, Cornwall.

Vets there confirmed that Ivy’s symptoms, which included vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty in breathing and heart problems, are all typical of nicotine poisoning.

A spokesperson said: ‘The dog started to get a reaction after 30 seconds of piercing the bottle.

‘We managed to keep her going for a few hours, but she died in the early hours of Monday morning.

‘The fluid is potentially fatal for dogs and they are perfectly capable of putting a tooth through the packaging.’

Keith’s vaporizer was a Falcon electronic cigarette, produced by a different company, UK-based Prestige Vaping.

Neither company has responded to a request for comment.

Nicotine is also a highly toxic to humans. Professor Alastair Hay, professor of toxicology at Leeds University, said: “Make no mistake nicotine is a potent and highly toxic chemical that kills.

‘When you smoke cigarettes the concentration of nicotine is small and delivered over a period of time so the compound is metabolized and broken down in the body.

‘But when it was used in insecticides there were quite a few cases of humans dying as a result of drinking it, either deliberately or accidentally.

‘Certainly these bottles of e-liquid should come with clear warning labels and they should be kept well away from children.’

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, added:

‘Nicotine is a toxic substance and poisonous to children.

‘This is why it is important to treat electric cigarettes and its components – including the e-liquid – in the same way as you would household chemicals, by storing them out of the sight and reach of children in a locked cupboard.

‘If you believe that your child has ingested nicotine, seek medical advice immediately.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2561930/Pet-dog-animal-Britain-die-acute-nicotine-poisoning-chewing-owners-e-cigarette.html#ixzz35b0xcUd6

There was an article that came out about a month ago that has been picked up by major newspapers and websites across the nation. It deals with a Veterinarian that was keeping a few dogs for “experimentation” according to the article. That wasn’t necessarily true, but he was keeping them alive AFTER being paid to euthanize them for a family. he was keeping one of the dogs as a blood donor apparently, which in no way condones what he was doing, I’m just explaining that he wasn’t experimenting on them.  Now this is where things get tricky.

While 99% of animals that are brought in to be euthanized are sick and or dying, there are plenty of them that are brought in because people are cleaning house. WHAT?!!  That’s right, they are no longer wanted at home ( it’s Thanksgiving, the kids are coming, we’re getting new furniture- yes I have heard all of these and worse), and some owners apparently feel it’s better to have them put down (killed in this situation) then be abandoned at a shelter or re-homed. Don’t ask me why as I would never be able to understand that kind of a mind-set.  But I digress.

Now in situations such as this, I will tell you that SOME, not all, but SOME veterinarians will do one of the following:

1. Keep it as a pet at their own home

2. Re-home it to someone that will never cross paths with that other person.

Now I’m talking about fairly young to middle aged HEALTHY pets. Just disposable to some. (!!!!!)

But never in my 42 years as a Vet Tech have I ever known a vet that will keep one for a blood donor. And in these rare cases where the pet is kept- many of the clients were asked if that was okay and they were fine with it. So this situation is NOT common (the Texas one) and I don’t want people freaking out about it. NEVER have I known a vet that would keep a sick animal for any reason at all.

First of all YOU are in control of what happens to YOUR pet. If your pet is SICK and there is NO hope of a recovery- then sometimes you just need to let go. BUT, and I emphasize this- YOU are always allowed to be WITH your pet during the procedure. IF they try and take the pet into the back to do this- stop them and go somewhere else.

If it’s too hard on you to be with your pet in their final moments- BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU that CAN handle it. I  strongly urge you to do this. DO NOT let others dictate what and where this happens to your pet. Now I might have some vets mad at me but it’s YOUR right and while I KNOW that 99.9% of all vets are ethical and would never NOT put your pet down,  You should, at the very least, request to spend a few moments with your pet after the procedure is over. That way YOU know that your beloved pet is out of pain and is indeed gone. No blood donor, no experimentation going on.

I just wanted to give everyone a shout out on this terrible ordeal. Here is the link to the article.


So rest assured that this is very, very rare and that most of us will never meet a vet like this. And I am very happy about that as well!!

Pro-Pet LLC Recalls a Limited Number of Dry Dog and Cat Foods Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 5, 2014 – Pro-Pet LLC, St. Marys, Ohio, has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of Dry Dog and Cat Foods for possible Salmonella contamination. A single field test indicated products manufactured during a two day period, on a single production line may have the potential for Salmonella contamination. Pro-Pet LLC is voluntarily recalling the potentially impacted products made during this timeframe. There have been no reports of illness related to this product to date.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.


Best By

Lot Code

UPC Number

40 lb Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 2A 1219033878
40 lb Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food 05 06 14

096 13 SM L2 1A

18 lb Hubbard Life Cat Stars Cat Food 05 06 14

096 13 SM L2 1A

40 lb Hubbard Life Maintenance Dog Food 05 06 14

096 13 SM L2 2A

15 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14

096 13 SM L2 1A

40 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A 7065407713
40 lb Joy Combo Cat Food 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 2A 7065407713
20 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14

097 13 SM L2 2A

40 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14

097 13 SM L2 2A

40 lb QC Plus Adult Dog Food 05 07 14 097 13 SM L2 1A 2351780104

 These products were distributed through select retailers, distributors and on-line consumer purchases in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia

No other products/lot numbers are affected by this recall.

Customers should immediately discontinue use of any impacted product and contact Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190 for disposition.

For more information on the recall, customers can contact the customer service line for Pro-Pet at 1-888-765-4190. Customer service representatives will be available Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm CT.

An Ohio pet food manufacturer announced a recall on Thursday over salmonella contamination.
Pro-Pet LLC, which makes Hubbard Life, Joy Combo and QC Plus pet food, said it is pulling dry food sold nationwide after a lab test found the bacteria. Salmonella can harm both pets and people who handle the food and don’t thoroughly wash their hands afterwards.

Food safety

The Oregonian’s database of food safety news and updated federal recall warnings.

Here are the recalled products: Hubbard Life Happy Hound Dog Food, Hubbard Life Cat Stars Cat Food, Hubbard Life Maintenance Dog Food, Joy Combo Cat Food andQC Plus Adult Dog Food.

The recalled products were sold online and to retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Infected people can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms. Sick pets can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

— Lynne Terry

VP Client Information Sheets
By VIN Community Contributors


Authored by: Carlye Rose DVM, Dip. ABVP


Ladybug Graham, a Norwich terrier, died at the age of 5 months after ingesting sugarless gum with xylitol. She weighed 9.8 pounds. Only one wrapper was found. Her family created a website at www.ladybugslegacy.org to inform pet owners of the dangers of xylitol.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a white, crystalline sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute sweetener in many products. In the United States, the use of xylitol has grown rapidly over the last few years. It is increasingly found in sugar-free gum, candy, and foods. It is also available in granulated form for baking. It is popular among diabetics and those on low-carbohydrate diets. It also is increasingly being included in toothpastes and other oral hygiene products due to its anti-cavity properties.

How is Xylitol Different in Humans than Dogs?

In humans, xylitol is absorbed slowly and has little to no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels. However, in dogs, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. It then acts as a strong promoter of insulin release, which causes profound hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In dogs, xylitol can also cause liver failure, bleeding, and death.

Xylitol’s effect on insulin and blood glucose in cats is not clear at this time.

How much Xylitol is Toxic to my Pet?

It takes very little xylitol to cause signs of toxicity in dogs. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has reported that dogs ingesting greater than 0.1 g/kg of xylitol should be considered at risk for hypoglycemia. At doses exceeding 0.5 g/kg, there is risk of liver failure and other more serious effects.

It is often difficult to determine exactly how many grams of xylitol were ingested. Although the xylitol content is more commonly listed on food products, this is not the case with many chewing gums. In general, we estimate that one or two pieces of gum could cause hypoglycemia in a 20 lb dog. For granulated (baking) xylitol, one cup weighs about 190 grams.

What are the Symptoms? What Tests can be done to Diagnose Xylitol Toxicity?

Diagnosis is made on history of ingestion, symptoms, and blood work. Because of the rapid progression of the toxic effect, testing for xylitol in the blood is not realistic.

  • Vomiting is often the first symptom
  • Signs of hypoglycemia (lethargy, weakness) occur rapidly
  • Diarrhea, collapse and seizures may be seen.

Dogs that develop acute liver failure may not show signs of hypoglycemia immediately after ingestion of xylitol.

What other Toxins Should be Ruled Out?

Other causes of low blood sugar should be ruled out (overdose of insulin, young or toy breed – related hypoglycemia, etc). In addition, many other toxins can cause liver disease (sago palms, hepatotoxic mushrooms, Tylenol ®, aflatoxins, other drugs). Infectious liver diseases, shunts, and cancer must be considered as well.
Is Xylitol Poisoning Treatable?

  • All xylitol exposures should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. This is because of xylitol’s rapid absorption, which carries a risk of severe hypoglycemia, liver failure, and even death.
  • There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity.
  • Remember that even tiny doses—1 to 2 pieces of xylitol-containing gum– can be toxic to a dog.
  • Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally unless directed by your veterinarian.

What is the Prognosis?

The prognosis is good for uncomplicated hypoglycemia when treatment can be instituted promptly. Liver failure and bleeding disorders generally carry a poor prognosis. Dogs that develop stupor or coma have a grave prognosis.

Is it an Epidemic?

“In the last few years, xylitol has grown from being a rare (or non-existent) problem to being a very common one. The dictionary defines epidemic as ‘affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time’…so… technically you can call xylitol an epidemic.” – Eric Dunayer, MS, VMD, DABT, DABVT; ASPCA APCC; VIN, 8/16/2008

The number of products containing xylitol has been steadily rising over the last few years, with a resultant surge in xylitol cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Chart prepared by Carlye Rose, D.V.M., Diplomate A.B.V.P.

Xylitol poisoning is preventable. Xylitol-containing foods or gums should not be consumed in pet-owning households.

Date Published: 10/29/2008 7:05:00 PM



October 23, 2013

Nearly 600 U.S. pet deaths associated with Chinese jerky treats; cause is still elusive

Australian research blames unknown toxin; FDA encourages veterinarians to submit reports, data and urine samples from suspected cases.

In the wake of an Australian Veterinary Journal1 article outlining a study of dogs exposed to dried chicken treats produced in China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it has received a total of approximately 3,000 reports of pet illness possibly related to the consumption of jerky treats, including 580 deaths.

The FDA has issued several warnings about jerky products imported from China since it first received reports of pet illness in 2007. However, despite ongoing efforts to identify a cause of illness, testing has been inconclusive.

Here’s what the agency does know: According to data collected since 2007, 60 percent of the reports involve gastrointestinal illness (with or without elevated liver enzymes) and about 30 percent relate to kidney or urinary signs. The remaining 10 percent of cases involve a variety of other signs, including convulsions, tremors, hives and skin irritation. About 135 of the case reports involving kidney and urinary signs were diagnosed as Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disease in which the proximal tubule doesn’t work properly and some nutrients are lost into the urine instead of being reabsorbed.

Despite the elusive search for a cause, the FDA says the rate of complaints associated with jerky treats dropped sharply after several well-known brands were removed from the market in January 2013. At that time, a study conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing detected low levels of antibiotic residues in those products, prompting the recall, but the FDA believes the drop in complaints is linked to decreased availability of jerky treats rather than antibiotic residue. And new reports do continue to come in.

As the FDA has been investigating the issue, other organizations have been conducting their own research. In September, the Australian Veterinary Journal published one of the largest chicken jerky studies to date. The clinical signs focused on in the retrospective study, conducted at the University of Queensland, centered on acquired proximal renal tubulopathy. Researchers collected and analyzed data from 108 dogs diagnosed with glucosuria with blood glucose <10mmol/L and fed KraMar Supa Naturals Chicken Breast Strips. As in the U.S. illness reports, proximal renal tubulopathy in Australian dogs was reported with increased frequency beginning Sept. 18, 2007. The first case was reported two weeks after KraMar Supa Naturals Chicken Breast Strips, made in China, were introduced to the Australian market.

In the investigation, researchers analyzed signalment, presenting signs, history of feeding treats, results of urinalysis and blood tests, treatment and time to resolution of clinical signs. Study authors concluded from the 17-month study period that the treats likely contained a toxin targeting the proximal renal tubules. However, a toxin has not yet been identified. In response to their findings, the study’s authors emphasize the importance of taking a careful dietary history—including treats—and performing urinalysis in sick dogs.

The FDA is also encouraging veterinarians—through a “Dear Veterinarian” letter2—to report cases suspected of jerky treat-related illness and to collect the following data:

> how long the owner has been feeding the treat

> what else the pet has been eating (all treats, human food, and pet food), including how much is given daily of all items

> bloodwork values, especially for liver and kidney

> urinalysis results.

The agency is also requesting that veterinarians obtain a urine sample (10 ml if possible) from dogs or cats that may have illness associated with jerky treats and freeze it for Fanconi syndrome testing by the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). The FDA says this testing will allow it to get a better idea of how many of the suspected cases involve Fanconi syndrome.

The FDA has also developed a fact sheet3 for concerned pet owners. Officials continue to caution pet owners that reports of illness from jerky treats are not limited to chicken products but also duck and sweet potato jerky products and jerky-wrapped rawhide treats. Consumers should also be aware that while reports seem to be linked to jerky treats sourced from China, manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.

Although the FDA has stopped short of issuing a recall for implicated jerky products without a definitive cause of illness, it cautions pet owners about the potential dangers and continues to remind them that treats are not needed for a balanced diet. In the meantime, the investigation continues.

“As veterinarians, animal scientists and pet owners, we strive to make sure that the products FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine regulates are safe, effective and properly manufactured,” an FDA release states. “We understand the love and devotion pets provide, and we are determined to find the answer to this mystery.”


  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23980829
  2. www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm371453.htm
  3. www.fda.gov/downloads/newsevents/newsroom/factsheets/ucm371715.pdf

This is new from Dr. Jon of petplace.com:

Summer is your dog’s favorite time for road trips! But is it safe to take your dog in the car without a safety restraint? Studies say no.

We would never put our children in the car without a seatbelt. Why should our dogs be any different?

I’ve seen trauma cases where dogs sustained serious injuries in a crash. The most tragic case was a little Jack Russell Terrier named Maxi. After the crash she jumped out of the car window and was hit by on-coming traffic. Maxi died and her parents blamed themselves. They never thought a safety restraint was necessary – until it was too late.

Safety restraints can save your dog’s life in a crash… but 84% of pet owners don’t use them.

Today I’m going to give you the facts so you will take the necessary steps to protect your dog.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a car crash. And a recent AAA study shows pets are definitely a distraction. This study of dog owners found:

  • 65% were distracted at least once while driving with a dog
  • 31% became distracted by a dog climbing into their lap
  • 23% used their arms to restrain dogs while applying the brake
  • 20% let their dog sit on their lap while driving
  • 19% took one hand off the wheel to prevent pets from climbing into the front seat

One of the main reasons people don’t think about using pet safety restraints is that they don’t understand the dangers. Here’s why you should never give your dog free reign of the car.

  • Airbags are designed to protect people, not pets. Never allow your dog to ride in the front seat. A dog sitting on the driver’s lap could be stuck between the driver and the airbag if it deploys. And front airbags can be deadly to a dog – even if the dog is restrained.
  • Unrestrained pets become forceful projectiles. If you crash at 30mph your unrestrained 10-lb dog becomes a flying projectile exerting 300 pounds of force. At 50mph, your dog will fly forward with 833 pounds of force. And at only 30mph an 80-lb dog can hit passengers or the windshield with over a ton of force!
  • Threats to emergency responders. After a crash, frightened, injured or protective dogs may bite anyone that comes near.

  • Running from the car. Frightened by the crash, your dog may instinctively run from the car to be hit by oncoming traffic or cause another accident.

This is a serious safety issue. In fact, soon pet safety restraints may not be a “choice” – they may be the law.

Many states already have pet vehicle safety laws and others are following suit. States like Arizona, Florida, California, Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey issue fines of $250-$1,000 for driving with a pet on your lap. In Hawaii, driving with unrestrained pets is forbidden. If your state has no pet vehicle safety law, it could be coming soon. But don’t wait for legislation to start using a pet safety restraint. Now that you understand the dangers, act now. The risks are simply too great.

It’s our job to keep our pets safe – and that includes vehicle safety. I believe this issue is so critical that I’m giving you a special incentive to get your pet safety restraint right now.

Click through this email and you’ll save 10% off the Solvit Dog Vehicle Harness at 1-800-PetMeds. I’ll also send you a $20 gift card for PetProductAdvisor.com good for any product. Your $20 Gift Card will be sent within 7 days of your Solvit Dog Vehicle Harness purchase.

The Solvit Dog Vehicle Harness quickly connects to your car’s seatbelt to restrain your dog during sudden stops and to limit your dog’s movements. The Solvit Dog Vehicle Harness fits dogs from 6 to 120 pounds. It’s easy to use and works in any vehicle. Please take advantage of this special offer to buy the Solvit Dog Vehicle Harness.  It could save your dog’s life – and yours.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon

Another day, another new infectious disease. In the midst of a record-breaking West Nile virus outbreak that has claimed 66 lives and infected almost 1,600 in 2012, we have a new threat from my least favorite external parasite, the tick. This newly discovered virus dubbed the “Heartland virus” is yet another reason to protect you and your pet from ticks this fall.

The CDC is reporting that in 2009 two Missouri farmers fell sick after being bitten by ticks.  One man reported a single bite while the second estimated about 20 tick bites per day during a two-week period. Both initially experienced memory loss, decreased appetite, fever, diarrhea, and low platelet and white blood cell counts, all consistent with a relatively common tick-borne bacterial infection, ehrlichiosis. The first patient spent 10 days in the hospital while the other patient stayed 12 days. Both were treated with appropriate antibiotics but failed to get better. Eventually both improved but for one of the men the symptoms lingered. That’s what ultimately attracted the attention of the CDC.

The first patient, who recalled only a single tick bite, continued to have memory problems, decreased energy levels, and frequent headaches for the next two years. No one knew why. Meanwhile, a new tick-borne virus was identified in China late last year. Known as SFTSV, this infection shared the same clinical signs as those reported in the Missouri farmers. This led CDC researcher Dr. Laura McMullan to reopen those cases to search for a connection. Was it the same virus? A mutation? She needed to know because the Chinese were reporting mortality rates with their new disease as high as 12%.

Turns out she was right. The virus is related to SFSTV and demonstrates how little we understand about the unseen world of tiny ticks, parasitic insects, and the diseases they may carry. In the New England Journal of Medicine article in which the findings were published, the authors warn, “This virus could be a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized.” Another good reason to avoid tick bites.

The Heartland virus takes its name because it is believed to be spread by ticks common in the Southeast. The lone star tick is the most common species of tick in Missouri. It’s also a common tick in North Carolina, the Southeast, and along the entire Atlantic coast. To date no ticks have been found carrying the Heartland virus. It’s unknown if the new disease can be spread from one person to another or even if the disease is definitively spread by tick bites or if another insect or factor is involved. The CDC published its early findings in order to help any patients bitten by ticks that fail to improve after antibiotic treatment.  At this point Heartland virus is not believed to carry a significant risk or death or serious illness. It does not appear to affect animals.

Now is the time to protect both you and your pet from ticks. Talk to your vet about a safe and effective tick preventive for your dog and cat. Wear long pants, use a tick repellent containing at least 20% DEET, and avoid high grass and wooded areas whenever possible to reduce your risk of tick bites.


Heartworm Disease in Dog

Sorry for the long absence but I have just been busy with life. I lost my sister recently and had other losses as well. Since I last posted in here I lost my beloved Annie Mouse on Nov. 26th, 2011. She lost her battle with a tumor on her leg that started as scar tissue and then morphed into cancer that eventually ended up in her lungs. She died peacefully at home surrounded by people who loved her and cared for her throughout her lifetime. To say I miss her is an understatement but I am enjoying being dog-free at this time. I still have my daughter’s cat Zinny, who for all practical purposes is my cat.

So rather then me rambling on here is a new article on heartworm disease in dogs. DO NOT FORGET THAT CATS CAN GET THIS DREADED DISEASE AS WELL. And they are much harder to treat for it. Most cats just drop dead when they get heartworms so PREVENTION is imperative in cats!

Dr. Dunn runs a very comprehensive website online called the PetMD so I thought that I would post his latest information about Canine Heartworm Disease on here for you. Spring and summer are always the worst time for mosquitoes but ALL year long dogs and CATS can get infected by mosquitoes carrying infective larvae. Never, ever take your pets off of heartworm prevention, especially when the treatment drugs are very hard to get now.

Considering the cost of treatment vs. the cost of monthly medication there should be no hesitation to keep your pets on this life-saving drug.

Here is Dr. T.J. Dunn, Jr. DVMs, article:

Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Heartworms in Dogs

By T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM

In many North American regions April is the time of the year when veterinarians begin to check dogs (and cats) for exposure to heartworm organisms that may have occurred during the previous mosquito season. If your pet was infected last mosquito season, evidence of the disease may be detectable then — though it really is dependent of the time in which your dog was infected. Like any other pathogenic situation, the earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment is begun, the better the chances your pet will recover properly. Give your veterinarian a call early this spring so that your dog can be tested for heartworm disease. Current heartworm tests are more accurate than what was available only a few years ago.


The Life Cycle of the Heartworm


The key to understanding heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) and how they affect your pet’s health is understanding the worm’s life cycle. Once this is understood then it will make sense why it is wiser to prevent a heartworm infection than wait and treat the worm once it is present.


The heartworm goes through a total of four molts to mature into an adult worm. The first two occur inside the mosquito and the next two occur inside the final host. So how does the heartworm get into your pet?


Heartworm disease begins with an infected animal, known as the source, that has circulating microfilaria in its blood. A mosquito stops by for a meal and inadvertently sucks up a number of circulating microfilaria in the blood. Once inside the mosquito’s body, the microfilaria go through two molts over 14 days or longer depending on the environment’s temperature. They go through their first two molts and change from an L1 to an L2 and then an L2 to an L3 (third stage of development of the larva).


It is an L3 that they are able to migrate into the mosquito’s salivary glands, which enables them to burrow into your pet though a mosquito’s small bite wound. Once inside an animal (host) where it continues development, the heartworm takes at least 6 to 7 months to go through the last two molts and to become sexually mature before the infection can be detected by a Heartworm test.


The L3 larva goes through its first molt to the L4 within the first 15 days and as early as 2-5 days after infection. The second molt from the L4 to the L5 occurs within the next 2 months. The L5 larva is considered a juvenile adult and works its way through the host’s tissues all the way to the heart as early as 70 days after first entering the host. The majority of L5 heartworm larvae arrive in the heart by 90 days, where they stay and grow rapidly in length and size. It will continue to live in the heart until it dies, typically between 5-7 years.


The heartworms actually continue to grow in size after reaching sexual maturity (about three months after entering the hear) and the females start to pass microfilaria into the blood. This is why some pets are infected with numerous worms. The mass of twisted and intertwined heartworms in dogs can serve as a significant mechanical blockage to the normal flow of blood. In fact, adult female worms have been known to grow up to 14 inches long; males, meanwhile, are generally shorter.


Think of a garden hose. If pieces of debris block the hose, pressure builds up due to the obstruction of the flow of water. This is what happens to the heart and blood vessels when more and more heartworms congregate within the right ventricle. The smaller your pet (the host) is, the fewer worms it takes to cause a problem.


Once the heartworm becomes an adult it will continue to produce young for many years in the dog (a shorter duration for cats and other animals, which are not the usual host for the worm). Adults have been documented to live around 7 years in dogs (2-3 years in cats).


This horrific display completes the normal life cycle of the heartworm.


Another factor is some animals develop something similar to an allergy to the heartworms, or to the microfilaria, which results in the occult heartworm infections and can cause varying signs similar to allergies or asthma. This more elusive kind of infestation occurs most often in the cat. It is not uncommon for infected cats to suddenly die from the effects of just a few worms.


Signs of Heartworms in Dogs


Two major mechanisms result in the signs of heartworms in dogs. The first is due to the damage the worms cause to the arteries in the lungs (called the pulmonary arteries). The second is the mechanical obstruction of blood flow that results from the inflammation and the number of heartworms present.


When a dog is first infested with heartworm there are no visible or detectable signs. In fact, even a blood test will not detect heartworms initially. The changes in dogs begin when during the final molt of the heartworm larvae; it is then that the immature L5 larvae arrive in the right ventricle and neighboring blood vessels.


Within days, the artery lining is damaged. The body responds by inducing inflammation of the artery, called endarteritis, and other inflammation in the area to try to heal the damage.  Unfortunately, the heartworms cause damage at a rate faster than the body can heal.


Over time, the arteries develop certain characteristics that are typical of heartworm disease; often these changes can be seen on X-rays. The vessels become tortuous and dilated. Blood clots and aneurysms are a common side effect, and complete blockage of small blood vessels can occur.


The blood then re-routes to non-worm burdened arteries. This results in complete and partial blockage of blood vessels, causing fluid to accumulate around these blood vessels in the lungs and reducing the effectiveness of the lungs’ ability to oxygenate the blood.


Due to the inflammation, blood vessel obstruction and fluid accumulation, your pet will begin to cough. S/he may display exercise intolerance, nosebleeds and shortness of breath, as well as a type of pneumonia secondary to the increase in lung inflammation (called pulmonary eosinophilic granulomatosis).


As immature L5 worms continue to arrive and mature in the heart and lungs, your dog’s reactions become more significant and the signs worsen. Blood vessels and surrounding lung tissue are damaged, which increases the blood pressure (hypertension) in the right side of the heart and vena cava  — eventually causing heart failure. The severity depends on the number of heartworms present and the dog’s reaction to the worms.


Over time, the immune system enters into a state of overactivity. This puts extra proteins (in the form of antibodies) into circulation, which then settle in various bodily organs and cause inflammation, tissue damage and pain in areas such as the eye, kidney, and joints.


One of the most severe signs of heartworms in dogs (and cats) is called Caval Syndrome or Vena Cava Syndrome.  This is seen when there are large numbers of adult worms (usually around 100 or more) invade the heart. There is almost complete blockage of all blood flow.


Often there will be no signs of heart disease prior to the animal’s collapse. When fainting and collapse does occur, it is accompanied by severe shock, red blood cell destruction and often death within 1-2 days.


Sometimes the only chance for survival in these cases is for the veterinarian to surgically remove the heartworms from the heart through the jugular vein. If a sufficient number of heartworms can be removed to re-establish sufficient blood flow, there is a slim chance of survival.




Diagnosis of Heartworm in Dogs


Any patient presented because of the suspicion of heartworm disease will have a thorough medical history taken and undergo a complete physical exam, chest X-rays and routine blood chemistry tests.


The definitive diagnosis (proof of diagnosis) is usually made through the use of a heartworm antigen test. Whole blood is drawn from the dog, stabilized so it will not clot, and tested for the presence of a protein shed by the female worm as she passes microfilaria. This test is very reliable and will detect heartworm burdens of 2-3 worms or higher.


Another common test that can be used in conjunction with the antigen test is the Knotts test or Modified Knotts test. This is where whole blood is drawn and treated to cause the blood cells to break open. Then the sample is spun in a centrifuge, the top portion is poured off, and the bottom sediment is looked at under the microscope for the presence of microfilaria.


Usually once a diagnosis is made via a blood test, then X-rays, CBC (complete blood count), chemistry profile (evaluates the function of the body’s organs), and urinalysis are evaluated to determine the impact of the heartworm infection on the dog’s health. Pets displaying signs of heart disease side effects may have a complete cardiac evaluation, or evaluation of any other area of the body that is indicated by the initial test results.


Your dog will be staged for heartworm disease as part of the evaluation. It assists your veterinarian in choosing the best method of treatment for eliminating the heartworms:


Stage I

Lowest risk… young healthy dogs with minimal heartworm disease evident on X-rays and all other tests are normal.


Stage II

Moderately affected dogs… some coughing is noticed, some difficulty breathing, changes are seen on X-rays, and blood work may reveal some kidney and/or liver damage.


Stage III

Severely affected dogs…  the patient has weight loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, more damage visible on x-rays, and blood tests shows kidney and/or liver damage.


Stage IV

Vena Cava Syndrome or Caval Syndrome…  the dog is collapsing in shock, all of the above abnormalities are more intense and the dog is dying. They are initially treated with surgical jugular removal of some worms if possible. There is no guarantee this treatment will be successful and many patients with Caval Syndrome die in spite of treatment.


Treating Heartworms in Dogs


By now, it is clear that the treatment varies from dog to dog. Each animal’s personal condition is evaluated and the treatment protocol tailored to best effect a full recovery with the least side effects. Therefore, the following will be very general regarding the medications used for treating heartworm disease and the more common side effects. In the end, you and your veterinarian will choose the best treatment protocol for your pet.


Treatment involves two basic areas:

1.  Patient evaluation and stabilizing for treatment procedure.
2.  Elimination of all forms (adult, larvae, and microfilaria) of the heartworm parasite.


Patient evaluation and stabilization

The veterinarian evaluates the overall health of the animal by conducting X-rays and blood and heart tests, then determines how to best proceed with treatment. Part of this evaluation is staging the severity of the heartworm disease in the dog (see above).


Some animals need to have certain conditions stabilized before heartworm treatment can proceed. Those in third stage heartworm disease, for example, may require deliberation to decide if it is best to try surgical removal of some worms through the jugular vein before any other steps of parasite elimination are considered.


Elimination of the Heartworm Parasite

This is a two-step process. The adult worms and the microfilaria are eliminated separately. No one medication kills both. The adults are treated first, then a different treatment is used to kill the microfilaria and migrating larvae.


The most serious side effects usually occur with the treatment of the adult heartworms. As the worms die they lodge in the lung arteries and block even more blood vessels than before treatment.  Besides the usual inflammation caused by the presence of the worms, the inflammation is amplified due to the decomposing worms within the blood vessels.


The worm destruction also releases foreign substances in to the dog’s circulation as the worms break down and are eliminated from the dog by the immune systems. A large amount of inflammation and swelling generally occurs during this period.


Before treatment begins, it is very important to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about the treatment and what to expect. Some veterinarians will keep the dogs in the hospital during treatments for observation. Your doctor will make the decisions on an individual basis regarding what would be best for your dog.


The prescription medications used to treat the adult heartworms are called adulticides. The two adulticides used most commonly are derivatives of arsenic. It is not known exactly how these medications work to kill the heartworms. We just know they do work.


(NOTE: New medications may be available at any time; this listing of treatments may not be complete!)


The first one is thiacetarsamide. It has been used for at least half a century and is effective but can be toxic to the liver, kidneys, or cause severe irritation if the solution gets outside of the vein. The second medication is called Melarsomine dihydrochloride. With fewer side effects than thiacetarsamide, it is also an arsenic derivative and is administered by a careful intramuscular injection. It appears to be as effective and possibly more so in dogs than thiacetarsamide. It also has potential for significant side effects, so close veterinary monitoring is paramount.


Side effects from Melarsomine dihydrochloride can be immediate or take up to 2 weeks to appear. One aspect of the side effects are due to the destruction of the adult worms and the resulting blood vessel blockage and inflammation.


No matter what adulticide is used, it is very important to keep your dog very quiet and follow all of your doctor’s instructions. If you have any doubt about what to do or what is going on, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian ASAP.


As the inflammation peaks after adulticide treatment at 5-10 days, sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are used. However, some anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the effectiveness of the adulticide, so a veterinarian will recommend when it is best to use the anti-inflammatory medication, if at all. Some patients even require a second set of adulticide treatments since the very immature L5 heartworms and young female adults are more resistant to the treatment.


After the adulticide treatment and its side effects are resolved (usually at about 1 month post treatment), the microfilaria are then eliminated with one or another of two common heartworm preventives, Ivermectin or Mibemycin oxime. This will be done approximately one month after the adulticide treatment, depending on your veterinarian’s final decision regarding when it can be done.


Approximately four months after adulticide therapy, the dogs are retested for the presence of heartworm(s). This will determine if a second treatment is needed.


Heartworm Prevention in Dogs


It is much simpler to prevent heartworm disease from occuring than treating it afterward. The most common preventatives on the market kill the immature heartworm larvae before they molt to the L5 stage. As long as they are given to the dog every month (or according to the medication instructions), they are very effective in preventing heartworm infection and subsequent development of heartworm disease.


The choice of which preventative to use will be determined by a discussion with your veterinarian and what is best for your pet. Ideally puppies are started on monthly heartworm preventatives by 8 weeks of age. They should have a heartworm blood test at around 7 months of age and then be retested on an annual basis or according to the veterinarian’s recommendations.


The latest recommendation by the American Heartworm Society is once every 2-3 years in dogs that NEVER miss a dose of preventative. Any missed preventative doses should be communicated to your veterinarian and re-testing should be scheduled accordingly.




Saved by the Vet!!

Don’t let this happen to you and your dog:
How the Doctor Almost Killed Her Dog

The week before Christmas, I nearly killed my German shepherd.
Dexter with Ellie. Dexter in Central Park.

His name is Dexter, and he’s 11 years old. It all began on a Saturday morning in Central Park, when he ran in playful pursuit after a young Labrador retriever. Afterward he limped home.

Yet again his arthritic leg was acting up — he also tore a ligament a few years ago — and in an effort to save money and a trip to the veterinarian, I gave him some high-dose ibuprofen. It was in the medicine cabinet, left over from my son’s root canal.

I am a doctor — a people one — so I know quite a bit about medicine. Little did I know how little I knew about veterinary medicine.

Over the course of about a day and half, I had given Dexter three 600-milligram pills. He stopped limping, but also stopped eating, and for the first time in his life, he wet himself during the night. He then flooded the hallway with urine as he ran for the door in the morning.

That’s when I called the veterinarian’s office. It was Sunday, and I left a message saying that it wasn’t an emergency, but perhaps Dexter should be seen on Monday.

The phone rang immediately. It was my veterinarian. She told me to get Dexter to an animal hospital. Right away.

That’s when I learned that ibuprofen, the key ingredient in Motrin, poisons dogs. After a seven-day stay in the intensive care unit, ultrasound exams and a big bottle of take-home medicine, I brought Dexter home, along with a $3,000 vet bill.

My kids could not believe that I had given the family dog medicine made for humans. My 14-year-old son had the gall to make fun of me in front of his friends. “My dog was in the hospital. My mom almost killed him. Can you believe she gave him people medicine?”

But my dogs have had a long — and happier — history of human-drug therapy, all veterinarian-approved. Dexter also takes glucosamine, a supplement for arthritic joints that my mother swears by. He takes levothyroid for his slow-acting thyroid gland, precisely the same thing people take. And when he has digestive issues, which is fairly frequently, I reach for the Pepcid and Imodium, an over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine.

When my previous dog, a golden retriever, had lymphoma years ago, he was treated with the same chemotherapy regime given to human cancer patients.

And to be honest, I had never worried too much, because I thought so many of the pet dangers we hear about are exaggerated. Take chocolate: They say it kills dogs, but my dogs have always scarfed down the chocolate crumbs my kids have dropped without consequences.

Dr. Safdar Khan, senior director of toxicology research at the A.S.P.C.A. Animal Poison Control Center, which runs a 24-hour hot line for pet owners (1-888-426-4435; fees apply), urged pet owners, “You must, must check with your vet” before giving pets human medicines. Imodium, for example, can mask underlying causes of diarrhea, like parasites. And drugs like Pepto Bismol contain aspirin, he said, which can irritate a dog’s digestive tract and cause severe damage to cats.

But ibuprofen “is a double whammy,” said Dr. Amy Attas, my vet and founder of City Pets, a veterinary house call service. It can cause ulcers and bleeding in the intestinal tract and damage the kidneys. High doses can cause fatal renal failure.

There are many other canine poisons in the medicine cabinet as well. Acetaminophen, the key ingredient in Tylenol, is toxic to dogs and cats because the liver enzyme responsible for its breakdown works differently in cats and dogs than it does in people. One dose can kill a cat.

And as for chocolate, a few chocolate bits or a chocolate chip cookie is not going to kill your dog, Dr. Attas said. But lots of dark chocolate, the kind often used in baking, can be deadly. It has a caffeinelike ingredient that damages the canine central nervous system.

Other foods to avoid: grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure. A lot of onions — say, if a dog gets into the garbage and eats the onion-covered chicken — can prompt anemia, which can be fatal. And macadamia nuts can cause muscle tremors, weakness, vomiting and dangerously high body temperatures.

The worst, Dr. Attas said, are artificial sweeteners. Xylitol, the ingredient in most sugar-free gums, causes sugar levels to plummet in dogs, and may damage their livers too. In a paper in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association, researchers reported the death of four of eight dogs that had eaten xylitol-laden desserts.

Dr. Attas also warned that Easter lilies are poisonous to cats.

So what do you give a dog when joint pain flares up?

Your veterinarian may recommend a medicine called Rimadyl, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatoy drug that works in dogs but, wouldn’t you know, is toxic for people.

As for Dexter, it’s been about a month and he’s on the mend. He’s still on antibiotics twice a day and needs to be walked about every three hours.

The bottom line is that while your domesticated pets may act like small children and your children may, at times, act like wild animals, when it comes to health care, they should always be considered different species.

In other words, don’t do what I did. Call your vet before you experiment with your pets. You could spare yourself a medical crisis – and a hefty bill.

Dangers of Xylitol

I am going to reprint an article that I found here about the dangers of Xylitol, which is a sugar-alcohol based sweetener.

Dec 14, 2010
The Dangers of Xylitol
Most everyone knows that chocolate should be kept out of reach of pets.
There is a new threat to be concerned about.

The new types of artificial sweeteners contain ingredients even more dangerous than chocolate.

The main culprit is the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. Xylitol is found in gums like Orbit.

What makes this ingredient dangerous is that, although the human body can metabolize these complex molecules, the canine body is unable to do so. Also, it seems that once they contact Xylitol in particular, it tastes so sweet that they find it literally irresistible.

The complex unmetabolizable molecule is actually a sugar alcohol, and not a true sugar. Due to its inability to be broken down like normal sugars by the liver and pancreas in the canine body, therefore falls to the kidneys to filter it out like other unprocessable substances. However, the action of the kidneys is not enough to prevent the level of Xylitol in the blood from reaching a critical level. The animal will then experience an overdose, even from a single piece of gum. The net effect of all this leads to a Grand Mals type seizure within 24 hours of ingestion.

The animal may experience as many as 3 more seizures within a 24 hr. period. These symptoms are caused by an apparent acute onset of hypoglycemia, which causes lack of coordination, collapsing and seizure. If your pet ingests a product with Xylitol, please head straight to the nearest ER Clinic!

An Article from ASPCA:

Dog owners beware: The number of dogs harmed from ingesting xylitol, a sugar substitute used in sugar-free chewing gum, toothpaste and baked goods, is on the rise, according to a recent report from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center.

In 2003, the ASPCA recorded only three xylitol poisonings, which can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure and even death in dogs. That number skyrocketed to 70 in 2004. In 2005, there were more than 170 cases, and between January and August 2006, there have already been 114 cases reported.

Signs that your dog might have ingested products containing xylitol as a sweetener can show up quickly, sometimes within 30 minutes of eating the product. According to Dr. Eric Dunayer, a veterinarian and toxicologist for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, dogs that have ingested small amounts of xylitol might be affected but not show signs until up to 12 hours afterward. Signs your dog has ingested a product containing xylitol as a sweetener include an abrupt drop in blood sugar, vomiting, depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

If you find that your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol as a sweetener, call your veterinarian immediately. If the dog is exhibiting symptoms, take the dog to the vet’s office right away.

To prevent xylitol poisoning, dog owners should be aware of products that often contain xylitol as a sweetener, and keep those products out of reach of their dogs. They include: candy, chewing gum, breath fresheners, smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum, toothpastes, sunscreen and some vitamins and diet supplements.

Thanks to: VETEK CHIC ON WHEELS: The Dangers of Xylitol

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