Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Staples that are Hazards to Pups

Happy Thanksgiving from Camp McDonald Animal Hospital!  We have so much to be thankful for, we are sure you do too.  Enjoy your holiday and keep your pets away from the Thanksgiving Day feast.

Have you heard of Bark Box before?  Several of our team's dogs get one delivered every month.  Gina says "Olive" knows its for her before she even gets it in the front door.   Its a box full of fun new toys and treats arriving monthly on your door step.  Check out their website here.  

Our holiday safety tips come straight from the Bark Box website this time.  Check them out:

‘Tis the season for sharing and caring. But if you care for your dog, here are 11 things you will NOT share with them on Thanksgiving.

Note: This list comes from the ASPCA’s list of hazardous foods for dogs. Of course, some dogs have stomachs of steel and can eat everything from light bulbs to onion sandwiches, but this list is for folks who want to be extra careful. 

1. Salty Turkey Skin
Your Thanksgiving turkey will be basted in a number of tasty herbs and spices, like sage or dill, which are bad for your dog’s tummy. The fatty skin, added salty brine, and added butter isn’t very good for dogs either. When they start throwing the puppy dog eyes, you can give those pups a tiny piece of turkey breast though!

2. Turkey Bones
When the turkey’s gone, the bones that remain are NOT a good chew toy for your dog. They are brittle choking hazards that easily splinter if chewed.

3. Stuffing
This Thanksgiving staple often contains onions, which poison dogs’ blood cells.

4. Garlic Bread
Garlic is a member of the onion family (as far as dogs are concerned), so this is also bad for their blood.

5. Fruit Salad
A good rule of thumb is to not feed dogs fruit with seeds or pits. These inflame doggie intestines. Yuck! So, no plums, peaches, or grapes. That includes raisins!

6. Sausage
Sausage is more than meat. Sausage also contains, onions, garlic, and a bunch of other ingredients we’ve already mentioned.

7. Pecan Pie
Dogs shouldn’t be eating dessert anyway, but nuts can cause muscle spasms and weakness of the legs for up to 48 hours. Walnuts and macadamia nuts are the worst.

8. Booze
Whether wine or beer, alcohol is simply not good for dogs. Grapes and hops are both toxic to dogs, and so is the alcohol itself.

9. Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie
This one’s tricky. Both pumpkin and sweet potatoes are good for dogs. But for Thanksgiving many people add cinnamon and nutmeg to their pumpkin or sweet potato dishes which isn’t so great for our pups.

10. Ice Cream
Just like humans, some pups handle dairy just fine– others get a tummyache. It really depends on your pup.

11. Moldy Foods
I’m sure you don’t intend to feed your dog moldy, rotted food, so what I’m really trying to say is watch your dog around your overflowing trashcan. Moldy foods produce harmful mycotoxins, which just sound scary and do serious damage to your dog’s health.

For more food hazards check with the ASPCA.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What is a Zoonotic Disease??

While many diseases will only affect one species of animals, there are some that will cross from one to another.  A zoonotic disease can be transmitted from animals to people.  As we share our home with pets, as well live in a community with many domesticated and non-domesticated animals, it is good to be aware of those diseases we could easily share. With good hygiene and preventive care, the risk of acquiring something from your pet is minimal, but remember that pets lacking care, feral or roaming pets, as well as wild animals will always pose a threat. 

There are numerous diseases that pets and people can share.  I will focus on the diseases we more commonly encounter in this area.  The first article will discuss parasites and the second will cover other infectious diseases. 

While reading about these parasites can be unnerving, with good hygiene and prevention measures, risk of disease can be kept to a minimum.  The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) website for pet owners has extensive information about many parasites. It is a great resource for pet owners.  The CAPC is the veterinary authority on parasitism.

Roundworms and Hookworms
If you have ever had a young puppy or kitten, your veterinarian probably prescribed a course of dewormer. This is because the life cycle of roundworms and hookworms is very difficult to break. The intestinal parasite exam (fecal sample) we recommend for every pet checks for these and other parasites.  Most heartworm preventatives also protect against intestinal parasites, therefore year around preventative is recommended.  

Roundworm—Pets with these parasites shed eggs when they defecate which will remain in the environment for years! Roundworm eggs can be accidentally eaten by people, most often children. A larvae from the roundworm egg can migrate into the liver, lung, brain, or eye tissues, causing significant and serious illness. 
The raccoon carries a particularly nasty roundworm with similar characteristics. While it can migrate in organs or the eye, it has an affinity for brain tissue. It can affect pets as well as people.

Hookworm—While this parasite’s eggs will not survive in the environment for a long period of time (they are killed by freezing temperatures), they will also affect humans.  The larvae “hatches” from the egg and will penetrate the skin of people that come in contact with it.  It migrates under the skin causing an irritating rash. 

The intended host of Toxoplasmosis is the cat.  Cats are infected with Toxoplasmosis when consuming small prey, eating raw infected meat, or consuming Toxoplama eggs.  An infected cat will shed eggs for approximately three weeks, but often show no signs of illness. The eggs must be in the environment for 24 hours before they can infect humans. Toxoplasmosis is acquired by humans (or other mammals) through either accidental ingestion of eggs shed by a cat or consumption of immature forms in undercooked meat.  Toxoplasmosis is of particular concern for expectant mothers as it can harm the unborn child.  Immunocompromised people are at higher risk of disease if exposed, as well.  This parasite also has an affinity for brain tissue.  Given the lifecycle of this parasite, an indoor kept cat on a commercial diet poses less threat to an expectant mother than the outdoor and feral cat population.  One may encounter their feces when doing yardwork.  Eggs can remain in the environment for months to years.  Raw meat, particularly meat raised where food animals and cats comingle, can also have encysted immature Toxoplasma organisms.

Human exposure can be limited by daily scooping of litter pans, keeping cats indoors, not feeding raw meat to your cat, proper handling and cooking of meat for yourself, and wearing gloves while gardening. 

With all parasites, picking up pet waste immediately, good hygiene, and preventative care for pets will limit likelihood of exposure.  For more information on parasites and your pet, visit the website for the Companion Animal Parasite Council (  

article written by:
Laura Rau-Holl, DVM
Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital, Kenosha, WI