Lesser-Known Dangers of Summer

While summertime brings sunshine and fun – there are some lesser-known dangers of being out and about!

I’m sure many of you have vegetable gardens or herb gardens, somewhere within reach of your pets whether in your backyard or up high on your kitchen window sill. There are actually quite a few plants and herbs that are a degree of toxic to our furry family members.

If you are no stranger to cats, you know they like to chew on plant material – be this grass or your house plants! Growing up, my mother kept all her plants behind a closed door to keep our cats away. Recently, we had a feline patient come into the practice who had eaten eucalyptus – typically a potted plant with hanging leaves. Our poor friend came in with symptoms of vomiting and lethargy. He now feels much better, but his owner had had this plant for many years without even thinking a cat might want to chew on it!

Another few examples of common herbs are mint, oregano, aloe, and chamomile. They tend to mostly cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested, though chamomile can also cause contact dermatitis (skin irritation). These symptoms do require medical attention.

Outside, if you happen to have a vegetable garden, tomatoes are actually not the most pet-friendly vegetable to try and grow! A ripe tomato does not harm dogs and cats. But the plant and vines can cause a slow heart rate, hypersalivation, as well as inappetence. Leeks, chives, and garlic can actually cause anemia (lack of red blood cells) if ingested, along with vomiting. Any of these symptoms listed also require medical attention.

If you like to frequent apple orchards or happen to have your own apple tree, as I do, several parts of the apple are quite toxic when ingested — apples contain levels of cyanide. It includes the leaves, stems, and seeds.

Should you think that your pet has ingested something toxic, or, you have watched them ingest something toxic, calling the clinic is the place to start. We can advise you whether the product or plant your pet has ingested is toxic, and how toxic. We’ll tell you if they need urgent medical care, or can wait for an appointment; or what symptoms you may see. We may advise you to bring your pet in right away so that we can induce vomiting. It may seem possible to do on your own, but it is not something we recommend trying to do at home. Even if too much time has passed and we believe that making them vomit wouldn’t help, an examination is still in order – symptoms like anemia, as previously mentioned, can occur after that fact, even if your pet seems fine.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 613-544-387.

Written by: Sarah, RVT