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Ask a vet: Diet problems arise during the holidays

POSTED: December 29, 2013 1:00 a.m.

No day is the same in veterinary medicine, but we do see the same types of problems repeatedly. If you don’t want to see skin problems and ear infections, don’t go to vet school.

But four weeks ago, I had a first, a true first.

The three days after Thanksgiving, not a single case of dietary indiscretion-induced vomiting or diarrhea appeared.

If you work as a vet or know one, you know how absurd that is. We can predict some disease incidences. Allergies are more common in transitional seasons, like spring and fall. And two days out of the year supply tons of tummy upset: the fifth of July and Black Friday.

Because we love our pets, we want to share that love as food. Turkey, hot dogs, gravy, mashed potatoes are just some of the huge compost heap versions of dinner we have. The next thing you know Fido dives right in and the rug suffers.

Please don’t do that. It really is bad for them. And a lot of the foods are not only irritating to the system, but some are literally toxic. Onions, bones, fatty meats and certain nuts have all killed dogs and cats.

Not every animal that gets them dies, but why take the chance?

And given the holiday season, also keep in mind the dangers of your pet deciding an especially attractive ornament is edible. This is more about knowing your pet. My dog wants the nutcracker’s eyes. One of our cats is a known ribbon-o-phile. Thus, no decoration access for them.

Also, certain decorative plants are in homes for the holidays. Please make sure they’re not toxic to your furry ones. Poinsettia flowers are very irritating to the stomachs of dogs and cats and can give vomiting or diarrhea. But only rarely are they life-threatening.

In the spring, your Easter lily may kill your cat, as it contains a compound that acts similarly to antifreeze.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, keeping your pets healthy during these times will help keep your family happy as well. Emergency treatment or surgery is a bad way to spend a Christmas bonus.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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