dogs and cats and pets, oh MY!
I work as a Veterinary Technician and have for about 15 years now. I love what I do. I started in day practice and eventually moved to an animal ER where I live. The hours are long, unusual and the pay isn't all that great but better than some. I have been proud to have as many as 5 cats, 5 parrots, 2 dogs in my home. Currently the count is 5 cats, 1 parrot and 1 dog. Two years ago, after my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, I put my 18 year old white Persian cat to sleep. She had cancer, she'd been getting weak and told me it was time. I still miss that little bloomer butt. Her flouncing way of walking away in a pout. Goddess she was the princess. She would pee on your stuff if she didn't like you. Never once did she pee on anything of my husband's. Though she peed on my ex's den rug and all his papers he left on the floor. She peed on my ex-boyfriend's backpack one night. should have listened to her on both counts. Three weeks after that my oldest dog was vomiting. Now, Phantom had a history of eating baby socks and then puking them up later or passing them. So at first I thought it was a sock. But when it didn't pass, didn't come up, I brought him to work. We Xrayed him and I was thinking that I'd have to cut him open to get a sock. I was wrong. Phantom had cancer. It was everywhere. It broke my heart to put him down. I had bottle fed him, adopted him out then taken him back in when the first owner couldn't keep him. He was the best dog ever. The only thing he chewed up as a puppy was the remote for my tv at the time. He tried so hard to be a good dog. He even guarded my apartment when I moved away from my exhusband and that ex started stalking me. The sad thing is, I don't have that many pictures of him. I have a few, but not many. Most all of the 'pictures' of Phantom reside in my heart. So I held him and sung to him as Dr. Paul put him down that night. I had him cremated. I have had all mine cremated since I lost my first cat while living in New Orleans. This is the first writing I have done about him since I put him down. Once in a while, my 8 year old will say... "Mommy, I really miss Phantom." I miss him too. More than I could ever have known I might. Three days after Phantom was gone, my oldest parrot was dead in the bottom of her cage. She was 16. It was a very rough Fall. There will be no more "whatcha DOING?", "Bayou is a pretty birrrrd", or "I'm sorry" echoing in my home.
This morning I am typing this from work. While I am here watching over two patients, there are no doctors. They are being baby sat mostly in case. If something were to happen, I can easily call a nearby doctor for here and have them here in 10 minutes, put them on speaker phone and do what ever they need me to do while I wait for them to arrive. Been doing this long enough that I can tell you sometimes if what I am caring for will leave the hospital.
So as I am at work, a few things occur to me;
Everyone should have a pet first aid kit. The things inside that kit should include:
bottle of hydrogen peroxide
turkey baster or boston round like you get at Sally's to dye your hair with.
The numbers for:
ANIMAL POISON CONTROL
this is run by the ASPCA and exists totally on donations and the fee they charge for their services. If you have to call them, you will get a case number a doctor's name and a return call back number. These are important. Take them, and your pet to the vet. Your regular one during the day or an after hours place if need be. This way, the veterinary facility will know what to do for your pet, you won't be charged again for the time and services from the poison hotline and your pet will get the best care for the situation.
the second number I know little about.... other than it costs less than the APC number;
Pet Poison Hotline
I don't know what group runs this, but it seems to have a great deal of knowledge as well.
The reason these places cost? Big pharmaceutical companies don't give them money to operate as they do the human poison control places. They don't support animal health in the way they do human health, nor do they actually seem to give a crap about pets. So if you have to use either of the numbers, keep this in mind. They have ridiculous amounts of data at their disposal from the touch of a fingertip. They have multiple doctors who work the lines and they will fax follow up information if they find it to the vet treating your pet just in case. We use them a great deal. I stand by them.
Now, some of you are going to ask why put hydrogen peroxide and a turkey baster in your pet first aid kit? You can successfully make your pet vomit with those things. No, I am not kidding and yes, it's safe. I promise, it will come back up. As long as what your pet has ingested isn't: glass, pins, sharp like bones, bones themselves, bone fragments or something long and skinny enough to get lodged sideways in his throat, puke 'em. Feed that sucker enough to empty their stomach. Pick through it with a stick if it's pills or something small to make sure it came up. Once your pet has the dry heaves, DO NOT give anything to eat or drink for about 4-6 hours. Their poor little stomachs are in reverse and need time to reset. After they vomit, depending on what they ate, seek veterinary care immediately. Some things such as rat poison or medications have residual effects and should be treated for.
Trust me. I dont' know how many times I had to make Phantom vomit for getting into the bathroom trash. (use your imagination here... I won't paint a picture.) Now, if you are unable to get your pet to vomit after about 15 minutes, OR you are farther away from your vet than an hour's drive.... forego it. Pack up your pet in a crate, put them on a leash, whatever, but get them to the vet NOW. Don't wait. Certain toxins are fatal after a certain amount of time. If you have a question, call a vet, call the poison control hotline, call someone with actual veterinary knowledge. Not the breeder down the road, the lady across the street... call a professional. Your pet's life just might depend on it.
There are many medications/drugs that are really REALLY bad for pets. Of that list, and this is by no means complete, they include:
Peptobismal (now contains acetaminophen or tylenol)
Most anti depressants
Most heart and blood pressure medications (unless prescribed for your pet specifically)
K2 ('legal marijuana' will flat out kill your pet)
alcohol (some people think it's cute to feed their pet beer and the like)
hydrocodone of any kind
RAT POISON - MUST be treated even if pet vomits. signs don't occure until it's too late to help your pet!!
Now.... all this being said, I personally don't care if you do drugs in your home. I DO CARE if your pet could have gotten into them. I can't HELP them if I don't know what I'm treating. So be honest with your vet and their staff. They are there for your pet, not you.
Chocolate is also toxic to dogs. But... it's a formula. Certain types of chocolate have more caffeine and theobromide (the drug in chocolate which gives euphoria after eating it.) in it. The formula goes something like this. X ounces of type of chocolate divided by weight in Kilograms of pet = toxic or not symptoms. Now if your 85 pound Labrador eats a tray of cupcakes, it will most likely have the runs for a day or so, might be more hyper than normal and crash hard when the sugar runs out. But if your 3 pound teacup Yorkie ate a whole Hershey's dark chocolate bar.... They are dead if they don't get help ASAP.
If your pet ate chocolate and is already vomiting, it needs to go to the vet now. right now, not after work, after you finish your soup (yes, I was told that once), after your show is over. NOW. Too much can and will kill your pet.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Don't buy your vaccines from a feed store of magazine. If you have to buy them to save money on the shots, then maybe you should reconsider having a pet you can take care of. Around here, breeders give the first round. New owners walk away with their new pet thinking they are completely up to date on their shots. Well, they are... FOR THAT AGE. puppy shots start at 8 weeks and should be given every 3 weeks thereafter until the pet has had 3 to 4 sets depending on the breed of dog. Rabies vaccines are given around 16 weeks, and in some states as early as 12 weeks. NO ONE other than a licensed vet can purchase rabies vaccines and no one other than that vet should administer them. Cat vaccines start at about 8-10 weeks and they get 2-3 depending. All cats should be tested for FIV and FELV. ALL domesticated animals are required by state and federal laws to have a current RABIES vaccine. Even if they never leave the house. If your pet bites someone and you are unable to prove a current rabies vaccine the health department can and will quarantine your pet for a minimum of 10 days. In some cases, they will require rabies testing and there is only ONE way to do that. You will seal your pet's fate in death if you neglect current rabies vaccines. It's that simple. Rabies is contagious to any and all mammals. This means humans. POST exposure rabies treatment runs in the 20k area for a single person. As the owner of the biting pet you would be responsible to pay for the person's treatment.
So, now that my rant/helpful notations are over.... feel free to holler at me. Just remember, the internet, myself or someone who works for a vet is not a substitute for the veterinarian who spent 8 years in school studying for their DVM. If it is a concern, it is worth the time and the money to have it checked. Peace of mind is worth a great deal more than guilt from not doing anything at all....