What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

jack russell dog sleeping in bed with high fever temperature, ice bag on head, thermometer in mouth, covered by a blanket

There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Source: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/canine-influenza-viruscanine-flu

Preparing a First Aid Kit for Pet Emergencies

Veterinary Emergency Group

When a pet emergency arises, will you be prepared? We recommend that all pet owners have a first aid kit available for a pet emergency, storing it in their home and vehicle just in case. We recommend including the following supplies:

Pet Supplies

  • A first aid handbook with information about basic first aid techniques
  • Phone number for your family veterinarian and our animal hospital
  • A muzzle in case your pet is in pain and is biting or snapping while you’re trying to help
  • A copy of your pet’s records
  • A nylon leash

First Aid Supplies

  • A self-clinging bandage
  • Absorbent gauze pads and gauze rolls
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • Tweezers
  • A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
  • A pet carrier if your pet is small enough

Some more specific items may be recommended for advanced first aid treatment. We would love to talk with you about your pet’s needs and the first aid kit that you are putting together for them. We can help you make sure that you have everything you need in the event of a pet emergency. Please contact us today to schedule a visit or talk with our team members about the importance of being prepared.

Easter Pet Poisons


The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.


SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

5 Winter Safety Tips for Pets

Now that we’re in the middle of winter, there are new dangers for your pet to consider, especially with New York’s frigid temps. The Veterinary Emergency Group in White Plains and Nanuet, NY, doesn’t want to just treat emergencies; we want to help prevent them. That’s why we’ve dedicated this blog to five winter safety tips for pets. And remember, if ever your pet is need of emergency care, we’re available nights, weekends, and holidays.

Sidewalk Salt

Sidewalk salt and is the norm for New York’s winters, but did you know they can be dangerous to pets? Many sidewalk salt and other ice-melting products contain chemicals that can irritate your pet’s paw pads. To protect your pet, consider buying them a couple pairs of booties to wear while outdoors, or use a special paw protective wax/balm.


Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning we see in the winter time. This toxic substance can drip on garage floors and driveways from car radiators, and with its sweet taste, it lures hundreds of animals to drink it every year. But if your pet were to drink even one tablespoon of antifreeze, the results can be fatal if treatment isn’t sought immediately. You can protect your pet by using an antifreeze brand that contains propylene glycol, which is less toxic than ethylene glycol if accidentally ingested.

Car Engines

When temps drop, cats are known to seek out warmth wherever they can, even under the hoods of cars. This may seem like a safe place to a cat, but once that car is started, the cat can become seriously injured or even killed by the fan belt. If you’ve noticed any stray cats in your neighborhood or near your workplace—or even if you haven’t—try to get in the habit of knocking on your hood or checking underneath it to make sure there isn’t an animal nestled inside.


Cats aren’t the only animals out looking for a toasty place to retreat to this winter. The mice and other rodents will be searching, too, and sometimes, that toasty place can be a house basement. If you think a rodent has found its way into your home, think twice before using rodenticide, since it can attract your pet just as easily as a rodent. Many rodenticides are designed to have delayed effects, so if your pet were to ingest any, you wouldn’t know about it until hours or even days later. Consider a safer, more humane way to rid your house of rodents. Sometimes just having a cat in the house is enough to do the trick!


Pets are susceptible to frostbite, just like people are, and if the temperatures are cold enough, frostbite can take place in a matter of minutes. A pet’s ears and tail are usually the two parts that are most likely to get frostbitten, so always limit your pet’s time outdoors during the winter, and consider giving them a sweater or booties when they go outside to give them some extra warmth.

If you ever suspect your pet has been frostbitten or poisoned or is in need of emergency care for any other reason, contact the Veterinary Emergency Group immediately at 914-949-8779 (White Plains) or 845-536-5645 (Nanuet).

Second Location Added in Nanuet

New Veterinary Location in Nanuet

The Veterinary Emergency Group is pleased to announce the addition of a new location in Nanuet, NY, the first and only dedicated emergency veterinary hospital in Rockland County. In addition to our White Plains location, we now have a hospital in Nanuet at 123 East Route 59 between the Pet Nutrition Store and Chase Bank. After realizing the growing need for an emergency veterinarian in the Nanuet area, our team was happy to meet it. Now, the Veterinary Emergency Group is able offer emergency services to more patients every night, weekend, and holiday.

At our Nanuet location, you can expect the same philosophy, professionalism, and compassion of our White Plains location as well as the same caliber of care. We treat pets and their owners like family because you both deserve nothing less. Some of the most common emergency cases we treat at our new Nanuet location include:

  • Trauma
  • Poisoning
  • Chronic diseases
  • Wounds

Please give us a call at 845-536-5645 if you’d like to learn more about our new location or if you have questions about our emergency and urgent services. And although we hope your pet is never in need of emergency care, if the need ever DOES arrive, he/she will be in good hands at the Veterinary Emergency Group.


Springtime Pet Safety Tips

Spring has sprung, and
with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations,
spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. But the new balmy
weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets—or their unwitting parents.
Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of
potential springtime hazards for your delicate, furry friend. To help you out,
our ASPCA experts have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent
mishaps or misfortunes. 
Screen Yourself Many pet
parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows.
Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats,
who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug
and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make
sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.
Buckle Up! While every
pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them
to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car
windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye
injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury,
or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a
seatbelt harness designed especially for them. 
Spring Cleaning Spring
cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep
all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold
cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using
them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.
 Home Improvement
101 Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your
pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels
to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be
cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and
power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated
pet-friendly room during home improvement projects. 
Let Your Garden
Grow—With Care Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides
keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant
for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Always store
these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions
carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips. 
Poisonous Plants Time to
let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including
Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily
prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic
plants for your home and garden.
Ah-Ah-Achoo! Like their
sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and
pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and
sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your
pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Pesky Little Critters
April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is
on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick
control program. Ask your doctor to recommend a plan designed specifically for
your pet. · Out and About Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer
walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat
has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home
address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information. Canines should
wear flat (never choke!) collars, please. 

Top Ten Emergencies in Cats

often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well which makes
knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have
unique signs and symptoms of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by
their owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound,
while others have more subtle signs that can be equally deadly if left
untreated. Knowing what signs to look for is crucial in determining when to
seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common
cat emergencies and their signs.
Urethral Obstruction
is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a
blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the
outside environment).
will show a sudden onset of restless behavior which includes frequent trips in
and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places
such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream
of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining,
there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the
obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.
should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care
immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying
within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at
least 36 hours for treatment of this condition which may include a urinary
catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely
to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.
Toxicities (Poisoning)
combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body
breaks down chemicals) makes cats very vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often
not aware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to
their feline companions. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze,
Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.
signs your cat displays depends on what type of poison they have encountered.
Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then
progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an
unusual swelling of the head and changes the cats blood color from red to
chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may
see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in urine or stool.
Breathing Problems
times cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their
activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may
be very late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several
causes of breathing changes but the most common are feline asthma, heart or
lung disease.
Foreign Object Ingestion
you know cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental
floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), however, you may not know the serious danger
that strings can pose to your cat. When a string is ingested, one end may
become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the
remaining string passes farther into the intestine. With each intestinal
contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the
intestine and damaging the blood supply.
that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of
appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of
a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part
of the string that is visible from your pet.
times emergency surgery is necessary to remove the foreign object and any
damaged sections of intestine.
Bite Wounds
are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters
with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang”, teeth are so
small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in several
days after the injury.
may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a
penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound
becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.
should seek emergency care for bite wounds so that your veterinarian may
thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics for your pet.
Occasionally the wounds will develop large pockets called abscesses under the
skin that require surgical placement of a drain to help with healing.
Hit by car
that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the
emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common reasons for your
pet to suffer traumatic injuries such as broken bones, lung injuries and head
trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a
vehicle even if he or she appears normal as many injuries can develop or worsen
over the next few hours.
Increased Thirst and
changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying
disease. The two most common causes of these signs are kidney disease and
diabetes mellitus.
veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause
of your cat’s signs. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs
is important as the sooner your pet receives treatment, the better their
chances for recovery. Many times exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze
or lilies, will show similar signs and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.
Sudden inability to use
the hind legs
with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. Many
times these clots can lodge in a large blood vessel called the aorta where they
can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a
blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic
episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of their hind legs,
painful crying, and breathing changes.
arrival at the emergency room, your pet will receive pain management and oxygen
support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there
is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode
is often the first clue for an owner that their cat has severe heart disease.
In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s
heart disease will require life-long treatment.
Upper Respiratory
and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a
combination of bacteria or viruses. Upper respiratory infections, or URIs,
often cause sneezing, runny noses, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In
severe cases, they can cause ulcers in the mouth, tongue, and eyes. More often
than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat
environments such as shelters. Small or poor-doing kittens are also easily
infected and may develop more severe complications such as low blood sugar.
Sudden Blindness
sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common
causes are increased blood pressure (hypertension) that may be due to changes
in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats
that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.
blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure
your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to try to
lower the pressure and restore vision.
you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether they lose vision or not, you
should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon
as possible.

Reasons To Act More Like Your Pet

Pets aren’t always easy to take care of, and they often require a
substantial time commitment (something you’re all too aware of at, say, 3 a.m.,
when Bing Clawsby is finally ready to go outside and do his business). But pets
provide an amazing return on that time investment, especially when it comes to
your health. Case in point: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and
triglyceride levels than non-pet owners. But that’s not all. Pets also model
many surprisingly healthy behaviors that humans would do well to emulate. Here
are just a few, according to veterinarians, dog trainers, and other pet
1. They focus on what matters most. You may get grumpy after a bad
day at the office, but your pooch never does. “Companion animals mostly care
about food, love, and shelter (not always in that order). As long as they have
those things, they don’t need much else,” Mary Gardner, DVM, a veterinarian and
cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice tells Yahoo Health. “Pets also
don’t complain much at all. People believe they hide their pain; I simply think
they manage it differently.” If humans could model these behaviors, Gardner
adds, we’d be healthier, happier, “and more people would want to be around
2. They practice portion control (even if not by choice). Snowball
might not want to limit her kibble intake any more than you want to limit your
tortilla-chip intake. Nonetheless, she typically eats reasonably sized helpings
of nutritionally balanced food — and never gets to eat straight out of the bag.
Follow her lead. “Both animals and people need structure and regulation when it
comes to portion size,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo
Animal Rescue based in Redmond, Washington. 
3. They know how to de-stress. Your pooch doesn’t pour a glass of
cabernet when the going gets rough (though, yes, it would make a very popular
YouTube video if she did). She may, however, start begging for a walk or to
play a game. Smart dog! “Actively seeking healthy activities — that function as
de-stressors when stress levels are high — helps to reset people as well as dogs,
and bring us back to a productive and functional status, from which many things
feel a lot more ‘do-able,’” Marisa Scully, a certified dog behavior specialist
in Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Health. 
4. They hit the hay. People don’t get enough sleep: According to a
2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans said that
a lack of sleep had impaired their activities at least once in the previous
week. Learn from your cat or dog, who knows just how important it is to get
enough shut-eye, says Jeff Werber, VVM, president and chief veterinarian of
Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. “Whether it’s a lazy dog day
afternoon, or a quick cat nap, you won’t find them burning the candles at both
5. They stretch! There’s a reason one of the most common yoga moves is
named downward dog. Dogs (and cats) stretch constantly — and we should do the
same, notes certified dog behavior consultant Russell Hartstein. Why?
Stretching can improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. 
6. They’re open to new things. Animals are naturally curious.
“Open a box or empty a bag and before you know it, your cat will have climbed
in to investigate. Walk your dog past a gardener planting flowers and chances
are she will check it out before moving on,” Werber says. “And they’re always
up for some fun. A game of catch, a walk, a visit — bring it on.” Since
research has found that seeking out new experiences can keep people feeling
young and healthy, we’d do well to follow suit.
7. They’re comfortable getting zen. Numerous studies have found a
correlation between mindful meditation and reduced stress, decreased heart
disease, and a stronger immune response — and that’s something your cat already
knows how to do instinctively. “Each morning I sit on the sofa with my cat,
Turtle, while I drink my first cup of coffee,” says Kristen Levine, a pet
living expert. “We spend about 10 minutes together, her getting neck and head
rubs, me enjoying her purring and having a few meditative moments at the start
of the day.It sounds simple, and it can be, but depending on the activity, it
can have a powerfully relaxing or invigorating effect for both human and

E-Cigarettes and Pets Do Not Mix

E-cigarettes are
sparking heated debates as lawmakers, medical professionals and industry
grapple over the relative safety of the nicotine-delivering devices. But for
pet owners, there is no debate. Nicotine poses a serious threat of poisoning to
dogs and cats, and e-cigarettes back a powerful punch. The problem is that many
pet owners don’t realize it. 
Pet Poison Helpline has
encountered a sharp uptick in calls concerning cases of nicotine poisoning in
pets that ingested e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine refill solution. In fact,
over the past six months, cases have more than doubled, indicating that along
with their increased popularity, the nicotine-delivering devices are becoming a
more significant threat to pets. While dogs account for the majority of cases,
nicotine in e-cigarettes and liquid refill solution is toxic to cats as well.
“We’ve handled cases for pets poisoned by eating traditional cigarettes or
tobacco products containing nicotine for many years,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM,
MS, DABT, DABVT and associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison
Helpline. “But, as the use of e-cigarettes has become more widespread, our call
volume for cases involving them has increased considerably.” In an effort to
educate pet owners before an accident occurs, Pet Poison Helpline offers this
important safety information. 
What are
E-cigarettes are simply
another way of delivering nicotine. Designed to resemble traditional
cigarettes, the battery operated devices atomize liquid that contains nicotine,
turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled. The most recent craze is flavored
e-cigarettes, which are available in an array of flavors from peppermint to
banana cream pie, and everything in between. 
What makes e-cigarettes
toxic to pets? 
The aroma of liquid
nicotine in e-cigarettes can be alluring to dogs, and flavored e-cigarettes
could be even more enticing. The issue is the amount of nicotine in each
cartridge, which is between 6 mg and 24 mg. So, each cartridge contains the
nicotine equivalent of one to two traditional cigarettes, but purchase packs of
five to 100 cartridges multiply that amount many times over, posing a serious
threat to pets who chew them. For example, if a single cartridge is ingested by
a 50-pound dog, clinical signs of poisoning are likely to occur. But if a dog
that weighs 10 pounds ingests the same amount, death is possible. Dogs of any
weight that ingest multiple e-cigarette cartridges are at risk for severe
poisoning and even death. In addition to the toxicity of nicotine, the actual
e-cigarette casing can result in oral injury when chewed, and can cause
gastrointestinal upset with the risk of a foreign body obstruction. Some
e-cigarette users buy vials of liquid nicotine solution for refilling
e-cigarette cartridges. The solution is commonly referred to as “e-liquid” or
“e-juice.” The small bottles hold enough liquid to fill multiple cartridges,
meaning they contain a considerable amount of nicotine. Pet owners should be
very careful to store them out of the reach of pets. 
What happens when
e-cigarettes are ingested by pets?
Nicotine poisoning in
pets has a rapid onset of symptoms – generally within 15 to 60 minutes
following ingestion. Symptoms for dogs and cats include vomiting, diarrhea,
agitation, elevations in heart rate and respiration rate, depression, tremors,
ataxia, weakness, seizures, cyanosis, coma, and cardiac arrest. 
What to do if a pet is
Because nicotine
poisoning can happen so rapidly following ingestion, prompt veterinary care can
mean the difference between life and death for a pet. Home care is not
generally possible with nicotine exposure due to the severity of poisoning,
even in small doses. Take action immediately by contacting a veterinarian or
Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. As always, prevention is the best
medicine. E-cigarettes, cartridges and vials of refilling solution should
always be kept out of the reach of pets and children. 
SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/2014/09/e-cigarettes-pets-mix/   Published on September 2, 2014

Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather

Keep pets indoors and warm 
The best prescription
for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family.
The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise
but kept inside the rest of the time. 
Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. 
During walks,
short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what
the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to
severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold
snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer
permanent damage. 
Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside
A dog or cat is happiest
and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much
of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is
large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough
to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the
ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered
with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. 
Help neighborhood outdoor cats 
If there are outdoor
cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people,
and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they
need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give
them a hand. 
Give your pets plenty of food and water 
Pets who spend a lot of
time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes
energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is
fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is
low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal. 
Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars 
Warm engines in parked
cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid
injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before
starting your engine. 
Protect paws from salt 
The salt and other
chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet.
Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates
his/her mouth. 
Avoid antifreeze poisoning 
Antifreeze is a deadly
poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up
spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants
and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and
Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold 
If you encounter a pet
left in the cold, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and
type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic
documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact
your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your
evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when.
Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been
 SOURCE: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html