Turkey Troubles: Pet Pancreatitis and the Holiday Season

pet pancreatitisThanksgiving is just around the corner, and most of us are anxiously awaiting all of the delicious foods. The turkey and gravy, the stuffing, the fluffy rolls fresh from the oven, and – oh boy – the pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is truly a time for giving thanks for all of our bounties, including the delectable dishes.

Unfortunately, the holiday season is also rife with pet emergency cases relating to pancreatitis and other gastrointestinal problems. Your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services want to explain why pet pancreatitis is a serious emergency that should give you pause before letting Fido partake in the holiday feast.


Keeping it Safe: Prevent Pet Poisoning in Your Home

pet poisoning in your homeOf the many things you do to care for your pet, we hope that poison proofing your home is one of them. It’s amazing (and somewhat scary) to see just how many things in your home and yard can be toxic to pets. Some may only cause gastrointestinal upset (which is bad enough), but others can cause organ failure or even death.

Poison Prevention Week is the third week in March, so Oakland Veterinary Referral Services would like to share a checklist of common household items that may be hazardous to your pet’s health. Together, we can prevent pet poisoning this month and beyond.


Trouble Brewing: Hops Toxicity in Dogs

Beautiful smiling dogYou probably know that sharing your brew with Fido isn’t smart or safe, but few people realize that the hops used to make beer are also toxic to pets. With the increase in people brewing their own beers, more people now have hops in their homes or gardens. If you are among those who have taken up home brewing, keep reading so that you can know all you need to about hops toxicity in dogs.

The Problem with Hops

Hops, better known to you scientific types as Humulus lupulus, are a type of plant used in brewing beer. It isn’t known exactly what the toxic component in the plant is, but we do know that hops toxicity in dogs (and actually cats as well) is a very real and dangerous thing. Continue…

Serious Thanksgiving Food Risks For Your Pets

Dog eyeing turkey leg

Dog eyeing turkey leg


We all look forward to the holiday season as a time of family, friends, food, and fun. Unfortunately, though, Thanksgiving is also a time where we see a dramatic increase in the number of pet emergencies.

Be sure to be aware of potential Thanksgiving food risks and keep your pet safe this holiday season.

Pancreatitis in Pets

Just as for people, overindulgence in rich, fatty foods can upset the digestive system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or both. Sometimes, though, when pets indulge too much the result is something more serious than just a tummy ache. Continue…

Hidden Dangers: Potential Pet Poisons May Be Lurking in Backpacks…

Cat And BackpackAs a dedicated pet owner, we know you pay special attention to what your paw pals could potentially get into with the right recipe of curiosity, hunger and boredom. So, with kids back in school, we’d like to remind households of the hidden risks associated with pet poisons and what kids are bringing home in their backpacks and lunch bags.

Can’t. Stop. Sniffing.

The smells we bring home could (and often do) drive our pets into an olfactory frenzy. Food smells, people smells, the scents from other animals… you name it, our pets are going to sniff it and catalogue it away in their brain. Your pet’s sniffer could lead to your child’s backpack where hopefully one would not discover any of the following potential pet poisons: Continue…

All About Xylitol and the Danger it Poses to Your Pet

The emergency and critical care doctors at OVRS would like to remind pet owners how dangerous Xylitol, an artificial sweetener is for dogs and cats.  The emergency and critical care doctors have reported an increased number of pets being treated for eating xylitol, used as a sugar substitute in foods, including sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, chewable vitamins, tooth paste and oral-care products. Xylitol is also available in a granulated form at your local grocery store for baking and beverage sweeteners.

Question: Why is xylitol so dangerous for dogs and cats?

Answer: Ingestion of xylitol primarily affects insulin release throughout the body. Insulin causes an increase of glucose (blood sugar) uptake into the liver, muscle, and fat cells resulting in decreasing blood glucose levels.

Xylitol strongly promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas into circulation leading to a rapid decrease of blood glucose levels. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of xylitol ingestion with levels as low as 0.1g xylitol /kg body weight.

Hypoglycemia may compound further into liver toxicity, liver damage, and ultimately liver failure. Ingesting amounts of xylitol greater than 0.5 g xylitol /kg body weight increases the risk for developing liver toxicity.

Sugar-free chewing gum is the most common cause of dogs that present to the emergency room. However, the recent introduction of xylitol as a substitute for sugar in grocery stores has increased the potential for toxicity.

Xylitol is perfectly safe for people, but because of different metabolisms, it can be fatal for dogs and cats. A simple piece of cupcake or cookie could kill an animal if the danger is unknown and not addressed immediately.

Question: What are the signs my dog might have eaten xylitol?

Answer: Immediately after ingestion, vomiting may occur. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) develops within 30 to 60 minutes, resulting in lethargy and weakness. These signs may quickly develop into ataxia (trouble walking), collapse, and seizures. Prolonged blood clotting times as well as skin and intestinal hemorrhaging are clinical signs associated with liver toxicity that may develop within hours and warrant a very poor prognosis.

Question: What do I do if I think my dog has eaten xylitol? What is the treatment and prognosis?

Answer: If xylitol ingestion occurs, consult your veterinarian immediately. Inducing vomiting to remove the xylitol is imperative, but close monitoring of blood sugar levels and intravenous infusions of glucose (sugar) may also be needed depending on the amount ingested and how quickly the problem was recognized.

The prognosis for dogs with hypoglycemia is good with immediate and proper treatment, while the prognosis for dogs that have developed liver toxicity is poor. Large ingestions of xylitol (a relatively small amount of the product) that are not caught immediately can result in fulminant liver failure and death despite aggressive supportive care. This can occur in less than 36 hours in dogs that are otherwise young and healthy.

If your dog or cat is exhibiting any of the signs listed above of having eaten xylitol, please contact your regular vet or OVRS immediately.