By: Dr. Ryan Bullock
Found in the Mid-April Issue of The Canyon Lake Views
Spring has sprung in the Texas Hill Country and I’ll bet that many of you have taken advantage of the nice weather to do a little gardening. But, did you know that some of the plants you may be planting are poisonous to your pets if eaten? Here is a list of some plants commonly used in landscaping that are toxic to cats and dogs.
Sago Palms: This has become a very popular plant for landscaping in this area because they are low maintenance and the deer don’t seem to eat them. Unfortunately, they are extremely poisonous to dogs and cats. The seeds or “nuts” contain the highest concentration of the toxin and ingestion of just 1 or 2 seeds can have serious effects. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and liver failure are likely outcomes to ingestion of these seeds. I have seen 3 dogs poisoned by this plant over the past 3 months. One seems to be doing OK, but unfortunately the other 2 have died of liver failure. If you have pets I highly recommend you remove your Sago Palms from your landscaping.
Lilies: Members of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species are considered highly toxic to cats. Ingestion of just 1 leaf can result in severe kidney damage and death in cats. If you have cats, do not have lilies! Its just too risky that your curious cat may try a leaf or two.
Oleander: All parts of this plant are considered toxic for pets. Results of ingestion are GI irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and death.
Castor Bean: These beans are commonly made into necklaces. The poisonous component here is Ricin. Chewing on these necklaces can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, seizures, coma and death.
Some other plants that are toxic to pets include Tulips, Azaleas, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Yew, Chrysanthemum, Amaryllis, English Ivy, Autumn crocus, Pothos, and Schefflera. I don’t have enough room to list EVERY toxic plant in this article, but a more information is available with the Animal Poison Control Center at: www.napcc.aspca.org or 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.
I would be especially careful if you are or plan to be the proud new owner of a puppy or kitten as these youngsters will literally eat anything and have a higher risk of getting into trouble. Take a list of toxic plants for pets with you next time you go to the nursery to spruce up your landscaping.
By Dr. Ryan Bullock
The Holidays are a popular time for families to acquire new pets, so I thought it would be a good time to go over a few pointers for new puppy and kitten owners. Whether you purchased your puppy from a breeder or adopted it from an animal shelter, the advice given to pet owners from breeders and shelters isn’t always as accurate as we would like.
- Take your new pet to be examined by your veterinarian as soon as you can after adoption. This should be done even if vaccines are not due or if you are told that vaccines are “current”. There are many more things a veterinarian checks on your pet other than vaccines. Plus, many times breeders or shelters are not correct with their vaccine protocol or unable to offer all vaccines needed. Besides making sure your pet is healthy, your veterinarian will also have a lot of great advice about raising a puppy / kitten.
- Have your veterinarian to perform an intestinal parasite test (fecal test) even if the breeder or shelter has “dewormed” your pet or performed their own testing. Intestinal parasites are very common in puppies and kittens (50% are positive) and the over the counter dewormers used by breeders/shelters don’t usually work as well as something your veterinarian uses. Hookworms and roundworms are very common and can infect people – usually small children who forget to wash their hands. Puppies and kittens many times also have intestinal infections with protozoal organisms such as coccidia and giardia that are not treatable with dewormers. Oh, and help your new little buddy out and try to remember to bring a fresh fecal sample to the vet. This will save the clinic staff from having to “get” the sample.
- Feed a high quality “puppy / kitten” food. Puppies and kittens need a higher fat content than adults because they are growing so fast. Adult foods are not ideal in supplying puppies and kittens what they need during this critical developmental period. Don’t worry about getting a grain free, gluten free, etc diet as it is virtually impossible for a puppy or kitten to have developed an allergy to these ingredients. Three brands that I recommend are Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Royal Canin.
Congrats on your new puppy or kitten, follow these tips and those of your veterinarian and you’ll be starting off on the right paw!
Dr. Ryan Bullock
Over the past 30 years, our pet’s average life expectancy has jumped from 10-11 years to 13-15 years. While advances in veterinary medicine have certainly played an important role in this improvement, education of pet owners has been equally important. Here are 4 things you can do to allow your pet to live as long as possible.
Preventative medicine by your veterinarian: This includes annual exams by your vet to catch ailments early. It also includes having your veterinarian give the recommended vaccinations for viruses such as distemper, parvo, and rabies. Annual testing for common infections such as heartworms and intestinal parasites is also important.
Parasite prevention: It is most important to prevent heartworms, but other parasites such as ticks, fleas, and intestinal worms can spread disease, cause weight loss, decrease immunity, and cause secondary problems such as skin disease and diarrhea. There are many great products available now that prevent almost all of these parasites. Examples are Trifexis, Revolution, and Advantage Multi.
Dental care: Pet’s mouths are a very important part of their body. The mouth is where the digestion process starts and problems with the mouth and teeth can lead to many problems. Infection under the tartar you may see on your pet’s teeth will allow bacteria to enter your pet’s bloodstream and lodge in important areas of the body such as heart valves, kidneys, and the liver. Routine dental cleanings as recommended by your veterinarian are a key component to your pet living a long and high quality life.
Diet: Feeding a consistent, high quality diet and maintaining your pet at a healthy weight are very important. Some of the very inexpensive diets are very high is sugar and lack some essential vitamins and antioxidants. Feeding human food is not a balanced diet for dogs and cats, but more importantly, it many times leads to obesity. Obesity causes a myriad of health problems such as back injuries, worsened arthritis, and ACL knee ligament tears to list a few. Three high quality diets I recommend to clients are Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Royal Canin.
If you are already doing all of 4 of these things, then pat yourself on the back! You are an excellent pet owner! Hopefully this simplifies the basics of what you need to do to allow your pet to live the longest and happiest life possible!
by Dr. Keith Leakey
If you own a pet then the familiar scene of a poor mutilated trash bag
with the innards strewn throughout the house has crossed your path. Chewy
was our trash diver and the best I had ever seen. You could leave the
house and be gone 30 seconds just to return to her hind end, tail wagging,
nose deep in the best treasure our house had to offer.
When my wife and I were having our house built in Dallas, we would go
almost every day to look at what had been done. We would often take our
labs because, at the time, they were our kids. I soon realized that Chewy
became so excited every time we would pull up to the curb only to scour
the job site for the foil ball of left over burrito or other
unidentifiable morsel that she had been dreaming about since her last
visit. All said and done Chewy survived her escapades of trash diving but
not without issues. There were many times that she would become sick and
we would have to treat her for issues.
What should you be worried about in your trash diver? The things we see on
a daily basis associated with our clients pets can range from abdominal
pain and vomiting/diarrhea to very colorful wrappers and whatnot in their
bowel movements. There is a very serious condition known as Pancreatitis
that can be life threatening in many cases and causes severe vomiting and
diarrhea. This condition can be caused by the consumption of high fat
table foods or trash.
The pancreas is responsible for releasing digestive enzymes into the small
intestines where they can breakdown sugar and digest nutrients. In
Pancreatitis the digestive enzymes cause severe inflammation of the
pancreas. This condition is usually diagnosed with a specific test and
blood work along with a very depressed and lethargic patient. Most of
these patients have to be hospitalized and placed on intravenous fluids to
prevent dehydration and manage their symptoms. Subsequent bouts of
Pancreatitis can make them more susceptible to recurrence and permanent
Please take the proper precautions to protect your families from the trash
diving Chewys in your household. If the vandals do strike, please consult
your local veterinarian and monitor them for any gastrointestinal
issues. Timing is everything when dealing with the post trash diving
The holidays are an exciting time of year for all of us! Special times with friends and family, gifts and goodies to share and special plants and trees to brighten the atmosphere!
During all of the hustle and bustle, it is easy for our 4 legged pals to sneak past us and get into trouble while we are not looking! Here is a list of the Top 5 Holiday Toxins you should be aware of this season.
1. Chocolate-Everyone, including dogs, love chocolate and all of its decadence! However, chocolate can cause big problems if too much is ingested by your sweet pooch. There are 3 main chocolates that tend to cause the most problems: milk chocolate, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate being the worst.
Symptoms of toxicity: vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature, muscle rigity, increased breathing and heart rate, seizures. Toxicity can lead to heart failure, coma or death.
2. Alcohol-Let’s face it, It’s around this time of year, and it may be hidden in places you didn’t even know! Alcohol has many of the same effects on pets as it does in humans but greatly intensified. But, did you know that the yeast in raw bread dough can ferment and result in alcohol poisoing? Unbaked bread dough will expand quickly in a warm, moist environment and cause a bloated stomach which can lead to a GDV (gastric dilitation volvulus or twisted stomach) and lead to a life threatening situation.
Symptoms of alcohol toxicity: Staggering, drooling, retching, vomiting, weakness, elevated heart rate, collapse, low blood pressure, hypothermia and seizures. Severe toxicity can lead to respiratory failure, coma and death.
3. Human Medications-With colder weather, sickness usually comes along. Also, holidays tend to bring lots of guests around. It is likely that more medications will be on hand this time of year. Be sure to keep all of your medications stored up high or in a locked cabinet, as they can potentially be very harmful. Pets that ingest human medications can be affected in many different ways that range in severity.
4. Poinsettias-Beautiful plants that everyone loves to decorate with and kitties love to chew on! But, these bright colored plants can cause cats some gastrointestinal upset. Common signs include excessive drooling and vomiting. Although we don’t see many lilies this time of year, keep in mind that these are more toxic than poinsettias. Please keep these away from your cats and never let them chew on!
5. Tree Preservatives-Most people add preservatives to their live trees to keep them healthy and hydrated throughout the Holiday season. These preservatives usually contain sugars and chemicals of some sort. Please keep your pets away as ingesting will commonly cause vomiting.
If your pet has ingested any toxins, please call us immediately at (830) 964-3696 or, you can call Animal Poison Control Center at 855-764-7661 (there is a $39 per incident fee for APCC).
We hope that your family and your pets stay healthy and enjoy the Holidays this season!
From the loving and caring staff at,
Canyon Animal Clinic & Canyon City Animal Hospital
September/October 2014 by Ryan Bullock, DVM
Yesterday morning amidst a busy schedule at the clinic, a client walks in carry his beautiful 6 month old German short haired pointer in his arms. “What happened?” asks one of our receptionists. “Well, he was riding on top of the tool box of my truck and my son was driving… he took a turn a little sharp and my little buddy fell off the truck and hit the ground pretty hard.” Radiographs revealed 2 fractures of his hip. In reality this dog was pretty lucky because the bone should heal over the next 8 weeks without needing surgery, but it will be a painful process and require 8 weeks of strict cage restrictions. If there had been one more fracture present, then the options would have been a $3,000 surgery or euthanasia.
When clients discuss allowing their dogs to ride in the back of their truck, most of them talk about their dog with a sense of pride that they have been properly trained to “ride on their toolbox” safely. I have also heard these same clients say that “their dog knows how to fall off of the truck, hit the ground, and roll safely”. Does this sound safe to anyone else? The facts are that this practice is not safe for a variety of reasons. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the dog and driver of the truck are two of the most trained and safe pickup truck riders and drivers the earth has ever seen. What do you do about all of the other dangerous drivers out there who might rear end you, swerve into you, or run a red light into you and your dog while they are busy texting on their cell phone? What about the deer that runs right in front of you causing you to swerve while driving 50 mph on FM 306. Let’s also consider how dangerous this is for other drivers. When your 80 lb lab gets thrown into the air after you get T boned by the above dangerous driver, he becomes an 80 lb projectile that could crash into another car causing further damage and/or injury to passengers. Or consider when your dog does fall out and “hits the ground and rolls properly”, don’t you think the car behind you is going to swerve and possibly go off the road causing an accident trying to avoid your dog?
So what’s the solution?? My suggestion is to buy a dog crate, put it in the bed of your pickup, and strap a tie down over the top so the crate doesn’t slide around or get thrown from the truck in the event an accident occurs. Your little buddy can still ride in the back of truck, but this way I won’t have to worry about x-raying his broken bones or treating his road rash if he ever were to fall. Remember, it only takes 1 fall from a moving truck to have devastating consequences.
August 2014 by Dr. Ryan Bullock
I remember the frantic phone call well last summer when my brother’s wife was on the other end of the line telling me that their English Setter “Belle” had just been bitten several times by a rattlesnake (3 times in the neck and 5 times in the chest to be exact) while out on their land. My first thought was to get her emergency care, but my second thought was “thank goodness I had given her a rattlesnake vaccine 3 weeks prior when I had her in the clinic for a dental cleaning”. Belle spent several days in the hospital, but she eventually pulled through and is doing great now! I have no doubt that she would have died if she hadn’t been vaccinated.
In 2005, a company called Red Rock Biologics (redrockbiologics.com) developed a “rattlesnake vaccine”. The purpose of the vaccine is to lessen the severity of damage done by a rattlesnake bite and hopefully save pet’s lives. It works by producing protective antibodies in your pet’s body that will help to neutralize the venom. It is most effective with Western Diamondback bites, but is also at least partially effective against all other rattlesnakes except the Mojave. It is effective against Copperheads, but IS NOT effective against Water Moccasins (Cotton Mouths) or Coral Snakes.
The vaccine only lessens the severity of the bite, but does not entirely mitigate all of its effects, so you should still seek emergency care in every case! Factors such as size of pet, size of snake, location of bite, and amount of venom injected all contribute to the end result. Every snake bite is different and all need emergency veterinary care!
So what results have we seen? Last summer, we had 13 dogs come into the clinics with rattlesnake bites. Of these, 6 were vaccinated and 7 were not. All 6 vaccinated dogs survived and are doing well now. Of the 7 that were not vaccinated, 3 passed away as a result of their bites, and the other 4 survived and are doing well. Some of the deceased received the full course of treatment with antivenin, some did not due to finances. All in all, I am impressed with the results and recommend vaccination for any “at risk” dog. I know “Belle” highly recommends it to all of her dog buddies!