Category Archives: Cats

Easter lilies are toxic to cats!

It’s Easter time again and perhaps the prettiest decoration for Easter can also be the deadliest for your cat. All parts (stems, leaves, and flowers) of Easter lilies (actually all plants in the Lilium category) are toxic and can cause acute kidney failure within 12 hours of ingestion. Cats don’t even need to swallow the plant, even biting into a leaf or drinking the plant water can be harmful. If you suspect your cat has ingested a lily plant, do not wait for signs of illness to occur. Contact a veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will induce vomiting (if within a few hours of ingestion), administer charcoal to bind any ingested toxin and likely recommend hospitalization to flush out the toxins using intraveous fluids. If you are unsure, take a picture of the plant and send it to us or download the Petoxins app from the ASPCA. ( Dr. Fletcher  

10 Most Common Dog Poisons

Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S (cats and dogs). Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets.
  • Dog poison No. 1: Humane medications. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.
    • Anti-depressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
    • Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.
  • Dog poison No. 2: Incorrect use of Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. If you have any specific question, please don’t hesitate to call.
  • Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs. ◾Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
    • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
    • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
    • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
    • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
  • Dog poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.
  • Dog poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.
  • Dog poison No. 6: Household plants. They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include: ◾Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
    • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.
    • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Dog poison No. 7: Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.
  • Dog poison No. 8: Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.
  • Dog poison No. 9: Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.
  • Dog poison No. 10: Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them.

Cat Dental Tip: Having a Hard Time Brushing your Cat’s Teeth? Try Tuna Juice!

Cat Dental Tip: Having a Hard Time Brushing your Cat’s Teeth? Try Tuna Juice! That’s right! Start by just handling the face, then the lips, then begin rubbing the teeth and gums of your cat with your finger. Try a few drops of water flavored tuna juice from a can. From here you can slowly start to work in a more structured brushing routine. tuna juice for cats

Clinker the Kitten in Harrisburg

Clinker is a hard working kitten at a local office here in Harrisburg. Being a feisty kitten, Clinker explores and runs around the office at full speed. Unfortunately one day, he did not realize that he was not quick enough to escape a closing door. He got his neck caught between the heavy door and the door frame. When one of the office workers noticed what happened, they rushed him to us right away. Although there were no broken bones, Clinker’s spinal cord in his neck was severely injured. When he first arrived, he couldn’t walk, stand or even sit upright on his own. After a few days of strict rest, pain medications and anti-inflammatories, Clinker was able to stand and walk short distances but his movement was still abnormal. to see the video, go to After 3 days in the hospital, Clinker was discharged to his “foster mom” who continued the TLC and medications. About one week later, she reported to us that Clinker was completely back to normal, running and pouncing like the kitten he was before his accident. Tomorrow we’ll share a video of Clinker one week after his injury.  

For Our Cat Patients: Cats Need Care, too.

Harrisburg Cat Veterinarian We know that it can be tough to get our feline friends in for a Wellness Exam. But even young indoor cats need to come in and get their nose-to-tail examinations at least once a year. Just like dogs, cats age more quickly than people — on average about seven years for each of our years. Annual examinations can pick up any changes, such as a heart murmur, or kidney changes before they become serious. If caught early enough, medication can be added, or diet changed to prolong the life of your furry companion. Most importantly, cats are adapt at hiding illness and injury. So when you see them acting differently, it’s very important to bring them to one of our veterinarians for an exam. At the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County in Harrisburg we take special care to make sure your cat will have the best visit possible. Here are some tips for how the make the trip easier for you and your cat: ◾Choose a cat carrier with a top that easily opens or lifts off. ◾Keep the carrier out in the open in a safe place so your cat can adjust to going in and out. Throw treats inside from time to time to give your cat a treat for going in. ◾Feed your cat inside the carrier. ◾When your cat looks comfortable, start taking him or her on a tour of the house. When that feels good, start with short trips in the car. ◾Make the trip as rewarding as possible. Offer treats and calming language. Keep the loud music and sharp turns to a minimum, especially during the first few trips. ◾When you make your trip to our hospital bring along a favorite toy and/or a blanket with familiar smells. ◾Most important: keep your cool! Cats can sense our emotions, if you’re calm, it will help them feel better, too.

Lola has Diabetes Mellitus: The Importance of Wellness Bloodwork and Early Detection

The Importance of Wellness Bloodwork and Early Detection, by Dr. Jennifer Fletcher
Dr. Jennifer Fletcher
We would like to share a story with you about a recent patient that was diagnosed with a serious condition known as Diabetes. Lola is a 10 year old female cat whose owner brought her in for her yearly physical exam and vaccines. Her owner had noticed some weight loss recently but Lola had always been a bigger cat. Other than the weight loss, Lola was acting completely normal at home. Aside from some tartar on her teeth, Lola appeared to be a completely healthy cat on her physical exam. Lola’s owner decided to take advantage of the wellness bloodwork offered here at AHDC, which revealed that Lola has diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which cats become resistant to the insulin that their body makes, resulting in high blood sugar and sugar in their urine. With proper management of diet, insulin injections, weight loss and blood sugar measurements, most cats do quite well with this disease. Some cats may even be able to be taken off insulin all together. All too often though, this disease is found in the pet after it has been present for some time and become very sick from the lack of insulin. In Lola’s case, her diabetes was detected early on her wellness bloodwork. She started her insulin injections yesterday and we will be monitoring her progress very closely. Call us to discuss wellness bloodwork in your pet today!

A Mother’s Day Present: Kittens

        Matilda is a shy cat who lives outside and got an early Mother’s Day present, a litter of kittens! One of our kind hearted clients is helping Matilda raise her babies inside where they can all remain safe. Unfortunately, there is no room in her house to keep all of them, so we need to find them loving homes. Here are a few pictures of the cuties. The mostly white kitten is Dustin. The two grey tabbies: Doodles (the littlest of the two) and Spunky. The grey-peachy one is Andre’. They are just starting to try and eat kitten food on their own. If you are interested in offering one them a forever home, please contact us at the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County.