Category Archives: Dogs

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.

A Message From Dr. Jennifer Fletcher: Canine Influenza

Recently an outbreak of Canine Influenza, also known as CIV, occurred in Lancaster, PA. Canine Influenza is caused by a virus that actually originated in horses. Symptoms are similar to kennel cough but usually more severe: coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, fever and lethargy. It is more likely to go deeper into the lungs than kennel cough and cause pneumonia. It is transmitted through the air with nose-to-nose contact (coughing) and contaminated objects with the virus (toys, water dishes, etc). Dogs that are boarded in kennels, attend grooming facilities and dog shows are most at risk due to the increased contact with many dogs and the high stress dogs undergo in these particular places. Diagnosis can be made through a throat swab or a blood test and x-rays of the lungs helps to diagnose potential pneumonia. Treatment consists of antibiotics for 2-3 weeks depending on the severity. If a dog develops pneumonia, hospitalization is likely necessary. A vaccine is available and is recommended for dogs that are considered to be high risk for exposure (contact with unknown dogs through dog parks, kennels, veterinary hospitals, grooming facilities and dog shows). It is given as 2 vaccines 3-4 weeks apart as an initial vaccination and then once yearly. The vaccine can not “give” a dog symptoms of the flu. The influenza vaccine will be required for surgery patients and medical boarders at AHDC starting January 2013 if your dog is health enough to receive the vaccine.

Save the Dates: March 9th & 10th for PawsAbilities 2013

Save the Dates: March 9th & 10th for PawsAbilities 2013 For event details, go to: pawsabilities Richele is pictured here with a service dog named Julia. She & her daughter have been active volunteers for 8 years with PawsAbilites. She started doing this when her daughter was in 4th grade with her Girl Scout troop. We hope to see you there! Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center 2300 North Cameron Street Harrisburg, PA 17110  

A Follow-up Story About the Rescued Dog Sheba

We received a letter and picture today in the mail from the owner of Sheba’s birth mother. Sheba is the third puppy from the left in this photograph and is shown with her mom, Becky, in April 2007. The litter was born on Valentine’s Day during an ice storm and even after 5 years, the Sprecher family recognized Sheba when her tragic story was on TV last week. The Sprecher’s, along with several other generous and caring folks, have mailed donations to assist the Derry family with the cost of Sheba’s surgery. Thank you to everyone that has donated, it is a true act of kindness and is greatly appreciated by the Derry family. Sheba had a surgery to repair her leg fracture at AHDC on Monday and was later released to recover at home with her new family.

Pet Halloween Alert: The Danger of Xylitol Sweetener

Xylitol toxicity in dogs Does your dog have a sweet tooth? Does he drool at the thought of sharing that deliciously sweet snack with you? Now there is one more reason to keep the sweets all to yourself. The sweetener xylitol is toxic to dogs. It has been known to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs for years, but recently it has been discovered that it can cause acute liver disease and a coagulopathy (inability to clot the blood). A study found that 0.5g/kg or more of ingested xylitol can cause liver failure. What does this mean in the real world? One piece of sugar free gum with xylitol has around 0.3g of xylitol in it. Some gums can have as much as 1g of xylitol per piece. If you bake with the xylitol powder one cup has 190g of xylitol. If a recipe calls for 1 cups of xylitol to make 24 cup cakes, it will only take 2 cupcakes to cause acute liver disease in a 50lb dog. What are the signs of xylitol toxicity? Vomiting is usually the first sign of toxicity and then in 30-60 minutes hypoglycemia can occur. The signs of hypoglycemia can be lethargy, ataxia (stumbling around), collapse, and seizure. In cases where gum with xylitol was ingested the hypoglycemia may be delayed for up to 12 hours. In severe over doses some dogs do not display the signs of hypoglycemia prior to the onset of liver failure. Instead lethargy and vomiting occurred 9-72 hours after exposure. They developed petechia (small spots of bleeding on the skin and mucus membranes like gums), echymosis (larger spots of bleeding seen on the skin and mucus membranes), and gastric hemorrhage (bleeding in the stomach). What can you do if your dog does ingest xylitol? Immediately bring him into us and let us know which items contained xylitol. Remember how much you pet consumed (always estimate on the high side because it is always better to be overly cautious when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your faithful friend). The moral of the story is to keep the sweets up and away from your furry friend. Xylitol may help you watch your waist line, but it can be deadly to your furry friend.

Dog survives fatal accident that killed owner in Lebanon County

The following story was written by Trang Do for Fox 43 News A deadly accident in Lebanon County Saturday killed two people and left a dog injured and homeless. The dachshund, named Sheeba, is now on the road to recovery thanks to a Dauphin County animal hospital. A week ago, Sheeba couldn’t even lift her head up. But now she’s up and walking and slowly returning to her old self again. “She’s blown me away. I think dogs are extremely resilient and she’s evidence of that,” said Dr. Jennifer Fletcher of the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County. Sheeba broke her leg in two places and bruised her lungs as a result of the crash, which killed her owner. She was taken in by a dog lover who responded to the accident. “Bringing her here, it made all the difference in the world,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Worhach of the PA Air National Guard. “These guys did a great job. Bringing her back and getting her lively again.” Sheeba was so quiet that first responders didn’t even realize she was in the car. But she was eventually found pinned underneath the passenger side seat. “She was just kind of limp, you know what I mean? Not responsive or nothing like that. And they said, like I said, she was in shock,” Worhach said. Sheeba needs surgery for her broken leg. Through a special fund for rescued animals, the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County is helping to pay for her treatment. But more is needed for Sheeba’s care. “She’s very quiet. She doesn’t know anybody either, so she’s slowly getting adjusted to our family,” said Patricia Derry, whose family is adopting Sheeba permanently. “I think she’s going to be happy if we get her well.” The Animal Hospital of Dauphin County is accepting monetary donations for Sheeba’s surgery. You can mail or bring a check to the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County at 241 S Hershey Rd Harrisburg, PA 17112. Just write Sheeba’s name in the memo. To watch the Fox 43 news broadcast video, go to:,0,307953,print.story

This Week is Deaf Dog Awareness Week

In 1996, members of the Deaf Dogs E-Mail List, founded by Canadian and future board member, Lindsay Patten, rallied twice to raise the funds needed to fly deaf dogs to loving homes and away from certain death. This inspired the list members to propose that a not-for-profit organization be founded “to speak on behalf of and assist in the betterment of life for deaf dogs everywhere.” The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF) is the result of an idea that was long past due. To learn more about the The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF), go to:

Next Week is Deaf Dog Awareness Week

This year, Deaf Dog Awareness Week is from September 16th-20th. We will be featuring stories about some of our clients, patients and friends as well as other information about deaf dog education. If you know of any interesting stories, please email them to us so that we can share them. Outside of an obvious physical difference, deaf dogs are just your normal, everyday dogs.They do have a better excuse for not listening than most dogs, but they live in our houses, sleep on our beds, play with our children and ride in our cars. They go for walks, chase balls, bark at squirrels (yes, they do bark), and at the end of the day, they collapse in front of the TV with the rest of the family. They share our lives, and are our companions and friends.

This Coming Sunday is National Dog Day!

National Dog Day
National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage. You can celebrate by planning a fun activity with your dog or contacting one of the local shelter/rescue groups in our area to learn about the various ways in which you can help them. For example: