Monthly Archives: February 2016

Pets and Human Multivitamins

Another warning from the Veterinary Poisons Information Service that might be of interest to pet lovers:
“As winter sets in, many of us have been reaching for multivitamin supplements in the hope of supporting immunity and boosting energy levels, therefore increasing the likelihood of our pets accidentally ingesting these colourful tablets. Indeed in 2015 the VPIS was consulted in 41 cases of ingestion of such supplements in dogs and 4 cases in cats.

The toxicity of multivitamins is dependent on the ingredients and dose ingested. On acute ingestion, they are generally considered of low toxicity. Many animals remain asymptomatic or develop mild gastrointestinal signs that can often be managed at home.

However, in significant doses, the following constituents may be of concern:

Iron: in excess, elemental iron can cause haematemesis, haemorrhagic diarrhoea, drowsiness, and weakness. In severe cases, this can progress to dehydration, shock, renal failure and liver damage.
Vitamin D: certain compounds of Vitamin D can lead to hypercalcaemia in dogs. However, most UK multivitamins tend to contain the compound Colecalciferol, which is well tolerated in dogs on acute exposure.
Xylitol: used as a sugar-free sweetener, xylitol can be found in supplements (and in chewing gum!!), particularly in those for children. It can cause hypoglycaemia and liver failure in dogs.
We recommend contacting us regarding ingestion of multivitamin supplements if there is any uncertainty around exposure, which in many cases may prevent unnecessary treatment.”

Jerky Treat Warning For Dog Owners

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service has put out the following warning:

“A reported increase in the number of dogs presenting with kidney problems has raised the concern that these cases could be linked to the ingestion of imported dried jerky treats. Indeed many of these dogs had been fed dried jerky type dog treats, specifically chicken or duck, identified as originating from China.

Clinical signs consisted of a decreased appetite, increased thirst and increased need to urinate. Although these signs are vague and non-specific, blood and urine tests were indicative of a rare kidney disorder, showing a higher than normal urine glucose level along with a normal blood glucose level. Other causes such as diabetes, kidney infections or leptospirosis were excluded.

Although this syndrome has also been reported in Australia, USA, UK and Europe, there is currently no specific toxin identified as the cause.”



Dogs biting Dogs

A lot is written about dogs biting humans and its legal and medical implications.  What’s less written about is the legal and medical implications of dogs biting dogs.

Legal advise on how to handle “dog-on-dog” bites in the UK can be found on the web and this is from a website:

 The biting of dogs by other dogs could be viewed as something of a grey area of law. Each case may be seen differently, with a key issue being the notion of whether the hound responsible for delivering the attack is deemed to have been adequately controlled by its owner.
This is because the law says that it is an offence for a dog owner to allow their dog to be “dangerously out of control”. If another dog attacks your dog, and particularly if you fear that it will injure you if you attempt to stop the attack, it may be that the owner of the other dog is guilty of a failure to control their pet. A court will be able to make a decision on the circumstances surrounding the attack and whether or not an offence was committed.
It is illegal for a dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere, including in public and private spaces and even in the dog owner’s own home, so the location of the incident is likely to be irrelevant if your dog has been attacked.
The punishment for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control can be any combination of the following:
• A fine of up to £5,000
• A jail sentence of up to 6 months
• Destruction of the offending dog
• A ban on future dog ownership.
You can also take the other dog’s owner to court to claim back any veterinary bills you have had to pay as a result of the attack.
If a dog is allowed to injure a guide dog, the owner can be sentenced to up to 3 years in jail, with a fine also being possible.”

That’s for the legal bit and as it’s not my area of expertise, I have just quoted from the website.

However I have seen my fair share of  the medical repercussions of “dog-on-dog” bites in practice, from minor to severe injuries.

I will give you an example from practice.  Freddy, a quiet and lovely greyhound was brought to the surgery after being attacked by another dog.  He couldn’t stand up properly and seemed to be in a lot of pain.  On superficial inspection, he apparently had only a few “minor”-looking  puncture wounds all over his body and a small skin flap on the right side of his neck.

He was administered medication to alleviate his pain that night.  Freddy was admitted the following morning for explorative surgery.  Every puncture mark was opened up a bit more to check the muscle underneath.  Under practically every puncture mark a muscle shear was revealed and was the cause the intense pain felt in this dog and the inability to stand up.  The most shocking find in this dog was that the jugulars on both sides during this incident had been missed by the attacking dog by about 2mm!!

This is not the only time I have seen injuries like this.  Another dog that was brought in with similar injuries and had been seen by a colleague out of hours.  He just couldn’t put his leg down.  Opening up the wounds revealed that the bitten foreleg had a chewed through triceps muscle.  No wonder he couldn’t use his leg.  Once the muscles were cleaned up and sutured together, the pain subsided and the healing continued uneventfully.

Dog bites are very different from “cat-on-cat” bites.  With cats, when they bite, they often leave a puncture mark and with those bites, they easily get infected (also if a cat bites a human).  I have however not seen instances like I have seen in dogs where exploratory surgery revealed extensive damage, apart from when the puncture hole was over the chest cavity.

If you see how a dog can chew and gnaw through flesh and bones of a butcher’s bone, you can imagine what damage those teeth and strength of jaws can do during a dog attack.

Just flushing out a wound at that time may not be sufficient.  If there is significant pain (i.e. the dog not using the leg, crying out in pain or becoming defensive and  aggressive when approached) the wound may well need to be opened up for the deeper tissues to be inspected and repaired.