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Autumn Tips and Hazards


Fall time means lots of upcoming holidays, leaves are changing, new plants are growing, and everyone is getting ready for the snow!  Autumn is a beautiful season in the Buffalo area, but it can come with its fill of potential dangers for our pets.  Here is a list of autumn hazards to be aware of.  If you have any questions, please call the Village Veterinary Clinic of Hamburg, 716-646-4023.

Mushrooms: While most mushrooms are generally non-toxic, certain types can be very dangerous. The proper identification of mushrooms is extremely difficult and often only done by experts. Therefore, all ingestions of unidentified mushrooms are toxic until proven otherwise. Depending on what type of mushroom is ingested, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, tremors, and seizures, with liver and kidney damage occurring later. Pet owners should play it safe and get rid of any mushrooms in the yard.

Mothballs: Mothballs typically contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. While the old fashioned mothballs (naphthalene) are often considered more toxic, both can be deadly. Symptoms include vomiting, severe abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, possible kidney or liver failure, and severe abnormality of your pet’s red blood cells.

Antifreeze: As everyone prepares boats, cars or cabins for winter, pets may be exposed to antifreeze. As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs, depending on the size of animal, can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. There is then a phase of false improvement, but internal damage is occuring, and crystals develop in the kidneys, which result in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.

Mouse and Rat Poisons (Rodenticides): As you prepare to winterize your garage, cabin, or house, make sure to place poisonous baits in areas where your pet cannot get to them.  Because there are several different types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action.  If your pet has ingested any rodenticide it is important to know the active ingredient to start treatment immediately.  Unfortunately, only some of the poisonings have an antidote.

Compost bins or piles: Piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding food products in your backyard compost pile have the potential to contain dangerous mycotoxins.  These dangerous molds can cause tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours or ingestion.

Red maple leaves: While this in not a problem for your dog or cat, red maple leaves are toxic to horses.  As little as one pound of dried maple leaves blowing into your horse’s pasture can be toxic. When ingested, these leaves result in a severe hemolytic anemia – it causes red blood cells to rupture, causing weakness, pale gums, an elevated heart rate and shock.

Fleas: During this time of year most people will stop their flea medications because temperatures are cooling down.  Beware!  It only takes about 40 degrees for a flea and tick to come out of their hibernation.  Fleas and ticks in fact are extremely hardy insects and are capable of surviving very harsh winters.  They typically find a warm place to live during the winter months.  This can include coming into your house, garage, under a porch or deck, etc.  We often see a lot of flea issues this time of year because of untimely stopping of flea medications or because fleas thought your house were a great place to live during the winter.  Please treat all dogs and cats with appropriate veterinary approved flea medications year round.

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