Autumn Awareness

posted on October 01, 2015 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Autumn has arrived, and the new season brings new risks to our pets.  There are a couple of toxicities or risks for our pets as the weather turns cooler.

Chrysanthemums or mums are toxic to our dogs and cats.  Symptoms of ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, decreased appetite, enlarged pupils, depression, and incoordination.  Some pets are also sensitive to contact with the flower on their skin and may develop a rash, itch, or sores.  Contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested a mum and is showing symptoms.

There are a variety of mushrooms popping up all over this time of year.  Some are completely harmless and will not cause any issues.  Others can cause some gastrointestinal tract irritation that may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.  More toxic versions can cause hallucinations or liver or kidney failure.  Because of the wide variety of mushrooms and the difficulty in identifying them, if your pet ingests a mushroom in your yard you should contact a veterinarian immediately.  Hospitalization, inducing vomiting, activated charcoal, fluids, bloodwork, and sometimes even stomach lavage is needed to treat these pets.  The sooner treatment begins the better the prognosis, but some mushroom ingestions can be fatal.  Signs your dog may have ingested a mushroom can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, incoordination or walking drunk, depression, tremors, seizures, yellowing of the skin, changes in thirst and urination, and changes in pupil size.

Walnuts, corn cobs, and acorns all seem to be abundant this time of year as well.  These can cause issues with being mildly toxic, such as walnuts which can cause tremors and seizures or acorns which can cause vomiting or diarrhea.  These items can also cause foreign body obstructions which can become life threatening.  Vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, straining or a lack of bowel movements can all be symptoms of this.

Lastly, just a reminder that Halloween candy such as sugar free candies or chocolate can be toxic to your pets.

If you think or know your pet has gotten into any of these potential hazards, please contact us.  Hopefully with a little caution, we can enjoy the beautiful autumn colors while keeping our pets safe.