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Keeping pets safe in spring

Posted: 8am 27 Oct 2020

A North Lakes vet is urging people to be aware of the hidden dangers some flowers and plants pose for their precious pets.

Greencross Vets chief veterinary officer Magdoline Awad says many people adopted furry family members during the COVID-19 lockdown and, with spring in full swing, may not be aware which common plants and spring flowers were toxic to dogs, cats and guinea pigs.

“It is important for new pet owners to know of the dangers that spring can bring,” Magdoline says.

She says flowering and non-flowering plants can lead to a variety of allergies, and many common grasses, weeds and flowers could disrupt pets’ outside adventures.

Sometimes these allergies can be due to direct contact with the plant, while other times the plant’s pollen can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin of allergic pets. Other plants are more dangerous when they are eaten.

Curiosity a danger

“Just like kids, our pets love to explore and try new things – tasting, smelling, chewing and rolling on things that they shouldn’t,” Magdoline says.

“Simply coming into contact with certain plants and weeds can cause pets to suffer an uncontrollable urge to scratch, lick, chew and rub at their skin until fur loss and dermatitis develops.”

Magdoline says it’s important for people to recognise the signs a pet may have come into contact with something toxic.

Flowers, foods to avoid

Eating certain flowers, fruit seeds and plants can cause toxicity or internal blockages.

Flowers to avoid include tulips, azaleas, daffodils, chrysanthemums, cyclamens, and oleander, while foods that pets should not consume include chocolate, fruit seeds, macadamias, wild mushrooms, onions, garlic, grapes and raisins.

Symptoms pets have eaten dangerous food include vomiting and diarrhoea, which can lead to liver and kidney failure.

Keep and eye on pets

Greencross North Lakes practice manager Amy Ward says it’s important for pet owners to keep a close eye on pets during spring.

“If you recognise any of the signs that indicate your pet may have come into contact with something toxic, call or visit Greencross Vets North Lakes immediately.

“For those who want to practice safe social distancing, we also offer WebVet, an at-home video call service, so our dedicated and qualified team of veterinarians and nurses can assess your pet via video call, to provide advice and support,” Amy says.

“We also have minimal contact offerings, which allow pet parents to drop and collect their pets outside our North Lakes clinic to reduce physical interaction.”

Bouquets a bother

Magdoline says among the most common dangers to cats are cut lilies, found in many bouquets.

“Even the pollen can cause serious kidney problems. Avoid lilies if you have cats at home,” she says.

“Identification of these worrisome plants allows avoidance and early recognition of the signs and symptoms that may become present in a pet that has had a reaction.”

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