Tag Archives: pets

Common Household Poisons and Toxicities in Pets-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

Common Household Poisons and Toxicities in Pets

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month.  When a poisoning is suspected, time and knowledge will be the best weapons you have and will give your pet the best chance of a full recovery.

Poisons are defined as any substance that can damage or impede the function of bodily organs, tissues, or body system processesThere are many poisons commonly found in pet homes.  Depending on the type of poison and the level of exposure, the effects of poison exposure can range from minimal, to severe, to even fatal.  Awareness of these hazards and a knowledge of how to handle the situation can sometimes literally save a pet’s life.

Commonly Encountered Pet Poisons:

Poisonous Foods:

Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: These products are known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death in pets.  Severity depends on quantity ingested vs the weight of the pet, so it is important to have information on your pet’s current weight, how much was ingested and, in the case of chocolate, what type of chocolate was ingested (dark vs light).

Xylitol: Xylitol is a calorie free sweetener found in many gums and toothpastes, as well as some candy, peanut butter, and baked goods.  Even small amounts of xylitol can cause liver failure and dangerously low blood sugar, so ingestion is always a veterinary emergency.  Xylitol can be found under other names on product labels including birch sugar, birch bark extract, wood sugar, sucre de bouleu, and Xylo-pentane.

Grapes and Raisins: Vets remain unsure of why grapes and raisins are toxic, but they are known to cause acute kidney failure, even in small amounts.  Grape/Raisin ingestion should be treated as a veterinary emergencyregardless of how many grapes or raisins were ingested and regardless of what type of grapes/raisins were eating (red, gold, or green).

Garlic, Onions, and Chives: These foods can cause gastrointestinal irritation but can also cause red blood cell damage, leading to anemia.  Cats are more susceptible, but dogs can be affected if large quantities are ingested.

Macadamia Nuts: Dogs seem to be the only pets who are sensitive to these nuts. Toxicity symptoms include weakness, ataxia (wobbily gait), depression, vomiting, tremors, and increased body temperature.  Without further ingestion, symptoms can resolve within 48 hours, but a veterinarian should be contacted if ingestion is suspected.

Human Medications:

It is advised that owners never give their pets human medication without consulting their veterinarian. Owners should also keep their medications well out of pets’ reach to prevent accidental ingestion.  Many human medications are metabolized differently by animals, and ingestion can potentially lead to overdoses, toxicities, organ failure, or even death.
If your pet ingests a human medication, you should call Pet Poison Control (see below) and/or your veterinarian immediately.

Pet Medications:

Even medications prescribed by your veterinarian should be kept out of your pet’s reach.  When used as prescribed, your pet’s medications should be safe and beneficial; however, most medications and even supplements could potentially cause problems if the incorrect dose is given, if given to the wrong pet, or if the pet accidentally gets into the full bottle of medication.

Alcohol Poisoning:

Pets should never have access to alcohol as ingestion can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, tremors, coma, or even death. If your pet ingests alcohol, it is important to contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

Marijuana Toxicity:

Pets can suffer toxicity after eating any part of the marijuana plant, as well as from smoke inhalation, consuming hashish oil, or from eating edibles containing THC.  Signs of marijuana toxicity include ataxia (wobbily gait), hyperreactivity to stimuli (flinch easily), dribbling urine, decreased responsiveness and, in severe cases, seizures or pet becoming non-responsive.
Because pets metabolize marijuana differently than humans, a veterinarian should be contacted if marijuana toxicity is known or suspected.

Household Product Poisoning:

Rodenticides, Snail/Slug Bait, Ant Bait: These baits represent significant dangers to pets as they are commonly placed in public places and are often scented to attract animals. 
Symptoms of toxicity vary depending on what was eaten, so knowledge of the brand and/or ingredients can be very helpful to the veterinary team.  If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested pest bait, it should be considered a veterinary emergency.

Essential Oils: These oils have been known to cause GI upset, central nervous system depression, organ damage, and respiratory issues/allergic airway syndrome.
Wintergreen, sweet birch, eucalyptus, clove, tea tree, and pennyroyal oils appear to be particularly toxic.

Household Chemicals: Not surprisingly, many common household chemicals and cleaners have potential to cause toxicity or GI upset.  Some of the most common include: Laundry pods, bleach, toilet bowl tablets/cleaner, antifreeze, carpet fresheners, and carpet shampoos.

Plant and Flower Toxicities

A number of plants and flowers can be toxic to pets.  The toxic reactions can range from gastrointestinal upset to organ failure.  Symptoms, severity, and treatment will vary based on the type of plant, portion eaten, and amount eaten, so having this information at hand can be very helpful for your veterinarian.
ASPCA Poison Control maintains a comprehensive database of toxic vs non-toxic plants, which owners can easily access from their website (see below).

Common toxic plants include (but are not limited to): Sago Palms, Lilies, Oleander, Aloe, Tulips, Poisonous Mushrooms, Tobacco, Azalea, Foxglove, and Philodendron.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a poison:
Identification of the potential poison can provide crucial information for your veterinarian.  Gather whatever information you can, including boxes/wrappers, ingredient lists, and quantities ingested to bring to your veterinarian.

Contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic immediately.  Additionally, contact an animal poison control center (see below) for important treatment information that can help your veterinary team.  Note that there is usually a charge for these calls, but the information can be extremely valuable when time is of the essence.

What NOT to do:
It is not recommended that you attempt to treat toxicities at home. Do NOT induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, as this has been associated with esophageal irritation or even ulceration.

It is a common occurrence for pets to ingest a potentially dangerous item in their lifetime.  In these cases, early veterinary intervention is crucial for the best outcome for your pets. With fast and appropriate care, most pets recover fully from accidental poisonings.

Important Phone Numbers:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435
Animal Poison Control Center: (855) 764-7661
ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List: Click Here 

If you have any questions about pet poisons, you suspect your pet may have ingested a poison, or you have concerns about your pet’s health, please contact our hospital!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Noise Phobias in Pets

Noise Phobias in Pets

With July 4th quickly approaching many of us are thinking about backyard barbeques and get togethers with friends.  Unfortunately, for many pets and their owners, this holiday brings anxiety and fear thanks to the traditional fireworks displays that Independence Day brings.

Noise phobias are a common affliction among pets.  The condition is defined as excessive fear of a sound or several sounds resulting in a feeling of panic in the pet. It can be in response to seemingly mundane sounds (such as a beeping microwave), however a reaction to fireworks and/or thunder may be the most common.
This panic can be displayed as hiding, urinating/defecating, drooling, panting, pacing, trembling/shaking, or excessive barking.  In extreme cases, the pet may actually try and flee the area, even breaking through windows in an attempt to escape!  In fact, shelters report that the July 4th holiday results in the largest number of escaped pets being brought into their facilities.

The cause of noise phobias is often not known to the pet owner or behavior professionals. Genetics can play a roll in phobias, but past trauma or even a lack of early positive exposure can result in phobias as well.  Regardless of the source, keeping your pet safe and comfortable, then managing their fear is of the upmost importance.

Management of the Environment: 
While there are long-term treatment options for noise phobias, initially keeping your pet safe and content should be your primary concern.

Safety First: Make sure that your pet can be safely and comfortably contained during a fearful event.  A quiet room without windows is ideal, but you can also use a small room with sound-absorbing window covers.  Make sure your pet cannot reach or jump through the windows and cannot hurt themselves on furnishings.
Make this are a “safe space” by training your pet to relax here far before they are exposed to the scary noise.  Have comfortable bedding, familiar toys, etc.  If your pet enjoys time in a crate, have a familiar crate set up in this space, as well.  Encourage your pet to spend calm time there whenever possible.

Security Jackets and Pheromones:  It can be helpful to use calming pheromones (Adaptil in dogs and Feliway for cats) in your pet’s “safe space.”  These pheromones can help instill a sense of calm in your pet and help establish the area as a place to relax.  Additionally, multiple companies make compression jackets (such as the “Thunder Shirt”) for pets which can further help with your pet’s sense of security.

Nutraceutical and Pharmaceutical Options:
In addition to creating a safe environment, there are both nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical medications that may be able to help your pet.
Nutraceuticals: There are a variety of nutraceutical options on the market to help calm your pet.  While these usually do not have as significant an effect as prescription medications, many owners report positive results with theses products.  However, because the pet supplement industry is only loosely regulated, it is important to consider the product and its source.  Your veterinarian can help make recommendations for your individual pet.
Pharmaceuticals: There are several prescription medications that have been proven helpful in managing fears and phobias in pet dogs.  A wellness exam and consultation with your veterinarian can help determine the best option for you and your pet.

When starting a new supplement or medication, it is recommended that you give it to your pet BEFORE the actual phobic event.  That way, you know how it affects your pet and for how long.  Some products can have what is called a paradoxical effect in individual pets, meaning it could result in hyperactivity or anxiety, making that product a poor choice for managing phobias in that particular pet.

Behavioral Management:
For long term care of phobias in pets, behavioral management is your best option.  Consulting with an experienced positive-reinforcement based trainer about your pet’s fears is a good way to start.  Note that you should NEVER use “correction” or “punishment” based training to manage phobias! 

Ideally, pet owners should consult with a Veterinary Behaviorist about pets with severe phobias.  These are veterinarians with special training in animal behavior. They are able to both recommend the best nutraceutical/pharmaceutical options and behavioral training options to help your pet long-term with managing their phobias.

With Independence Day around the corner, now is the time to consider your pet’s phobias and safety.  Make sure your pet has their collar/tag and microchip information up to date in the event of an escape.  If you feel that your pet would benefit from supplements or medications to help get them through the holiday, contact your veterinarian early!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

The Importance of Healthy Weight in Our Pets-Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

Obesity is one of the most common chronic health conditions that veterinarians identify in American pets.  Chronic excess weight is linked to a number of serious and costly health problems in pets.  These problems are uncomfortable for the pet, can be expensive for the owner to manage, and can significantly decrease a pet’s longevity and wellness.  In fact, studies have shown that being chronically overweight can decrease a pet’s lifespan by up to 20%!

Excess fat not only puts additional strain on the supportive structures of the body (bone, cartilage, and soft tissues), but it actually leads to systemic chronic inflammation. Fat is an active, dynamic tissue which secretes proteins and hormones into the body known as adipokines.  These adipokines regulate energy homeostasis, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity, as well as immune and cardiovascular functions.  In cases of excess weight and/or obesity, adipokines begin to have detrimental effects which lead to chronic body-wide inflammation.  This inflammatory state can cause or exacerbate many wellness and longevity impacting conditions in the body:

Joint Problems and Arthritis

Exercise Intolerance

Breathing Difficulties


Cardiovascular Conditions and Heart Disease

Immune System Problems and Endocrine Disorders



Determining if your Pet is Overweight

How do you know if your pet is “overweight”?  Experts believe that a pet is overweight to obese if they weigh 10%-20% more than their “ideal” weight.  It is important to note, that this could be a matter of a couple pounds if your pet is small (1-2 pounds for a 10 pound dog or cat) and only five pounds in a 50lb dog!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 
1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween Season 

Halloween Pet Dangers

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween Season

Halloween can be a wonderful holiday for children and adults alike.  Many people love to enjoy this festive season with the entire family, including their pets.

To make sure your pet stays safe and enjoys this holiday, we offer the following advice:

Keep Those Halloween Treats Far Out of Pets’ Reach:  Halloween candies are the source of several dangers to our animal family members.  Most owners are aware that chocolate is toxic to their pets.  Chocolate contains caffeine as well as a toxin called Theobromine that in high enough doses can be very toxic to our animal companions.  Toxicity is based on the amount of cocoa ingested (dark chocolate contains more) vs. the weight of the pet.

“Healthier” Halloween treats may contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs.  Ingestion is a veterinary emergency and can even be fatal to our canine friends.

Overindulgence in candy (or other holiday treats), even those that don’t contain chocolate or xylitol can cause gastric upset or even a dangerous condition called pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).  These can be serious enough to warrant a trip to the veterinary clinic or even a hospital stay!

Finally, candy wrappers also pose a risk to indulgent pets.  Most pets don’t bother to unwrap the candy that they sneak off with.  Ingested wrappers can be very irritating to the intestinal tract and in some cases could even result in an intestinal blockage.  Note that even empty candy wrappers are attractive to our pets as they still smell like the treats they once contained.

Beware of Raisins and Grapes: While raisins make for a sweet, healthy alternative to Halloween candies, they can be very dangerous to our pets.  Grapes and raisins are poisonous to many dogs (and potentially cats).  Toxicity can be severe enough to cause kidney damage or even death in some cases.  Experts are still not sure how much grape material is required for toxicity or why some pets react more profoundly than others, so all grape/raisin ingestion is considered a veterinary emergency.

Watch Out for Halloween PlantsPumpkins, gourds, and corn are traditional Halloween foods and decorations.  While eating properly prepared pumpkins, squash and corn is relatively harmless for our pets, in some situations they can be dangerous.  Corn cobs are very attractive to dogs.  If ingested, cobs very may get stuck in the pet’s intestinal tract and require surgery to remove.  Similarly, decorative gourds/squash can be chewed up in large chunks that can get bound up in the intestines.  Finally, festive carved Jack o’ Lanterns often start to mold before they are thrown out.  If ingested these molds can make our pets ill.  Some molds called mycotoxins can even cause neurologic problems in dogs and cats.

Keep Glow Sticks Away from Pets: Glow sticks and glow jewelry are fun and can help keep us safe during Halloween activities.  While the glowing liquid inside is not toxic if chewed and ingested it can be very irritating to our pets’ mouths.  Ingestion can lead to oral irritation, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and even vomiting.  Additionally, ingested plastics can lead to gastric irritation or even intestinal blockage.

Be Careful with Halloween Decorations: Decorations are a traditional addition to Halloween festivities. They are fun for us but can be scary or even dangerous to our pets.  Pets can be intimidated by decorations, especially those with eyes, faces, or moving parts.  Be sure to introduce pets to decorations slowly using positive reinforcement. Many decorations also require electrical cords or batteries, both of which can be very dangerous if our pets chew on them!

Beware of Costumes:  As adorable as our pets are when dressed up, not all pets enjoy wearing costumes.  They can be irritating, scary, or even painful to our pets.  Some pets may panic when placed in a costume, which can lead to injury. Humans in costume can be very scary to our pets, too.  Make sure to introduce your pet slowly to costumed guests and read the pet’s body language.  Better yet, find a safe space for your pet to stay if people come over in costume.

Keep Candles Out of Pets’ Reach: Candles are common in Halloween decorations.  Remember that your pet does not recognize the danger that candles pose, and they may accidentally burn themselves or knock candles over.

Give Your Pet a Safe Space During Halloween Activities:  Trick or Treating and Halloween Parties are fun for us but can be very scary to our pets.  Make sure that your pets have safe space in the house away from trick or treaters at the front door, or party-goers in the house.  It is also advisable to keep your pets indoors during activities to prevent panicking pets from escaping from the yard.

Make Sure Your Pets Have ID Tags and Microchips:  Finally, make sure that your pet has an updated ID tag and (even better) a microchip with updated information.  In the event that your pet does escape during holiday festivities, this will make it easy for them to get back home if found.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us!  We are happy to answer any questions you may have! 760-736-3636  or www.sanelijovet.com

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr. Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Veterinary Workshop for High School Students!

Veterinary Workshop for High School Students!

We only have a few spots left! Register your student today!

Back by popular demand Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is pleased to offer our next veterinary workshop on Wednesday, December 2nd! This class is open to High School students and will be held from 3:30 to 5:30. Students interested in a career in veterinary medicine are strongly encouraged to attend.

Veterinary Medicine 101

The Art of Physical Examination


This course will cover:

  • How to perform a thorough physical examination on a dog
  • How to measure a dog’s vital signs

  • How to evaluate a dog’s body condition

  • How to use a stethoscope, otoscope and ophthalmoscope

Classes will be interactive lecture followed by a hands-on laboratory component. This class will be taught and directly supervised by a veterinarian. Gentle, friendly pets will be provided for students to learn physical examination skills. Enrollment is extremely limited and classes will be filled on a first come first served basis. Registration is 40.00 per student and is due in cash or check on the day of the workshop. Parents will be notified of your student’s registration status by e-mail. Refreshments will be provided.

Please visit our website at www.sanelijovet.com to fill out a registration form for your student. If you have questions or would like additional information please call our office at 760-736-3636.

Keep an eye out on our website for our information regarding our exciting upcoming “Exotics Encounter” workshop!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo Hills

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo 

1691 Melrose Dr Suite # 110
San Marcos, CA 92078

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is launching our Pet Awareness Workshop Series for children!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is launching our

Pet Awareness Workshop Series for children! 

We are very excited to host our first children’s veterinary workshop on Wednesday, June 10st!

The class is open to children in middle school and will be held from 2:45 to 4:30.

Veterinary Medicine 101

The Art of Physical Examination

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo is launching our  Pet Awareness Workshop Series for children!  

This course will cover:

  • How to perform a thorough physical examination on a dog
  • How to measure your dog’s vital signs

  • How to evaluate your dog’s body condition

  • How to use a stethoscope, otoscope and ophthalmoscope

Classes will be interactive lecture followed by a hands-on laboratory component. This class will be taught and directly supervised by a veterinarian. Gentle, friendly pets will be provided for children to learn physical examination skills. Enrollment is extremely limited and classes will be filled on a first come first served basis. Registration is $40.00 per child and is due on the day of the workshop. Parents will be notified of your child’s registration status by e-mail. Refreshments will be provided.

Please visit our website at www.sanelijovet.com to fill out a registration form for your child. If you have questions or would like additional information please call our office at 760-736-3636.

Community-Oriented Veterinary Care is Coming to San Elijo!

Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo

Community-Oriented Veterinary Care is Coming to San Elijo!

Opening Thursday, March 12th 2015, Advanced Veterinary Care (AVC) of San Elijo will be operated by UC Davis graduates and experienced veterinarians, Dr. Sunshine Riehl and Dr. Paula Thomas, along with a seasoned professional support staff. The hospital will be equipped and staffed to provide comprehensive routine veterinary care and handle major emergencies including trauma, toxicities, and rattlesnake bites.

Advanced Veterinary Care will also host monthly children’s workshops to promote animal health, responsible pet ownership, and provide an opportunity for local youths to get a behind-the-scenes look at veterinary medicine. Classes incorporate a combined lecture/laboratory format and will be held for students in the 4th to 12th grades.

The hospital is located at 1691 Melrose Dr. Suite 110, in the Melrose Plaza shopping center, next to Mariah’s. Please visit our website at www.sanelijovet.com or call 760-736-3636 to schedule an appointment for your pet, join our client mailing list, or receive additional information regarding the AVC children’s workshops.

Families and their pets are encouraged to stop by and tour our facility, meet our doctors and staff, and pick up a treat for your family pet. We look forward to meeting you and serving the San Elijo community!

Announcements and upcoming events from The San Elijo Hills Association


Following is a list of important announcements and upcoming events for The San Elijo Hills Association:

Pirate Party in the Park: Saturday, May 17th
Shiver me timbers and batten down the hatches! San Elijo Hills is excited to invite all our mateys to come celebrate spring with us pirate-style on Saturday, May 17th at Hilltop field of San Elijo Park from 2:00PM-5:00PM.
Activities include:
Pirate craft station
Lawn games
Treasure Hunt
Obstacle course and bounce house
Concessions including popcorn and cotton candy
And more fun surprises!

The kids are sure to have a great time at this event! Feel free to come decked out in your pirate garb! We hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact Christine Cruz at ccruz@waltersmanagement.com with any questions!

Curbing Your Pet
The HOA receives numerous complaints regarding residents failing to curb their dogs in the community. Please not that it is county ordinance that you must curb your pet.
It is a public offense for any person to allow a dog in his or her custody to defecate or to urinate on any property other than that of the owner or person having control of the dog. Persons having control of a dog are required to restrain or control the animal so that it urinates or defecates only in the street gutters, and to immediately remove any feces to a proper receptacle (SDCC Section 62.670). 

Town Center Damage
Unfortunately, the Town Center area has suffered damages as a result of some vandalism. The following damages have recently occurred:

-Benches have been broken.
-Fountain has been filled with soap which required a complete draining and cleaning service.
-Tree limbs have been snapped.

Please remind all members of your household to treat the Town Square with respect. The cost to make these repairs comes from your HOA dues so everyone is financially impacted.

Community Gardens
Spring has sprung here in San Elijo Hills! There are still a few spaces available in our community garden for rent! Participating in the garden is a great way to work on your green thumb and witness the fruits of your labor as your seedlings begin to sprout! If you are interested in reserving one of the planters, please contact Christine Cruz at ccruz@waltersamanegement.com. The yearly lease fee is $50.00 (plus a $25.00 refundable key deposit) and the planter is yours until March 31, 2015.

Open House Sign Policy
The San Elijo Hills Community Association has a very specific sign policy in place regarding Open House signs in the community implemented to keep our community beautiful! The San Elijo Hills Community Association’s governing documents prohibit the display of any non-Association signs in the Common Area.  The intent of the San Elijo Hills Open House Sign Policy is to (1) provide an acceptable means for homeowners to market homes for sale within the community; (2) reduce the number of open house signs used in the community; and (3) discourage the ‘alternative’ means of signage that have been used in the past (sign spinners, signs on cars, etc).

It is your responsibility as the homeowner to notify your agent of the policy prior to putting out their signage. If it does not follow the guidelines, it will be removed and disposed of. The Open House Policy can be found on our website www.sanelijohills.netfor your convenience. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.