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                                                                   February Bugs

   Its February and along with the cold and snow, we get one of the worst outbreaks of Influenza in recent memory.  Fortunately you cannot transmit the Flu to your pets nor can they transmit it to you. There are other diseases that can be transmitted between the two of you however.  This is a good reason to take your pet in for an annual examination, to protect you both.

      There are some forms of throat infections such as Strept. bacteria that can be transmitted between the two of you and although it is fun to give each other   kisses it can lead to problems down the line. MRSA infections can also be transmitted between each other which can be very debilitating and very expensive.  It is best for you to use all of the antibiotics that your physician gives to you or your vet prescribes for your pet, to prevent the development of MRSA Bacteria. 

      If you have reptiles such as snakes or tortoises they can be a source of Salmonellosis. Chickens can also transmit salmonella. This is especially important if you have children so make sure that they wash their hands thoroughly after handling them. Good hygiene practices is important around all pets.

     In the warmer months we have to be concerned about external parasites that dogs and cats can transport, such as fleas and ticks. Fleas can produce a nasty and expensive itching . Ticks can transmit Lymes Disease which as you know is a tragedy in waiting. These are both easily preventable with relatively inexpensive medications which any vet can provide for you. There are other diseases that people with immune compromised systems and children can be receptive to.

  Whether you are a cat fancier, dog person, or an exotic animal lover, pets can be good for your health. They tend to make you more social, improve your exercise amounts and help to increase your outdoor contacts. This will reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduce feelings of loneliness and depression.   It is best to find out from your veterinarian what diseases different pets may be likely to transmit and which pet would be best for your lifestyle.  Talk to your Vet and get “Your Flu Shot”.


  • Poinsettia- The flowers (red leaves) are bitter tasting and as a result dogs and cats may bite them but rarely eat them. If a pet were to eat the flowers they would likely vomit them, which would get rid of the problem. They may develop indigestion from this but are unlikely to have any severe systemic side effects.
  • Cyclamen- The root of this plant can cause vomiting episodes, but the rest of the plant is safe for animals.
  • Christmas Cactus- This does not produce any harm to your pet if eaten.


  • Lilly- All parts of Lilly plants are poisonous to animals. This plant can cause kidney damage if eaten.  
  • Holly- Holly berries can cause severe vomiting episodes.
  • Mistletoe- Mistletoe fruit can produce a severe allergic response when eaten. This reaction can cause cell death in many different organs and may be lethal.
  • Azalea- The flowers of this plant will produce severe vomiting episodes as well as unpredictable behavior. Azaleas have a hallucinogenic type effect on small pets.
  • Kalanchoe- The leaves of this plant may produce an abnormal heart rhythm.

  Should your pet eat any of these poisonous plants you can induce vomiting by squirting at least two tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide into the back of the animal’s throat. This causes a gas build- up in the stomach and produces vomiting. You can also give a child’s portion of Syrup of Ipecac.

  Some decorations inside however, can be dangerous to your pet.   Tinsel is notoriously known to pose a hazard to cats especially. Food that is tasty for us can cause vomiting and diarrhea to indiscriminate eaters, both dogs and cats. Indigestion problems are frequently encountered at this time and with quick attention are usually dealt with successfully.

    Christmas Cactus                       Kalanchoe                     Cyclamen                      Mistletoe                      



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