State College Veterinary Hospital

1700 W. College Avenue
State College, PA 16801-2719


Happy Holidays from the State College Veterinary Hospital

Here are a few helpful tips to help keep your pets safe this holiday season.
O Christmas Tree:
When decorating your Christmas tree, keep in mind that there could be some potential hazards to your pet.  Some of the old fashioned bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals that could cause irritation to the eyes and skin of your pet.  Cats like to play with shinny glass ornaments thinking that they are toys, batting at them causing them to break.  It could be dangerous to your pet if they walk on the glass or even ingest the glass.  Make sure your Christmas tree is also secured in place and all cords/wires are up high enough so that your pet doesn't chew them.  Often we hear stories about cats climbing up the tree knocking them over. 

We recommend avoiding tinsel all together.  What looks like a toy for your cat to play with could be deadly if ingested.  While tinsel is not poisonous itself, It can result in a linear foreign body if ingested.  A linear body occurs when your pet swallows something stringy (tinsel or Holiday ribbon), which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines.  As the intestines contract and move, this string can slowly saw through tissues causing damage to your pet's intestinal tract.  Most of the time, the only treatment of this is usually expensive abdominal surgery.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets, so make sure that it is kept away from your pets.  As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog depending on their size can be fatal.  Signs of early poisoning include acting uncoordinated, excessive thirst and lethargy.  While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening causing kidney failure.  Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.  As the antidote only works if given within the first 3 hours for cats and 8-12 hours for dogs.  Seek immediate veterinary care as soon as possible.
There are several plants that are toxic to your pets that are used over the holidays.  Most believe that poinsettia's are extremely toxic to your animals, however they are only mildly toxic usually causing an upset stomach.  Far more worrisome plants are used during the holiday season to keep out of your pets reach are lilies, holly and mistletoe.
With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods.  Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and don't let family and friends sneak in treats.  Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats.  Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.  Please contact our office or the emergency clinic if your pet ingests any of these yummy treats. Fatty Scraps can cause severe inflammation of the pancreas leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. 
When it comes to the holidays, please keep in mind that they can be stressful to our pets. 

The State College Veterinary Hospital wish all of our pets and their family a Safe and Happy Holidays.