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Holiday Hazards


The Christmas Spirit

The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily so they can meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It takes less than a minute (about 15 seconds) to go to their site and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals for free.

This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site: http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/

T'is the season to be merry for us and our furry friends!

The holidays are a time for celebration, spending time with family, and reflecting on the good things that occurred during the year. The holidays can be hazardous for your pet though, so to make sure your holidays are cheerful, you should take some precautions. Decorations are commonly ingested by pets, especially dogs, so try to put them out of reach. Hang garland or other ornaments high enough the dogs can't jump to grab them. A trick to keep dogs away from the tree is to place the tree in a child's playpen or dog's exercise pen. Do not underestimate your dog's desire to eat items besides food. Dogs will eat anything. Dogs will eat plastic, fabric, glass, or metal and these foreign bodies can obstruct the intestine. If not surgically removed, the pet usually dies.

Tinsel is the most dangerous decoration as it actually cuts through the intestine when ingested and is hard to diagnose on radiographs (x-rays). Pets can easily die from eating this linear foreign body unless surgery is performed. Cats are the pet most likely to do this as they are prone to eating stringy items. Symptoms of foreign body ingestion are vomiting, lethargy, poor to no appetite, and poor water consumption. Many people with cats refuse to use tinsel in their home.

These holiday decorations often require power, so there may be extension cords or electric cords more accessible to the pets. Cats and dogs have been known to chew on these cords. This can cause symptoms ranging from burns to the tongue and lips to death from pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs causing difficulty breathing). A tip to help avoid this problem is to hide the cords in hard plastic PVC pipes where possible. Also you can paint a bitter tasting substance on the cords such as bitter apple to try to dissuade them from chewing on these dangerous wires.

Holiday time usually involves family dinners with rich food and relatives who may not understand that feeding the dog table food can cause severe problems. Veterinarians see many cases of pancreatitis in dogs around the holidays from eating meat or other fatty foods. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can be mild to severe. Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, a painful abdomen, lethargy and a lack of appetite. The treatment for pancreatitis is hospitalization with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Certain plants associated with the holidays can be toxic to pets. Poinsettias can cause irritation of the mouth and stomach to cats and dogs, but in general, their toxicity is over stated. Of more toxicity are holly and especially mistletoe in both dogs and cats. Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Mistletoe is very toxic, causing vomiting and diarrhea, cardiovascular collapse, trouble breathing, low heart rate, and low blood pressure.

A great resource for inquiries of what is toxic, the degree of toxicity, and proper treatment, is the ASPCA Animal Poison Center. Veterinarians with specialties in toxicology are on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions. Their phone number is 1-888-426-4435. There is no state or federal funding for this poison control center so there is a $60 charge payable by credit card. They also have a web site with good information: http://www.aspca.com. There are lists of poisonous plants, common human medications that cause toxicities when ingested by pets, and other important information.

Pets may drink water used for watering the Christmas tree. Many people use additives in the water to keep the tree fresh. These, in general, are of low toxicity, but the composition may vary according to the manufacturer. The label should be inspected before use to check on the potential injury to pets. These easy precautions can help prevent sick pets and ensure your family has a happy holiday season.

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  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.


    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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