Monthly Archives: April 2014

Seasonal Toxins-Problematic Pesticides in Frederick, MD

Spring is here!  With the beautiful weather come green grass, flowers and little pests who invade both our lawns and gardens.  Unfortunately, some of those chemicals we use outdoors such as metaldehyde, organophosphates and glyphosate are quite toxic to our furry friends.  Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your pet as safe as possible as you try to keep those pesky critters and weeds away, while also enjoying what spring brings.

Metaldehyde is a chemical often used to keep slimey critters like snails and slugs away.  The bait used to lure these critters is quite tasty to dogs and cats and can cause neurologic signs if ingested.  Other signs to look for include anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling and panting.  Typically, metaldehyde can be found in body fluids, such as blood and urine, which would be needed to diagnose toxicity.  Treatment requires immediate hospitalization and unfortunately there is no antidote available if your fur-kid were to ingest this chemical.  Prevention of metaldehyde toxicity is easy if you are able to keep your pets away from the areas that contain bait.

Insecticides are typically made out of something called organophosphates. Toxicity most often will take place when a dog or cat is over exposed to these chemicals due to misuse or exposure to multiple types of insecticides at once.  Organophosphates are typically absorbed through the skin, lungs or GI tract and will affect the nervous system.  Common symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle weakness.  Diagnosis will require blood work to evaluate electrolyte levels and organ function and treatment typically will involve hospitalization as well.  The best way to prevent organophosphate toxicity is by researching chemicals before they are used anywhere near your home and to follow directions exactly.

Glyphosate is a chemical often found in what we would refer to as Round Up as well as other similar products.  This chemical isn’t as toxic as others can be to our furry friends, but can cause vomiting if ingested.  Once dry, this chemical is typically deemed safe for dogs and cats because once dry, it has been taken up by the roots of plants.  Glyphosates can be absorbed through the skin, mouth and lungs.  Symptoms typically will appear within 30 minutes to 2 hours and can include excitability, depression, a slow heartbeat and they may not be able to walk straight.  The best way to prevent glyphosate toxicity is to wait until the chemical is dry before allowing your pet to come in contact with the treated area. 

If there is any possibility of your dog or cat coming in contact with any harmful chemical, be sure to contact your veterinary immediately in order for them to receive the medical attention that they need.

Seasonal Toxins-Fatal Fertilizers in Frederick, MD

The spring weather is upon us and the gardeners of Frederick, MD have begun planning and preparing flower beds and gardens for the season.  Fertilizer is a common purchase during the season that can be potentially toxic to dogs and cats.  Included in the list of dangerous fertilizers and mulch are blood meal, bone meal, cocoa bean mulch and fertilizers that contain iron.

Blood Meal:  made of dried, ground and flash-frozen blood. It contains 12% nitrogen, which is desirable for gardening, but not for your pet.  Some are also fortified with iron, which can result in iron toxicity.  Blood meal has a generally mild to moderate level of toxicity.  Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea and severe pancreatitis.  It can also cause nausea, drooling, bloody vomit, lethargy, abdominal pain and bloat.
Bone Meal:  made of defatted, dried and flash-frozen animal bones that are ground to a powder.  Gardeners use bone meal to dust spring bulbs to prevent squirrels from ingesting the bulbs.  It is a great organic fertilizer, but when your pet consumes this fertilizer in large amounts, a large cement-like bowling ball foreign body can form in the stomach causing an obstruction. This fertilizer generally has a mild to moderate level of toxicity. Symptoms can include drooling, nausea, vomiting (acute or delayed onset), diarrhea, abnormal posture due to abdominal pain, difficulty breathing and “muddy” colored gums.
Cocoa Bean Mulch:  made of discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean, which are by-products of chocolate production. The processed hulls can contain theobromine and caffeine which can be dangerous to pets.  The “chocolate like” smell is very enticing to dogs and cats.  Cocoa bean mulch varieties with higher toxin concentrations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, muscle tremors and seizures.  In extreme cases, death can occur.
Fertilizers containing iron:  most fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They may also contain iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum which may be toxic in large concentrations. Small ingestions may result in mild stomach upset.  Large ingestions may result in severe poisoning.  Iron toxicity can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea from gastrointestinal hemorrhage, lethargy, abdominal pain, shock, elevated heart rate, panting, tremors and can effect organ systems.
Below are steps you can take if you suspect your pet has been poisoned:
1.  Immediately remove your pet from the area and make sure no other pets are exposed to the area.
2.  Check to make sure your pet is breathing normally and acting normally.
3.  Collect a sample of the material and save the packaging, vial or container.  This information is necessary when speaking with a Kingsbrook Animal Hospital team member or to a Pet Poison Helpline expert.
4.  Do NOT give your dog any home remedies or induce vomiting without speaking with a Kingsbrook Animal Hospital team member or a Pet Poison Helpline expert.  It actually may be detrimental or contraindicated to induce vomiting or giving home remedies.
5.  Get help! Below are phone numbers that we recommend programming into your cell phone for immediate access to help.  
6.  Report the toxicity immediately.  The prognosis is always better when a suspected toxicity is reported immediately.  Please don’t wait to see if your pet becomes ill before contacting us for help. The sooner, the better!
Kingsbrook Animal Hospital:  301-631-6900
CARE (Crossroads Animal Referral and Emergency):  301-662-2273
Pet Poison Helpline:  1-800-213-6680 or

Seasonal Toxins-Flowers that Kill in Frederick, MD

Flowers that Kill.

Holiday seasons are laden with celebratory festivities. Food, family, and fun are usually on the agenda and many of our agendas follow a traditional pattern. Just as our schedules become a tradition from year to year, there are many gifts and traditional symbols of these holiday seasons that must be present or “it’s just not” that holiday!  For example: “It’s just not Thanksgiving until all the men fall asleep in front of the t.v. “watching” the football game!” Or, “It’s just not the forth of July until Uncle Eugene tries to set himself on fire lighting the fireworks!” You get the picture! 🙂  

The Easter holiday is no different. From chocolate bunny ears to dyed eggs- I’m sure you can name a few things on your own “it’s just not” Easter list. These things not only signify Easter, but the ushering in of Spring (Thank Goodness!) However, here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we would like to point out the things that might be on our list that “it’s just not” good for your pet to get into.
In this blog, we will talk specifically about the plants of the season that can be toxic to your pet and all of them can be found in Frederick, Maryland. What is typically regarded as a beautiful blooming plant can harbor toxins which can cause mild to severe clinical signs like stomach irritation, drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, and even death. If you take inventory and notice that you have any of these plants or bulbs, please keep your pet away from them.

Calla Lilies are toxic to both dogs and cats

Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, and Asiatic lilies are all very toxic to cats.

Tulips and Hyacniths– toxic to dogs and cat- all of the plant is toxic but it is very concentrated in the bulb

Daffodils– Toxic to cats and dogs

Crocus– highly toxic to cats and dogs

If you think your pet has eaten part or all of one of the above plants or bulbs call us at 301-631-6900. Remove any of the plant that may still be in your pet’s mouth. It’s always a good idea to bring along any of the uneaten part of the plant with you to confirm identification and which parts were ingested. You can also call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435 to help determine treatment recommendations.  

Here at KAH, we want you to enjoy your favorite flowers of the season. We hope that with the information above you can do this while avoiding any mishaps so that “it’s just not” a stressful event as well!


Wildlife Encounters-What do I do?

Ahhh….Spring! I am sure everyone is excited about this spring season, considering what this winter brought us! Spring brings sunshine, balmy weather, new growth and sweet baby animals!
Every spring Kingsbrook Animal Hospital receives calls from concerned individuals living in Frederick, MD that have found what are thought to be abandoned wildlife. Our instinct as caring people are to help these tiny creatures. Unfortunately, often what we consider to be helpful, can be detrimental to the baby creature’s life.
Wild rabbits make their nest in shallow, fur and grass lined holes on the ground. Because the nest is shallow, it can easily be disrupted by unaware humans or other animals, such as dogs.
A mother rabbit covers her babies in the nest with grasses and returns only 2-3 times a day to nurse.  Typically, nursing occurs at dusk and dawn. Because of this, people often make the mistake of assuming the babies have been abandoned. Usually this is not the case. If a nest is disrupted and the babies are not injured, it is best to replace the grassy covering and leave the nest alone. If you are worried the nest is abandoned, you can place 2 light twigs across the top of the nest.  If the twigs have been disrupted overnight it means the mother has returned to the nest to care for her babies. Inadvertently touching the babies will NOT make the mother abandon them! Ways you can help is by keeping children, pets, lawn mowers and chemicals away from the nest.
    Other creatures who are often mistaken for having been abandoned are baby birds. There are 2 kinds of birds: the kind born with fuzzy down feathers, and those born without feathers. Birds born with feathers, such as ducks, are fairly self sufficient soon after birth. The birds without feathers are much more dependent on their mother. These are the birds born in nests.

     What many people are not aware of is that many kinds of birds, such as robins and blue jays, are unable to fly when they first leave their nest. These baby birds are called fledglings and can hop and flit. They live on the ground between 2-5 days old and their mother will still care for them. The best thing to do is leave a fledgling alone! If it is in an undesirable location such as the middle of the street it can be picked up and put in nearby shrubbery or a place it can hide from predators. Remember: the mother is close by so don’t move it far!

Sometimes a bird can be pushed or blown from its nest.  In these cases, it can be returned to the nest.  The mother will not abandon it if it has been touched.
It is almost always best to leave wildlife alone. Unfortunately, sometimes baby wildlife is actually injured or abandoned. Do not attempt to treat or raise a baby yourself! In these cases ALWAYS call a wildlife rehabilitator. Trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators are the only people that can legally treat injured or abandoned wildlife long term. Often animals that might otherwise be saved die unnecessarily because of treatment given by people trying to help. It is often difficult for the most knowledgable to save wild animals, so it is important to give them their best chance at survival.
If you are unable to contact a rehabilitator, and the animal is visibly injured, call Fredrick County Animal Control. Although the staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are not trained to treat wildlife, we are ALWAYS here to assist you with any questions you may have.

Happy Spring from your friends at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital!


Rabbits for Easter Gifts? Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s view

Rabbits are a familiar symbol of the Easter holiday. In the days leading up to Easter, they appear on television commercials, packages of candy and stores are filled with stuffed rabbits. It is no surprise that children beg their parents for a bunny of their own.  People who purchase these unique creatures are often unprepared for the care they need and quickly tire of them. In the months following Easter, local humane societies and rabbit rescues are flooded with these Easter gifts that are no longer wanted. The unlucky ones are dumped outside where predators, cars, illness, and injury virtually guarantee an early death.
Rabbits are a big responsibility.  They need unlimited amounts of fresh timothy hay to keep their teeth worn down. This can be messy. They need daily servings of fresh dark greens which can be expensive.  They can be litter box trained with a little patience, but you will sometimes find a fecal pellet here and there.  They are big chewers.  If left unsupervised, they will chew carpeting, woodwork and electrical wires.  This can be dangerous.

The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital want every rabbit’s first home to be their forever home.  We don’t recommend adopting or purchasing rabbits as gifts.  We ask that you do your homework before acquiring any pet to be prepared to care for that animal for its entire life.  If you have any questions regarding the care of a rabbit, call us in Frederick, MD at 301-631-6900.  Any member of our team would be happy to help you decide if a rabbit or any pet is a good fit for you.