• Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Have fun this Christmas just not too much!!

Updated: May 20, 2020

The coming of the festive season prompted me to chat about some common health related issues we encounter this time of year. Many of us love to give gifts to our pets at Christmas time but sometimes our treats can go awry.

One interesting case recently was Phyllis, a gorgeous cattle cross puppy who ingested an entire toy! X-rays showed not only was the toy in her stomach but there was also a rock there as well.

When she presented, the X-rays showed that the toy was in a good position to be brought back up. We induced vomiting and the toy was indeed expelled however the rock stayed put, so we had to remove it surgically.

So make sure your gifts are size appropriate; you’d be amazed what an eager young puppy or kitten can swallow.

Here are some other common hazards we have encountered at this time of year.

  • Christmas decorations - especially with string attached, are very tempting to cats and kittens. The string can get caught around their tongue while the decoration is swallowed. In addition, the string can get bunched up in the bowel causing a blockage or even cut through the intestine!

  • Rich food - especially fatty offcuts from the ham or roast. While these look extra delicious and hard to throw away with an eager companion at your side, we have seen many dogs hospitalised with gastrointestinal complaints and severe pancreatitis.

  • Cooked bones - always a no-no. Cooked bones become hard, break into sharp pieces that can get stuck or pierce the gut.

  • Chocolate - even if it is safely wrapped up and hidden in the closet. Our clever pets are like a heat-seeking missile with their smelling super powers and will find that chocolate.

So have fun this festive season with your furry companions and stay safe. No offence, but I hope not to see you as an emergency call out!