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Thanksgiving Food and Pets

Dog at table with turkey dinner in front of him.
As much as we’d like to include our furry family members in our Thanksgiving celebration, the menu selection for pets can be tricky. Even a small amount of turkey skin can lead to a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis, and many other Thanksgiving staples are poisonous to pets.   Here is a list of Thanksgiving foods to keep away from animal companions — and a few you can share. Keep in mind that even “safe” foods can be dangerous if you feed too much.  If your pet likes to scavenge, be sure to clean up leftovers as soon as your meal is over, and keep trash cans tightly covered. If you’re having guests over, make sure they know not to feed table scraps to your pets — no matter how much they beg! Foods that are NOT safe for pets: Turkey Skin & Drippings Turkey Bones Ham Stuffing Salt & Seasonings Grapes Raisins Onions & Garlic Chives & Leeks Macadamia Nuts Walnuts Mushrooms Corn on the Cob Chocolate Bread Dough Alcohol Xylitol   Foods that are SAFE for pets in small amounts* Turkey (boneless, skinless, unseasoned white meat) Green Beans (unseasoned) Mashed Potatoes (plain, cooked & unseasoned) Sweet Potatoes (plain, cooked, & unseasoned) Apple (2 or 3 slices, no seeds) * Even “safe” foods are dangerous if you feed too much, so limit portions to about a spoonful of each.

Patellar Luxation (Dislocation)

A veterinarian examining a dog
Patellar luxation is a common orthopedic condition in which the kneecap moves out of its normal position. It can affect one or both knees, and frequently occurs due to abnormalities of the bones or ligaments above and below the knee that affect how the knee is aligned in the joint. Occasionally, a luxating patella can occur due to trauma to the knee. The kneecap may shift, or luxate, towards the inner thigh (medial) or towards the outer thigh (lateral). Cats and small breed dogs typically experience a medial luxation whereas larger breed dogs typically experience a lateral luxation.

Halloween Costume Safety

Dog in Cookie monster Halloween costume
As adorable as dogs may look in Halloween costumes, it’s important to prioritize safety and comfort over style and cuteness. If you’re planning to dress up your dog for Halloween, here are some tips to keep in mind: Make sure the costume fits properly and doesn’t interfere with your dog’s sight, hearing, breathing, or movement. Avoid costumes with pieces that can be tripped over or chewed off. Never leave your pet unsupervised while dressed up. Don’t remove your dog’s collar or ID tag. If your dog has a thick coat, choose a lightweight costume to prevent overheating. Do a dress rehearsal before the big day. If after a few attempts, your pet rejects the costume, don’t force it.

Cherry Eye

A dog with cherry eye
Dogs and cats have a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane or nictitans. This shiny, pink membrane is tucked behind the lower eyelid and pops up when a pet is sedated or sick, has a mass behind or under the eye, or has a neurological condition. The nictitans contains a gland that is responsible for tear production. Cherry eye is a condition where the gland within the third eyelid protrudes from its normal position, resulting in a red, swollen mass near the inner eyelid that kind of looks like a little red cherry. It is believed to be caused by weak tissue fibers failing to hold the gland in place. One or both eyes can be affected, and improper treatment of this condition can result in dry eye.

Osteosarcoma

An x-ray of osteosarcoma in a dog
Cancer is not one disease, but hundreds. Cancer can be grouped into three main categories: Carcinomas – carcinomas are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. Tumors of the anal gland and mammary gland are common carcinomas in dogs and cats. Hematopoetic tumors – blood cancer, or hematopoetic tumors, include leukemia and lymphoma. Sarcomas – sarcomas are tumors formed by cells from bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments). Examples of sarcomas in dogs include soft tissue sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs, accounting for 85% of all canine skeletal tumors. While osteosarcoma is also the most common bone tumor in cats, primary bone tumors are relatively uncommon in cats to begin with. Osteosarcoma is also far less aggressive in cats than it is in dogs. Osteosarcoma typically develops on the limbs (the forelimbs more often than the hindlimbs), but can also occur on the skull, rib cage, and spine. A rare form of osteosarcoma occurs outside the skeleton in the muscles, liver, or spleen. Osteosarcoma is a particularly aggressive tumor in dogs, with 75-90% of patients eventually having the tumor cells metastasize (spread) to other areas, particularly the lungs and other bones. In cats with osteosarcoma, around 40% will metastasize.