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Holiday waves can be hard on pets

Pet column
By: Dr. Ann Lesch-Hollis Special to Inside Lincoln
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Wave No. 1: The family has arrived. Everyone is in a festive mood. One course after another of delicious homemade food is passed around the table. Who can resist those soft brown eyes, begging for “just a little bite?” It starts with the hors d’ouevres, continues through dinner and finishes with dessert. All those one-bites from each family member add up to a disastrous bout of vomiting and diarrhea for most pets. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, most local veterinary clinics are gearing up for the onslaught of seriously-ill pets that have had too much of a good thing. People food is higher in fat content that what most of our pets can truly tolerate and holiday fare is even more likely to be laced with higher fat favorites. These high-fat treats cause GI distress with mild diarrhea in the simplest cases. In more severe cases, the pet may need to be hospitalized for treatment to alleviate the vomiting, diarrhea and pain. In the most severe cases, they can die. Wave No. 2: After a week of ham and turkey leftovers, along with the mashed potatoes and jello salad, it is time to clean out the refrigerator. Most people feel a twinge of guilt about throwing those leftovers away. Again, local veterinary clinics gear up for the One-Week-After-the-Holiday onslaught of pets presented with vomiting and diarrhea. This is no coincidence. For generations, pets have been a repository for leftover food. Unfortunately, these same high-fat foods are the culprit for our pets’ illness. Wave No. 3: Mom is gearing up to bake 3,000 cookies for a school holiday celebration. Grandma is gifting all family members with her world-class truffles. Daughter is giving dad a three-pound box of his favorite pecan and dark chocolate turtles. Pets do not respect baking or gifting boundaries. If it smells good, it is fair game to be eaten, whether it is on the counter or under the tree. These types of goodies lead to the same vomiting and diarrhea scenario as outlined above. With excess chocolate consumption, it can also include neurological issues such as seizures. These counter-cruising pets can consume five pounds of baking chocolate in the wink of an eye, leading to an emergency visit to the veterinarian. “Waiting it out” can lead to the death of a pet. All these expensive trips to the veterinarian can be prevented by not letting pets dine with the holiday crowd, not feeding pets the week-old leftovers and not leaving tempting goodies within reach. In the meantime, rest assured that all your local vets are ready and waiting for you. Dr. Ann Lesch-Hollis is at Sterling Pointe Veterinary Clinic, 745 S. Highway 65, Suite 10, Lincoln. For more information, call her at 859-6369 or visit sterlingpointevetclinic.com.