Enfield Veterinary Hospital
94 Coronation Parade
Enfield, NSW, 2136

Phone: 02 9747 3999
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To All the Friends of Enfield Vet and their Pets,

Easter is approaching, and with that comes chocolate and all the dangers that come with eating (too much of) it. Chocolate toxicity is commonly seen on a day-to-day basis, so it’s unsurprising, really, that we see even more of this during Easter.   

In this newsletter are several articles on things (often, things that you’ll already have lying around at home) that are poisonous to your pets and what happens when your pet has gotten into your chocolate stash. It also focuses on the importance of puppy socialisation - this lets them get exposed to new things and learn to interact with others, thus preventing behavioural problems in the future. We’ll also be introducing a new drug that will be coming to Australia soon that could possibly be the solution to your dog’s never-ending scratching.

And on that note, happy Easter!


The Team at Enfield Vet

Contents of this newsletter

01  What's off limits for your pet this Easter?

02  Do you have poisons lying around at home?

03  Help! My dog just ate my Lindt bunny!

04  Apoquel – the new anti-itch drug for dogs

05  Why socialisation sets up your dog for life

06  An easy way to reduce your cat's stress

07  The cat who thinks he's a chimp

01 What's off limits for your pet this Easter?

Easter can be a dangerous time for our pets and there are a few things you need to keep off limits. Take note of the following!

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, a derivative of caffeine that cannot be metabolised by our pets (particularly dogs). Even small amounts of cocoa can have major and potentially long-term effects on your pets. 

Ingestion can cause an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, tremors, seizures and even death. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic but ingestion of ANY chocolate can cause problems. Find out what amount of chocolate might be toxic to your dog here.

2. Hot Cross Buns

Many people are not aware that sultanas and raisins (and grapes!) can contain a toxin that causes kidney damage in dogs. Even very small amounts can cause injury to the kidneys. Keep these off the menu at all times!

3. Easter Lilies

These beautiful fragrant flowers if ingested can cause kidney failure in cats. The stems, leaves, flowers and stamen are all dangerous, as is the water the flowers are stored in.

If your pet ingests any of the above over the Easter period call us immediately for advice. Make sure you have emergency numbers on hand if it is out of our normal opening hours.

02 Do you have poisons lying around at home?
panadol nurofen2

With all the warnings to avoid letting your pets get into your Easter chocolate, you might end up overlooking other common household items that are highly toxic to your pets. Here are some of the most common toxicities we encounter:

Rat Poison

Many rat poisons work by inhibiting a substance in the blood that allows it to clot. This means that if your pet ingests it, they could get internal bleeding that can be fatal if untreated. Signs of rodenticide poisoning include lethargy, difficulty breathing, coughing or vomiting blood, bleeding from the nose or gums, collapse and death.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medicines

Paracetamol (Panadol) and ibuprofen (Nurofen) are readily found in most households and ingesting even small doses can be problematic. Paracetamol can cause methemoglobinemia (which prevents oxygen from reaching the organs) in cats and liver damage in dogs. Ibuprofen, on the other hand, causes stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting and in high doses can cause kidney damage, seizures and even comas.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in gum, candy and dental products. Baked products can also contain large amounts of xylitol (e.g. low glycemic index (GI) products). Eating small amounts of it can cause weakness and seizures and higher doses can cause severe liver failure.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested any of the above items, please contact the Hospital immediately and have emergency numbers ready in case it is after opening hours.   

03 Help! My dog just ate my Lindt bunny!

Like us, dogs love chocolate and they are very good at finding it! Not surprisingly, Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for vets when it comes to chocolate toxicities.

If your dog eats your favourite Lindt bunny (the one you were saving for last), here's what we will do:

We will ask you how much and what type of chocolate your dog ingested. This helps us work out just how dangerous the ingestion might be. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic, followed by milk and then white chocolate.

The toxicity is also proportional to the size of your dog and the amount ingested. We use a calculator similar to this one. It is important to realise that any amount of chocolate can cause a problem so veterinary guidance is always recommended. 

Next we will probably induce emesis (which simply means we make your dog vomit). This is usually done using an injection under the skin or application of a medication into the eye. Vomiting tends to occur relatively quickly.

If we don't feel enough chocolate has been vomited or if the symptoms are serious, a charcoal meal or enema may be given to help reduce the toxicity. Some dogs will also need further supportive care including fluid therapy.

Please phone us immediately, even if you only think your dog has ingested chocolate. We will be able to give you the best advice.

04 Apoquel – the new anti-itch drug for dogs

Is your dog’s scratching going out of control no matter how many products and flea treatments you’ve tried? Have you been trying (unsuccessfully) to pinpoint the cause of your dog’s itchiness? Are you desperate to find a way to give your dog some relief? If so, then Apoquel may the solution you’re looking for.

Apoquel is a new drug soon to launch in Australia that may revolutionize the treatment to canine pruritus. It is a fast-acting drug that relieves itchiness by preventing the formation of the protein that causes itching itself. Unlike other drugs you may have used, such as steroids and antihistamines, there are much fewer side effects and could potentially be used for the long-term management of your dog’s allergies.

Use of this drug will give your dog some quick relief and give his skin some time to heal while your vet finds the exact cause of the itchiness to get rid of the pruritus once and for all.

Contact us for more information about the product and find out if Apoquel is the right solution for you and your pet.


05 Why socialisation sets up your dog for life

Many people aren't always aware that the most critical time in your dog's life is in during their first four months. Socialisation at this time with other dogs (both big and small) is one of the most important ingredients for a well behaved and sociable dog. Here are some things to consider:

Puppies have brains like sponges
The more they are introduced to during this period, the better. If they learn how to behave around other canines it will help make future outings and park visits much more pleasant!

Puppy school is the first event you should put on your dog's social calendar
Puppies will develop confidence and will learn how to interact with each other. This is a safe environment for socialisation as all puppies must be up to date with their vaccinations.

Puppyhood is also a good time to introduce your dog to different noises and experiences
Think about the vacuum, traffic, multiple car trips as well as longer stints at home alone. We can recommend some great boredom busters to keep your puppy stimulated while you head out. You want your dog to learn to be happy during 'alone time'.

Of course, good behaviour and training doesn't stop at the age of four months! It is crucial to continue with positive reinforcement and to reward your dog for good behaviour.

When it comes to pet behaviour, always ask us for the best advice.

06 An easy way to reduce your cat's stress

Many people put off taking their cat to the vet as they feel it is just too stressful. As a result we don't get to see your feline friend as often as we should and inevitably health problems go unseen. Dental disease, heart disease, kidney disease can sneak up on your cat slowly, often without you noticing.

Thankfully there is a way you can help reduce the stress associated with vet visits. By using a pheromone spray in the cat carrier, your cat will feel more safe and secure. The pheromone spray is the same pheromone cats release when they feel chilled out and happy. We also recommend spraying it on a towel and covering the cat carrier to help your cat feel safe and avoid them making eye contact with patients of the canine variety!

The pheromone is also available as a diffuser and this is useful for cats that are having anxiety issues at home, such as during rehoming or when your are introducing a new pet or even a new baby. The diffuser can also help with toileting problems associated with stress. 

Ask us for more information about this product or about the pheromone options available for dogs.

07 The cat who thinks he's a chimp

We came across a great video this month and it's taking the internet by storm!

Here's a cat who thinks he's a chimp! How incredible is his determination?

Check out the video here.