ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening


ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) experts field tens of thousands of calls each year involving animal companions who’ve had potentially hazardous contact with insecticides, weed killers and pet-toxic plants.
“Keeping animals safe from accidental poisonings should not end once you’ve stepped outside,” says Dana Farbman, APCC pet poison prevention expert. “Protecting your pet from potential hazards in your yard is just as critical.”
While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.

Our experts recommend you watch out for the following:

Poisonous Plants
When designing and planting your green space, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs. Sago palm and other members of the Cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe all affect the heart. Please visit our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden.

Just like you, plants need food. But pet parents, take care—the fertilizer that keeps our plants healthy and green can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends. Ingesting large amounts of fertilizer can give your pet a good case of stomach upset and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Be sure to follow instructions carefully and observe the appropriate waiting period before letting your pet run wild outside.

Cocoa Mulch
Many gardeners use cocoa bean shells—a by-product of chocolate production—in landscaping. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch also attracts dogs with its sweet smell, and like chocolate, it can pose problems for our canine companions. Depending on the amount involved, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider using a less-toxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark, but always supervise curious canines in yards where mulch is spread.

Like fertilizer, herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often necessary to keep our gardens healthy, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer’s label carefully for proper usage and storage.

You’re doing the right thing for your garden and Mother Earth—you’re composting! Food and garden waste make excellent additions to garden soil, but depending on what you’re tossing in the compost bin, they can also pose problems for our pets. Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruit and vegetables are toxic to dogs and cats, so read up on people foods to avoid feeding your pet.

Fleas and Ticks
Since fleas and ticks lurk in tall brush and grasses, it’s important to keep those lawns mowed and trim. Fleas can cause excessive scratching, hair loss, scabs, hot spots and tapeworms as well as anemia from blood loss in both cats and dogs. Ticks can cause similar effects and lead to a variety of complications from tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Babesia.

Garden Tools
Unattended garden tools may seem like no big deal, but rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can be hazardous to pets and cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of a curious pet’s body. Rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt may also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin. While cats don’t appear to be as susceptible as dogs to tetanus, care should be taken by storing all unused tools in a safe area, not haphazardly strewn on the ground.

Allergy-Causing Flora
Ah-choo! Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets have allergies to foods, dust and even plants. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can even cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock if the reaction is severe. If you do suspect your pet has an allergy, please don’t give him any medication that isn’t prescribed by a veterinarian. It’s also smart to keep your pet out of other people’s yards, especially if you’re unsure of what kinds of plants or flowers lurk there. Keeping your pet off the lawn of others will make for healthy pets and happy neighbors.
Originally published by the ASPCA.

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What Pet Blood Tests Reveal

Animal Emergency Hospital in Tulsa

When it comes to pet emergencies, a blood test is a critical part of diagnosis and treatment. It is necessary to detect certain conditions, such as heartworm or kidney disease, so the best treatment can be prescribed. Generally, there are two types of blood tests performed: a complete blood count (CBC) and a blood chemistry profile. Animal Emergency Hospital in Tulsa is equipped with an in-house laboratory, where we can perform both of these tests. Remember, we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days, if your pet is ever in need of emergency care. We are a Level II Certified VECCS facility, and our team is trained to treat your pet when it matters most.

Blood Chemistry Panel

A blood chemistry profile is a panel of tests that assess a pet’s organ function, hormone levels, electrolytes, and ore. Our Chem 15 CLIP blood chemistry analyzer can measure over a dozen components in the blood, including (but not limited to):

  • ALB (albumin): serum protein made by the liver. Lower-than-normal levels may indicate liver or kidney disease.
  • ALP (alkaline phosphatase): enzyme found in body tissue, including the liver and bones. A high ALP level may be a sign of liver damage or bone disorders. A low ALP level can indicate lymphoma or malnutrition.
  • Ca (calcium): Deviations can indicate a variety of diseases. Tumors, hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease, and low albumin are just a few of the conditions that alter serum calcium.
  • GLU (glucose): blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate diabetes mellitus or stress. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma.
  • Na (sodium): is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney or Addison’s diseases. This test also helps indicate hydration status.
  • PHOS (phosphorous): mineral needed to help nerves function and repair bones. Elevations are often associated with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and bleeding disorders.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

CBC is the most basic blood test, as it provides information on the types and quantities of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. Typically, a CBC is indicated if an animal is ill and/or before anesthesia. The results a CBC can reveal the presence of more than a dozen conditions, including:

  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Dehydration
  • Infections
  • Leukemia

If you have any questions about our in-house diagnostic blood testing services, or if your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please call Animal Emergency Center in Tulsa at 918-665-0508.

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The Importance of Pet X-Rays

The Importance of Pet X-Rays

At Animal Emergency Center PC, we utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify your pet’s underlying health conditions and ensure that they are diagnosed correctly and treatment can be administered promptly. X-rays are some of the most important diagnostic tools we offer at our hospital. Some common conditions that X-rays help diagnose include:

  • Bladder stones
  • Broken bones
  • Enlarged organs
  • Chest and lung injuries
  • Masses or tumors
  • Stomach or intestinal obstructions
  • …and many more

For some pets, anesthesia is required to keep pets calm and immobile during their x-rays. This generally depends on the pet, the nature of the injury and the area of the body that needs to be examined. X-rays can also be shared with specialists for second opinions about your pet’s condition.

If your pet is sick or injured, and your primary family veterinarian is not available, please contact us immediately and let us help you and your pet! “When you need us, we’ll be here!”

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Easter Pet Poisons


The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.



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Meet One of Animal Emergency Center’s Patients, Hazel Grace!


Hazel Grace was brought to Animal Emergency Center, due to vomiting and weakness.  As a puppy, Hazel Grace was known to eat everything, from her toys to socks. Dr. McNamara obtained abdominal radiographs and quickly decided that Hazel Grace needed surgery. She immediately underwent emergency abdominal exploratory surgery to search for potential causes of her symptoms.

Hazel x ray 1

During Hazel’s surgery, Dr. McNamara removed a sock from her abdomen and a cloth from her small intestines.  The cloth caused severe damage to her intestines, and 1.5 feet of small intestines had to be removed as a result.

After her surgery, Hazel Grace was hospitalized for two days so she could be monitored for potential post-operative complications.  We are happy to share that she recovered well and was able to go home to her family.

Hazel 2

Words from the Cox Family:

“One year ago yesterday, we were able to bring home our sweet Hazel Grace, thanks to the awesome care we received.  Hazel decided to eat a few socks and lost several inches of bowel. We were not sure she would survive the major surgery or recovery. You would not know it today because she is as ornery as ever. She continues to bring our family so much love and joy. Thanks to you and your staff for saving her. We simply cannot thank you enough for saving our sweet girl. Thank you for all you do and for your love of animals.”

Sincerely, The Cox Family


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VECCS Certified Level II Facility in Tulsa

Animal Emergency Center

Animal Emergency Center, P.C., is pleased to announce that we are now the ONLY veterinary hospital in Oklahoma to be certified by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS). Our team has worked diligently to both meet and exceed the standards and guidelines set forth by the VECCS. It was a lengthy process, but our hard work has paid off; in January 2016, we received the honor of certified as a Level II veterinary emergency and critical care facility.


The Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society is an organization that aims to promote the advancement of knowledge and high practice standards in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine. Starting in 2014, VECCS established a special certification program, intended to increase public and professional awareness in pet emergency and critical care services. This certification program is made available only to veterinary facilities that provide these specialized pet services. A veterinary hospital that meets all of the accreditation standards set forth by VECCS will be awarded one of three levels of certification, based on operating hours, equipment, and staff. Animal Emergency Center, P.C., received Level II Certification.

What Does VECCS Level II Certification Mean for My Pet?

According to the VECCS, a Level II emergency veterinary facility “…is a 24-hour acute care facility with the medical staff, personnel, and training necessary to provide emergent and critical patient care. This facility is open to receive small animal emergency patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” Animal Emergency Center, P.C.’s certification indicates our commitment to providing pets of the Tulsa area with the best possible emergency care when it matters most. We know how important your pets are to you and how important it is to treat their emergencies as safely and effectively as possible, using the best emergency technology available. After all, we’re pet owners, too, and we’d want the same care for our own pets.

If you’d like to learn more about our VECCS Level II Certification or need to bring your pet to us for any reason, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 918-665-0508. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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Meet One of AEC, Tulsa’s Patients, Ringo!

Ringo One

Ringo is a 3-year-old neutered pit bull that was brought to the Animal Emergency Center, due to vomiting. During the initial exam, his owners told us that he had shredded the padded bed in his kennel, which they suspected to be the cause of his vomiting.

Ringo Two

Abdominal radiographs were obtained and confirmed this; they revealed his stomach distended with a large amount of foreign material (the padding). He immediately underwent emergency abdominal exploratory surgery to remove the padding.

Ringo Three

Ringo recovered without any complications and was eagerly eating and drinking eating 72 hours after surgery. He is now home and back to his normal and goofy self, which can be seen in his silly pictures.


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5 Winter Dangers to Pets

Winter Dangers to Pets

Every season has its share of fun, but there can also be some dangers involved, too, especially for pets. Consider Animal Emergency Center, P.C.’s list below of five potential winter dangers to your pet, and remember, we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for pet emergencies.


Considered a sweet but deadly poison, antifreeze is commonly used in cars and can leak from the radiator, dripping onto on your garage floor or your driveway. It’s important to be mindful of this while your pet is outdoors. Animals find the sweet taste of this toxic substance hard to resist, but with just one lick, the results can be fatal if treatment isn’t sought immediately. You can protect your pet by using an antifreeze brand that contains propylene glycol, which is less toxic than ethylene if accidentally ingested.


Pets may be covered in fur, but they’re still susceptible to frostbite, just like people are. The ears, paws, and tail are typically the first areas to become frostbitten in cold winter conditions. If the temperatures are cold enough, frostbite can take place in a matter of minutes. Always limit your pet’s time outdoors during the winter, and consider giving them a sweater or pet booties when they go outside to give them some extra warmth.

Sidewalk Salt

Sidewalk salt and other ice-melting chemicals are obviously common at this time of year, but they can be dangerous for your pet’s paw pads, resulting in burns. If you recently salted your sidewalk and driveway, give your pet a couple pairs of booties or other form of paw protection, like special waxes, to keep their paws safe. You may also want to consider a pet-friendly ice-melting formula.

Car Engines

Even if you don’t have an outdoor pet, there may be a stray looking for warmth in your neighborhood or near your workplace. Often, animals—especially cats—find this warm under the hood of a car. But once that car is started, any animal inside can be seriously injured or even killed. If you’ve ever seen stray cats—or even if you haven’t—near your car, get in the habit of checking under the hood or knocking on it before starting the car to scare off any animals that may be sleeping underneath.




Cats aren’t the only animals looking for a warm place to stay in the winter. Rats, mice, and other rodents are, too, and sometimes, that place can be your basement. If you think you have a rodent problem in your home, avoid using rodenticides, since your pet may find them before the mice do. Since rodenticides are poisonous, they can be deadly to any animal that ingests it. Consider a safer, more humane way to rid your house of rodents. Sometimes just having a cat nearby is enough to do the trick!

If you ever suspect your pet has been poisoned or frostbitten or is in need of emergency care for any other reason this winter, contact Animal Emergency Center, P.C. immediately at 918-665-0508. We’re open 24/7, so when you need us, we’ll be here

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Holiday Safety Tips in Tulsa

Tulsa Pet Holiday Safety

As you do you do your last-minute decorating and party planning, remember to consider your pet’s safety around the house. The holiday season should be a joyous time of year, but it can turn into a dangerous time for your pet if you’re not prepared. We know the last thing you want is to spend the holidays in the emergency room with your pet, so consider the following safety tips from the team Animal Emergency Center of Tulsa to keep your companions safe.

Holiday Plants

They’re beautiful and festive, but there are several seasonal holiday plants that are dangerous to pets. Mistletoe and holly are just a couple of plants on the “toxic to pets” list. If ingested, these plants can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and even organ failure if treatment isn’t sought right away. Either block off your pet’s access to these toxic plants or use artificial ones instead.

Holiday Decorations

Tinsel and ribbons can be dangerous for dogs and cats, especially young, rambunctious pets. If ingested, these decorations can cause intestinal blockage, which can often can be corrected only with surgery. Another decoration that can be dangerous to pets are Christmas lights. Many pets are known to paw at or chew on electric lights that are wrapped around Christmas trees, which can lead to serious injury. So keep your lights high on your tree to eliminate the temptation for a curious pet.

Holiday Parties

Will you be hosting a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party at your home? As part of the family, your pet will probably want to join in the fun, but before you let them, there are a few things you should consider. If your pet experiences anxiety around strangers or large groups of people, it’s best to leave them in a separate area, away from the festivities. You can either use a pet gate or leave them in another room where they can relax. This is especially important if you have a very small pet that can be easily overlooked and accidentally kicked or stepped on by your guests.

Table Food

Thinking about sharing some of your dinner with your pet? Before you do, make sure you know which foods are safe and which ones aren’t. On the “safe” list are cooked chicken and turkey (no bones or skin), green beans, apples, and carrots (cut in small pieces). The foods you should avoid feeding your pet include chocolate, raisins, grapes, and macadamia nuts. These foods are toxic to pets and can leave your pet feeling very sick or worse, depending on the amount ingested.

If you have any questions about these holiday pet safety tips, or if your pet is in need of emergency care at Animal Emergency Center of Tulsa, give us a call at 916-665-0508. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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Christmas Pet Safety


“My pet would never eat food off the table!”

“My pet would never knock over the Christmas tree!”

“My pet would never bite someone!”

We all know our pets pretty well, but what we don’t always realize is that stress can make anybody do crazy things! When you have holiday guests or flashing Christmas lights or loud holiday music—or all of the above—at your house all at once, your pet may get stressed and frustrated, causing them to act out in unexpected ways. Most pet accidents are met with the statement, “He’s never done anything like that before!”

We recommend always making sure that your pet has a safe place to sit and relax during your holidays parties. Just like some people, pets need to get away from the action and de-stress, but most of the time they don’t know how to ask for their space. If your pet is comfortable in their crate, we recommend moving it into a quiet room and letting them spend some time resting during your holiday get-togethers. Your pet will be happier, and by extension, you and your guests will be happier! And holidays disasters will be prevented.

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