Pet Columns, Office of Public Engagement, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Pet Hazards Lurk in Easter's Aftermath


Pet Column for the week of April 19, 2011


Office of Public Engagement
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, Illinois 61802
Phone: 217/333-2907
Brittany Way
Information Specialist

Pet owners, are chocolate bunnies and Easter lilies lingering in your home? If so, beware! These and other holiday favorites can pose dangers for pets.

Flowers are one of the biggest Easter-related concerns, according to Dr. Tina Wismer, an adjunct instructor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and a toxicologist with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

"True lilies, such as Easter lilies and stargazers, are extremely toxic to cats. Even their pollen can cause problems, including in some instances kidney failure," says Dr. Wismer. "Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths will cause vomiting. If the bulbs are consumed, pets may exhibit bloody vomiting and diarrhea."

Go to aspca.org and select "pet care" to find the Animal Poison Control Center site and a list of all the common toxic plants.

Another remnant of Easter may be a vast amount of leftover bunny- or egg-shaped chocolates. If it falls into the wrong paws, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, tremors, and possibly seizures depending on how much is eaten and the size of your dog. Seek veterinary attention if your pet helps you "clean up" the chocolate candy.

Strands of plastic Easter grass can also be hazardous to your pet's health. If eaten, this grass could cause an obstruction that could lead to perforation of the intestine.

Even hard boiled eggs can pose a problem once mold and bacteria set in, according to Dr. Wismer. And be sure any dyes used for coloring eggs are safe for ingestion.