Holiday safety warnings for your pet

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The holidays can be deadly for your four legged family members if you are not careful. Veterinarian Dr. Tracy Acosta of Acosta Veterinary Hospital in Biloxi gives these important warnings to heed.

Secure all electrical cords especially around puppies who are attracted to them and, of course, love to chew everything.

As far as your tree goes, make sure it is secure so your cat can't climb up it and fall. Keep all pets away from the tree's water as well. The chemicals used on live Christmas trees leak into the water, making it toxic if ingested.

What can also be highly toxic to dogs is chocolate, especially chocolate covered raisins. Raisins and grapes make dogs extremely ill.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly used in Sugar Free Gum is extremely dangerous and can be fatal for dogs.

Dr. Acosta also said it's a common misconception the Poinsettia plant is poisonous. She said it would only make an animal sick if they consumed 500 to 600 leaves, which is highly unlikely.

And lastly, tinsel from a tree ingested by any animal can actually twist their intestines and require emergency surgery to remove.

Besides warnings for things your pet should avoid, there is also new technology at the vet's disposal. The new veterinary digital imaging system is helping the usually frightened and uncooperative patients get faster, more advanced diagnosis and treatment.

The new vet digital imaging x-ray system gives the same type of quality x-rays that humans get. The digital pictures can even be emailed to specialists anywhere in the world for second or third opinions.

"It really is amazingly better," Dr. Tracy Acosta said. "You can really take a look at much closer, we can zoom it, we can change the contrast. So it's really really nice. And move things around and look a different bone structures or soft tissue structures very quickly."

Recently adopted kitty Agnes McInnis is about to be spayed. One quick, painless digital snapshot makes it easy for Dr. Acosta to take a thorough look inside before surgery.

"We were just double checking that she was not pregnant before we proceeded."

Within seconds, the x-ray showed Agnes is not a mommy to be, so her spaying surgery will proceed as planned.

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