‘Be aware of who charms your pet’ – Edenvale SPCA

Staff at the Edenvale SPCA pose for a photograph. Seen here are kennel manager Udo Salchow, Inspector Jade Nel and manager Marita Acar. The dogs on their laps are Oupa, Stella, Lucky and Small. All of the dogs except Lucky are available for adoption.

Edenvale SPCA recently urged residents to be alert to people stopping in front of properties and taking photographs of “power breed” dogs.

In a post made on Facebook, Edenvale SPCA said people had been taking photographs of Pitbulls in the Avenues.

The individuals parked their car on the road and took photographs of the property.

Inspector Jade Nel, of the Edenvale SPCA, said a local dog groomer alerted the SPCA to what seemed to be suspicious activity. “Although the activity was suspicious, it was a misunderstanding,” said Nel.

She explained that residents were taking photographs of their own property.

“This could have been a real case of criminals taking photographs of dogs,” said Nel.

Following the post on Facebook, Edenvale SPCA continued to urge residents to be vigilant and if possible to keep their dogs out of sight.

Manager of the Edenvale SPCA, Marita Acar, said any dog could be stolen.

Acar said stolen dogs often end up in fight rings or with backyard breeders.

“The theft of dogs is a reality and could even occur in a nice community like Edenvale,” said Acar.

Nel said suspects often befriend dogs before they steal them.

when dogs are stolen they are often befriended by suspects.

“Suspects will sit at your fence and spend time with your dog while you are away,” said Nel. “Once a relationship has formed they just pick your dog up through the fence and lift it over.”

Tips from the Edenvale SPCA to keep dogs out of sight include keeping the dog in the backyard or putting shade net on the front fence of a property.

“If your dog is barking, don’t ignore it, it could be someone at your fence,” said Nel, and encouraged dog owners to get their pets microchipped.

She said every dog taken to the SPCA vet is scanned for a microchip.

“A microchip is the only way to legally prove that a dog is yours,” said Acar.

“We know of cases where dogs were stolen years ago and only recently reunited with their families thanks to a microchip.”

Residents who wish to get their dogs microchipped can do so at the Edenvale SPCA.

For more information about microchipping your pet phone 011 974 9268 or email [email protected]

Source: Bedford & Edenvale News

China closes ivory trade

IFAW is a global non-profit organization that protects animals and the places they call home.

To stop the slaughter of elephants, we have to break every link on the trade chain—from poaching to trafficking to demand. At the close of the year on 31 December 2017, China’s legal domestic ivory trade officially and historically came to a close. 100 percent of the country’s licensed ivory carving factories and retailers have been shut  down in accordance with a landmark 2015 announcement from Chinese President Xi Jinping and then US President Barack Obama. With this action, China takes a leading role in saving elephants.
In December 2016, China introduced a phased schedule to revoke some licenses by March, 2017 and to end all commercial ivory carving and retail sales by the close of 2017. The plan also encouraged a shift toward other carving materials and the preservation of existing ivory carvings for their non-commercial cultural value.
Over the past 12 months, the price of ivory has dropped dramatically in China and across Asia. The dropping price reduces ivory’s speculative attraction as an investment asset and reduces the incentive for poachers to kill elephants.

This kind of change does not happen overnight, and our IFAW team has been a driving force working tirelessly to  build awareness, inform policy and reduce demand for endangered species products over multiple decades. We are proud that awareness and action has resulted in change. That said, we vow to keep the pressure on.

As long as ivory market exists, elephants will live in danger. IFAW stands with China as the country commits to end its domestic ivory trade! We encourage all global markets to do the same, and will continue our work on the ground in the EU, UK, US, Australia and beyond this 2018!

Thank you, China! 谢谢中国

Source: IFAW.org

How to fly with a dog: Tips for traveling safely with your pet

Traveling anywhere by plane for a dog owner once meant a painful farewell, but thanks to a surge in the number of pet-friendly hotels and airlines, more people are taking their faithful friend with them when they fly.
But cases involving tragedy and confusion when transporting animals have raised questions over the best way to fly with a dog or other pet — and whether animals should travel by air at all.
Some, such as TV’s “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, advocate traveling everywhere with your dog. Organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States urge caution.

Health check

Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says flying with dogs and other pet animals should always be a last resort.

“If you have to fly […] don’t take your animal unless obviously there aren’t any options,” she says. “It’s not an ideal situation for an animal, and it can be stressful for the animal.”
If you don’t have a choice, she says, the key is to be as prepared as possible.
In the weeks leading up to the flight, the animal needs a veterinarian health check to make sure its fit to travel and its immunizations are in date.

Which airline?

As soon as you’ve decided to fly with your pet, call the airline, advises Block. Not all carriers take animals, and rules for flying with them varies.

Website Petfriendlytravel.com has an extensive round up of global airlines and their policies on pets.
Among the most pet-friendly of the pack is Virgin Atlantic, with its Flying Paws plan that gives pets their very own reward scheme.
Sorry, no free flights though. Pets collect “paw prints,” which can be redeemed for gifts such as Burberry, Prada and Gucci pet clothing.
Fancy dress delights aside, pet owners do need to pay attention to the small print when booking flights for their animals.
For instance, Air France says some pets are accepted in the aircraft cabin and in the aircraft hold. But certain “attack dogs” similar to Staffordshire terriers or pit bulls, mastiffs and tosas, will not be carried.
Singapore Airlines requires that your pet has a certificate of good health but does not allow pets to travel in the cabin of the aircraft.
Most North American airlines, however, do let small pets travel in the cabin with you on flights provided you let them know at the time of booking. Fees can be steep, and some allow only domestic travel.
“We don’t recommend one [airline] over the other,” says Block. “What we say is call ahead, be the best advocate for your animal.”

Dog passports

So you’ve found an airline that will accommodate you and your pooch. Next comes the hard part. Red tape.
Pet immigration laws are specific to each country, but one way to cut down on some of the headaches is to create a pet passport, which is “a collection of all identifying and required documents for entering a given country,” advises Pettravel.com.
A pet passport is an essential part of the Pet Travel Scheme (“PETS”), a system that allows animals to travel into the United Kingdom without undergoing quarantine if all the regulations are followed.
It was originally introduced in 2001 for animals entering or returning to the UK from other European Union countries, but has since rolled out to other countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Pettravel.com has a full list of country-specific pet immigration rules, with an option to purchase the necessary forms online.

Pet preparation

Next step: pee control.

Though probably a little easier than flying with kids, heading out on an epic journey with your dog isn’t as simple as throwing it into a pet carrier and taking off, warns Cesar Millan.
You need to prepare them for the long journey and let them get used to their carrier.
“Don’t just put them in a crate the day before. It should be a transition,” he told CNN in a 2012 interview. “You have to teach your dog to hold its bladder — it’s almost like training for a marathon.
“Go through the process before you fly. For example, flying from Los Angeles to Spain is 14 hours.”
Before you buy a pet crate, check out the International Air Transport Association’s list of pet carrier requirements, which most airlines adhere to.

What to do on board

When it’s time to fly, your pet should either be checked in as cargo or stowed in a cage under the seat in front of you, depending on its size.

Cargo has risks, says Block. Potential hazards include poor ventilation and extreme temperatures.
“You just have to make sure that you keep in mind if you’re traveling in the summer months how hot it is, you want to avoid any layovers so your dog is not in cargo holds or sitting in tarmacs and then having multiple transfers,” advises Block.
Taking your animal in the cabin? Bear in mind the size restrictions for animals. Some airlines also have limits to the number of animals allowed per cabin.
Each airline has its own regulations and procedure, which Block advises familiarizing yourself with before the flight.

Keep communicating

The Humane Society advises that you should be vocal about your animal and its needs — whether it’s with you in the cabin or in the hold.
“It never hurts to let as many people know [that your animal is on board],” says Block. “There can always be break down of communication.”
She also voices her concern over an recent incident in which a dog was mistakenly shipped to Japan instead of Kansas.
“We can’t stress enough that when you have an animal in commercial travel, you really have to keep making sure that everyone’s aware of it and that it’s proceeding correctly.”
Rules for so-called assistance and emotional support animals (which recently made the headlines when a woman attempted to bring her “emotional support peacock” on board a flight) are slightly different.
“Because these animals are emotional support they stay with the passenger,” explains Block. However, she stresses there are no universal rules — and passengers should still check with the airline before traveling.

Changing rules

Block and her team at the Humane Society are currently advocating against animals being placed in the overhead locker, which caused recent dog death on a United Airlines flight.

“We’re looking at legislation that would prohibit […] a small carry-on animal ever being put in the overhead bin — clearly that was a disaster, with dire consequences,” she says.
But Block is hopeful for the future, describing the incident as a potential “watershed moment.”
In an ideal world, commercial air travel would be introduced specifically for animals, catering for their needs.
“The statistics are not good of how many die each year, and so that should not happen,” she says. “There are always going to be some accidents, but this many is a problem, so we’re really looking at this as it’s time to clean this up and it’s not an afterthought.”
Ultimately, Block says as much care should be taken with animals traveling as humans.
“These are not cargo, they’re not suitcases, they’re living beings and they’re our family members. So we really have to make sure that it’s safe for our animals.”

Saying goodbye

If you do have to leave your dog behind, don’t worry about separation anxiety. Millan says that with proper training your pet can handle the time apart — even if you can’t.

But it’s also an issue that needs to be worked out if you’re traveling with your dog, as there will be times you want to leave it in the hotel room without having to worry about it barking and clawing at the door or chewing things up when you’re out.
“Separation anxiety is created by humans because they feel closer to the dog the more they bond. That’s not realistic for the dog, which doesn’t understand.”
“I have to help people and show them how we create separation anxiety. In Mexico, a dog is not allowed in the intimate space. We don’t have a living room. Dog lives outside. Detached from humans.
“In America, a dog lives on top of the human. The human goes to work, the dog doesn’t know how to separate from them. It’s easy to rehabilitate, but you have to understand the concept of proximity for training to work.
“It’s not good to let your dog follow you everywhere. Tell them when they can be near you, then tell them to go away,” suggests Millan as a method of lessening your dog’s attachment to you.
Source: CNN Travel

How much would you spend to save your pet?

Betsy Boyd had a tough decision to make. The Baltimore college professor’s 17-year-old cat Stanley had stage 4 kidney failure and faced a dire prognosis. Boyd was considering a kidney transplant for her long-time best friend, but was weighing the cost of putting the cat through such a risky procedure. She was also, of course, concerned about the financial expense.

“I asked myself if I could make such an exorbitant sacrifice for my best friend,” Boyd wrote, explaining the situation. “Even though I’m a college writing professor and freelance editor — and my paychecks reflect as much — even though my semi-retired freelance journalist husband and I have twin sons, age 3, a voice inside said, ‘You can, and you must — this is Stanley.'”

Friends tried to stage an intervention, saying the money should be used for her children’s education.

“Then I talked to Stanley. I explained how much I wanted him to live but said I didn’t know what I should do,” she wrote. “He purred a lot. He wanted to live, I believed. But he wouldn’t, couldn’t — not with a bum couple of shriveled kidneys.”

Boyd opted to have the surgery for Stanley. His donor was a homeless cat that the family adopted after the procedure. The bill came in just under $17,000.

The cost of pet ownership

We all know there are going to be expenses when we bring home a pet.

The annual cost of owning a dog or cat (or other non-human friend) varies, depending on its species and its size, according to estimates from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA). That means roughly $737 for a small dog, $894 for a medium dog, $1,040 for a large dog, and $809 for a cat. That excludes one-time expenses like spaying/neutering and equipment like crates or carriers.

Out of those annual expenses, owners typically spend between $210 and $260 on recurring annual medical expenses. Those include regular checkups, vaccinations and preventative medications like heartworm pills and flea and tick medicine.

But the unexpected can happen and then you’re back at the vet for an ear infection, skin allergies or something more serious.

Nationwide pet insurance policyholders spent more than $96 million in 2017 to treat the 10 most common medical conditions affecting pets.

At an average cost of $255 per dog, skin allergies were the most common health issue among insured canines. Bladder/urinary tract disease was the most common concern for cats with an average cost of $495. The most expensive medical condition on the list for dogs is dental disease ($400) and diabetes ($889) for cats.

Where to draw the line

A 2013 study by the American Humane Association found that one in 10 pets adopted from a shelter was no longer in the home six months later. One of the main reasons given for the animals’ return was the cost of pet ownership.

Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, our pets have the ability to live longer than ever before, but that comes with a hefty price tag. While some people don’t hesitate when faced with diagnostic tests, transfusions or chemotherapy, others have a finite number they’re willing to spend.

A 2017 poll of 250 dog owners and 250 cat owners by online lending resource LendEDU found that the average dog owner is willing to spend more than $10,000 to save their pet’s life. Cat owners, on average, will spend just shy of $3,500.

Some will spend way more, which seems like great news for pets … and vets. But not all vets think it’s a great idea.

“It’s wonderful that people are willing to spend $10,000 or $20,000 to deal with their sick pet, but ethically it puts us in quicksand,” Douglas Aspros, the former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the manager of a veterinary clinic in White Plains, New York, tells Slate.

“If a client wants me to do a $20,000 surgery on a cat, the practicality has to go beyond, ‘There’s someone willing to pay for it.’ As a society, should we be promoting that?” Some veterinary practices, he says, use companies that will offer credit with very high interest rates to people with low incomes, just so they can afford their pets’ vet bills.

“How much responsibility do we have for getting them into that?”

Roxanne Hawn of Golden, Colorado, spent nearly $31,000 in 23 months to save her dog, Lilly. “Probably not the best financial decision I ever made,” says Hawn, author of “Heart Dog: Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate.”

Her blog follows Lilly’s illness and details her veterinary bills and how she paid them. “I did not have anyone to tell me where this might end up,” Hawn says. “When you’re in the crisis, it’s easy to hand over your credit card and say, ‘Save my dog!’ But once you start on a path like this, if it’s going to be a lengthy or even lifelong battle, then it becomes harder to stop.”

Source: Mother Nature Network

How The Pet Effect Can Affect Your Practice

Most pet owners are intuitively aware of the many benefits of pet ownership. But backing up these instinctive beliefs with real data can have a massive effect — The Pet Effect, to be exact.

A joint venture by Zoetis and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The Pet Effect campaign promotes the idea that by keeping pets healthy, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other pet health professionals are key players in both human and public health.

“How much more relevant is the veterinarian when the pet owner becomes acutely aware of the impact that a healthy relationship with a pet can have on their own health and wellbeing, or their family’s health and wellbeing?” asked Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Executive Director, Zoetis Petcare Marketing.

People and The Pet Effect

The Pet Effect website promotes the positive impact of pets on people by providing research-backed evidence, presented in clever, fun, and unique ways, of the many health benefits of having a furry friend:

  • Childhood Allergies: Having a dog early in life can affect immune development and may reduce the development of certain allergies.
  • Heart Attack Survival: People who never owned a cat have a 40% higher relative risk of death from a heart 
  • attack.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Being around pets can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Autism: Children with autism spectrum disorder often experience positive behavioral changes when they are around animals.
  • Obesity: Adults who walk their dogs regularly may be less likely to become obese.
  • Blood Pressure: People with pets may have lower resting blood pressure.
  • Depression: Pets can help alleviate several symptoms of depression.
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder: Pets help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.

Veterinarians and The Pet Effect 

While understanding how pets affect human health is important, what’s perhaps even more important for veterinarians is to understand how The Pet Effect can benefit veterinary practices.

In the age of Dr. Google, pet owners often seek information about what their pets need from online sources—not just their veterinarian. But The Pet Effect has the power to change that.

“The more the veterinarian can educate the pet owner about their pet’s needs, but also about how their pet can influence the health and wellbeing of their family, then that veterinarian becomes increasingly…relevant in the eyes of the pet owner,” Dr. McFarland said.

The Pet Effect better defines the relationship between the veterinarian and pet owner, and actively discussing The Pet Effect with veterinary clients can:

  • Encourage them to bring their pets into your office more often for wellness visits.
  • Improve practice performance, because research shows that top-performing practices put more stock in improving the human-animal bond rather than improving the bond between the practice and pet owners.

“Companion animal veterinarians…are also a key contributor to public health,” Dr. McFarland said. “The more pet owners understand that, the more I think they are going to consider veterinarians first and foremost as a credible source of information about their pet.”

Source: American Veterinarian

The “Uber” of shelters sterilised over 400 dogs this past weekend

Sidewalk Specials has had another successful weekend and this time their volunteers went above and beyond to help as many dogs as possible.

Sidewalk Specials is a non-profit company that focuses on sterilising animals and rescuing abused animals. They also save animals waiting on euthanasia lists. The organisation credits themselves as the “Uber” of Shelters as they rescue and rehome animals using their volunteer base but do not have any infrastructure.

“We have no shelter! You know how Uber has no cars? Air B&B has no hotels? We use YOUR homes as our shelter! 100% foster based rescue: meaning no overheads, no stressed out shelter dogs, we know our rescues personally and can match them to the right home.”

“We run sterilisation drives! There are too many to save- far, far too many! Stopping them being born into abuse and neglect is the solution! Sterilise your pets, sponsor a sterilisation & don’t even think of supporting breeders!”

During the most recent sterilisation drive, the volunteers worked on 403 animals. One of the volunteers was so dedicated to the cause, she had her baby strapped to her back while she performed operations. They visited the De Doorn farming community which is incredibly poor and has no access to vets or rescue centres. Sadly, the community has one of the highest malnutrition rates in South Africa.

Sidewalk Specials took through some books for the children as well. You can follow the organisation here and see where they pop up next.

Source: Good Things Guy

Hazardous Foods for Cats and Dogs

You may think you’re doing your furry friend a service by feeding them titbits here and there but now’s the time to rethink those generous handouts! Some common human foods are severely toxic to our pets and should be avoided at all costs.

Apple Cores
Apple cores and their seeds contain poisonous cyanide that prevents blood from transporting oxygen around the body, resulting in the interference of essential bodily functions. Symptoms manifest in the form of drooling, breathing difficulties, dizziness, seizures, hyperventilation, collapse, shock and coma. If you must treat your pet with apples, ensure the seeds and the core are removed before doing so. Rotten apples should also be avoided.

Raw Bread Dough
As dough rises in the oven, it will rise in your pet’s stomach, releasing gases in their gut that results in painful bloating and life-threatening twisting of the stomach. Raw bread dough can potentially cause breathing difficulties and impair the internal organs. Active yeast also produces ethanol which can result in seizures, comas or even death


Grapes and Raisins
Not much is known about which specific substance(s) in grapes and raisins causing pets to develop poisoning and consequently kidney failure, but it’s unsafe feeding your furry loved one these fruits.

Xylitol is being used more frequently as a sweetener in health foods and its healthy characteristics aren’t passed on when consumed by pets. Xylitol tricks the pet’s body into thinking that there’s been a rise in sugar levels, subsequently releasing insulin. Blood sugar then decreases to dangerously low levels that, in severe cases, can result in death. Initial symptoms of poisoning include lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination that may advance to seizures if not treated immediately. Liver failure can ultimately result in a matter of days due to increased liver enzymes in the body.

Theobromine and caffeine are the main ingredients in chocolate that are toxic to dogs and cats. Vomiting, fever, seizures, upset stomachs and death could result depending on the quantity and type of chocolate consumed.

Raw Eggs
Consumption of raw eggs is dangerous to your pet’s health for two reasons. Firstly, raw eggs may contain bacteria like salmonella or E. coli which can lead to food poisoning. Secondly, the compound in egg whites, known as alvidin, can disrupt the body’s absorption of biotin (Vitamin B) which can cause skin problems as well as hair loss in cats.

Onions, Garlic and Chives
These natural herbs and vegetables can severely irritate the gastrointestinal system, potentially damaging red blood cells. Be cautious of garlic and onion powders as toxins are more concentrated therefore being far more precarious.

Corn on the Cob
If your dog enjoys a mealie, rather separate the corn from the cob as they may chew off pieces of the cob which can cause severe and agonising blockages in the digestive system.



Wild Mushrooms
Although many mushrooms growing outdoors don’t pose much of a threat, some do, so it’s best to play it safe and steer your pooch away from any sort of wild mushroom in their path. If ingested, some wild mushrooms can result in kidney and liver damage, diarrhoea, vomiting, drooling, painful stomachs, seizures, comas or death.

A pet’s body and internal organs are significantly smaller than human’s and their metabolisms are different too, consequently making the breakdown of alcohol extremely challenging for them. Consumption of alcohol can result in diarrhoea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, reduced coordination, CNS depression, tremors, deviant acidity levels in the blood, comas and death. Contact your nearest Animal Poison Control Centre if you believe your pet has ingested alcohol.

As with alcohol, the effects of caffeine on pets can be far more severe than on the human body so if you suspect your pet has consumed a caffeine-containing product, monitor them closely for signs of heart palpitations, hyperactivity or vomiting. Remember that caffeine occurs in chocolate, cocoa, colas and energy drinks as well as medicines for colds and painkillers.

Avocado are poisonous for dogs. Avocado plants contain a substance called Persin which is found in the leaves, fruit and seed so the entire plant should be avoided. Avocado poisoning can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.



Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Baking soda is a leavening agent, and when combined with the heat found in your dog’s stomach, it will release dangerous gasses that can cause low potassium or calcium, high sodium, muscle spasms or heart failure. As Baking powder contains baking sods it should also be avoided.

Nutmeg is toxic to pets due to a compound found in nutmeg called Myristicin. High levels of ingestion cause disorientation, hallucinations, increased heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain and even seizures.


Macadamia Nuts
Nuts, specifically almonds, walnuts and pecan nuts, tend to produce upset stomachs in dogs and cats. The worst of all these however, are macadamia nuts that can result in depression, weakness, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms usually develop within 12 hours of consumption and can last from 12 to 48 hours.

Mouldy Foods
Mouldy foods can be just as dangerous to your pet as they are to you. Certain moulds are extremely toxic to cats and dogs and can cause severe and lethal tremors.


Cloves and allspice both contain a compound called eugenol, which can cause liver toxicity in cats

Milk and dairy-products
Cats and dogs are lactose intolerant meaning they lack the necessary amounts of lactase to digest the lactose in milk and other dairy-products. This can cause severe discomfort such as an upset stomach, bloating and diarrhea.


Stone Fruits
Fruits with hard “stones” in the centre, such as apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines and cherries, are a scrumptious treat for your furry friend. However, be vigilant that they do not chew or swallow the pits as they are likely to cause digestive obstructions and are a potential choking hazard. Although not very likely, these pits also carry the risk of cyanide poisoning if ingested.

Animal Bones
Although a juicy bone may appear to be a special treat for your pet, they can be hazardous and even deadly. Splinters of the bone may become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract and even puncture the lining. This requires emergency medical care because if the internal damage results in a bacterial infection, the outcome can be fatal.


Raw/Undercooked Meat and Fish
Raw meat can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can cause severe food poisoning. Furthermore, an enzyme found in raw fish wipes out the essential B vitamin, thiamine, in cats. A deficiency in thiamine can lead to critical neurological issues and result in seizures or comas.

Salty Foods
Feeding salty foods to your pets should be avoided at all costs because large amounts ingested, can lead to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of an overdose of salt in pets can appear in the form of depression, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, fever, convulsions or death.


Bacon, whether raw or cooked, should not be fed to your dog. Bacon is firstly, extremely fatty which can lead to canine pancreatitis and even death.  Secondly, bacon is very high in calories and can result in hypothyroidism, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Thirdly, bacon contains high levels of salt which causes bloating. Bloating usually leads to excessive gas in the stomach which is hazardous to your pet. 

Dog Food for Cats and Cat Food for Dogs
Cat food is specially designed for cat’s specific needs. They require varying amounts and forms of protein, vitamins and essential fatty acids, so if they are habitually fed dog food, it can lead to a critically malnourished kitty.


Feeding your pet, a small quantity of liver is acceptable, but too much can lead to vitamin A poisoning, the results of which can be fatal. Associated symptoms are bone deformities, osteoporosis and growths of bone on the elbows and spine.

Human Medicine
Unless prescribed by your veterinarian, human medicine should not be consumed by your pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested any form of human medicine, get medical attention urgently!

Some medication to watch out for: antidepressants, cancer medication, cold medication, diet pills, pain relievers (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen), vitamins and other supplements

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Sidestepping the Perils of your Garden Plants

There is a surprisingly large number of plant species that render themselves poisonous to our furry companions. Although some are more toxic than others, it’s important to survey your garden, identify these perilous plants and either restrict or remove them for the safety and wellbeing of your pet.

Did you know that by either adding bran flakes to your pets’ food or including more vegetable fibres in their diet, they may be less inclined to seek out your garden vegetation?

A practical way to assess the most common of these poisonous plants is to classify them according to which system in the body they affect:


Melia azedarach (Syringa berry tree)
Alternative common names:
Seringa; Persian lilac; bead tree; berry tree; Cape lilac; China berry; China tree; white cedar (English), maksering; sering; bessieboom (Afrikaans), umsilinga (isiZulu)
Why?: The leaves, bark, flowers and ripe fruits of the Syringa berry tree are poisonous, with the berries containing the highest concentration of meliatoxins, causing a high mortality rate in affected animals who eat the fallen berries.






Cannabis sativa
Alternative common names: “Marijuana” or Dagga” plant
Why?: It’s the THC in the plants leaves that cause intoxication in animals when they either ingest the actual plant, or ingest the owners supply of the dried leaves, or products make form the leaves like cookies or other edibles. Second hand Marijuana smoke is effects pets.






Amanita Pantherina
Alternative common names: Panther Cap and False Blusher
Why?: Amanita Pantherina or “Panther Cap” is extremely poisonous. They grow under large trees in South Africa and are thought to have been accidentally introduced with trees imported from Europe. They typically flush when the temperature drops after good rain.






Datura (Moonflower)
Alternative common names:
Devil’s trumpets, Moonflowers, Jimsonweed, Devil’s Weed, Hell’s Bells, Thorn-apple
Why?: An annual weed with prickly fruit consisting of tiny pitted seeds. All species of Datura are poisonous, especially their seeds and flowers.
Did you know? Angel trumpets (Brugmansia spp.) are closely related to Daturas and are also highly toxic. These beautiful woody trees and shrubs are nevertheless popular ornamentals throughout the world.






Brunfelsia pauciflora (Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow)
Alternative common names:
Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, Morning-noon-and-night, Kiss Me Quick, Brazil Raintree
Brunfelsia pauciflora is a species of flowering plant in the family Solanaceae, the nightshades. All parts of this plant can be poisonous to pets but it is often the seed pods falling off the tree that are particularly attractive and often eaten.






Clinical symptoms:

  • muscle tremors and/or spasms
  • restlessness
  • respiratory difficulties
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • excitement alternating with depression
  • excessive barking
  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • staggering gait
  • dry mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth
  • increased respiration rate or constant panting
  • ataxia (loss of coordination of the limbs, head, and/or trunk)
  • paralysis
  • digestive upsets
  • drowsiness
  • seizures


Ornithogalum thyrsoides
Alternative common names:
Chincherinchee, Star-of-Bethlehem or Wonder-flower, Tjienkerientjee, Tjienk, Wit-tjienk, Viooltjie (Afr.)
Why?: A bulbous plant species that is endemic to the Cape Province in South Africa. Pets are effected when they chew on the plant and ingest it.






Ricinus communis (Castor-oil plant)
Alternative names:
Castor Bean, Castor-oil-plant, Mole Bean Plant, African Wonder Tree
Castor seed is the source of castor oil, which has a wide variety of uses. The seeds contains ricin, a highly toxic component that inhibits protein synthesis; ingestion of as little as one ounce of seeds can be lethal. Ricin is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant and is toxic to dogs, cats and horses.






Araceae family:
All the plants in the Araceae family contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves and stems. Chewing or biting into this plants leaves or stem release sharp crystals which become embedded in the mucous membranes of their mouth and tongue causing severe pain and irritation of the mouth and GI tract.

Toxic plants included in this family are:

– Elephants Ear (Caladium, Malanga)






Dumb Cane (Charming Dieffenbachia, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Exotica, Spotted Dumb Cane, Exotica Perfection)






Delicious Monster






Arum Lily (Calla Lily, Pig Lily, White Arum, Trumpet Lily, Florist’s Calla, Garden Calla)






Alternative names:
kaffir lily, caffre lily, cape clivia, and klivia
The flowers contain lycorine and other alkaloids that are toxic to cats when ingested. Although the bulb is considered the most toxic part of the plant, cat owners should not allow their cat to eat any part of this dangerous plant. Large quantities must be ingested to cause symptoms of toxicity however it’s estimated that complete kidney failure can occur within 24 to 72 hours after ingestion. Because of this, it is imperative you take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you recognize any of these symptoms or if you catch him in the act of eating the plant. There is no antidote for clivia poisoning, but there are other effective treatment methods available.  






Clinical symptoms:

  • vomiting
  • acute diarrhoea
  • bloating
  • cramping
  • blindness
  • multiple organ failure
  • severe pain
  • paralysis of the tongue
  • excessive salivation
  • difficulty swallowing because of a numb mouth and throat


Alternative names:
Sago Palm, Fern Palm
Cycad palms produce three toxins: cycasin, beta-methylamino-L-alanine, and an unidentified toxin. All parts of the plant are toxic, but the seeds contain higher levels of cycasin than other parts of the plant. Dogs usually ingest the seeds. Although toxic, the young leaves are palatable.






Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
Alternative names:
The most common species being Microcystis. Dogs are exposed to this species by drinking or swimming in water contaminated with it. Intoxication occurs when they groom themselves, subsequently ingesting the toxic algae.






Amanita phalloides
Alternative names:
Death cap mushroom
One of the most poisonous of all know mushrooms, the death cap is extremely toxic to animals even when only a small amount is ingested. It’s toxins cause acute liver failure and can also damage other organs such as the kidneys and the intestinal tract. These toxic mushrooms resemble several edible species (caesar’s mushroom and the straw mushroom) commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning. Amatoxins, the class of toxins found in these mushrooms, are thermostable: they resist changes due to heat, so their toxic effects are not reduced by cooking. Found growing under large trees like oak, chestnut and pine.






Clinical symptoms:

  • appetite loss
  • excessive salivation
  • depression
  • early symptoms can manifest themselves as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, salivation and diarrhea
  • permanent liver damage



All Lilies are toxic to cats so owners should make sure that their cats never have access to these plants. The entire plant is toxic and toxicity may occur when mouthing on or ingesting parts of the plant. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause kidney failure within 36 – 72 hours.

Toxic plants included in this family are:

– Asiatic lily





– Calla lily






– Day lily





– Easter lily





– Peace lily
The Peace lily is mildly toxic to animals when ingested. The peace lily is not a true lily from the Liliaceae family. True lilies are far more  toxic to cats and dogs. The Peace lily contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause skin irritation, a burning sensation in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and nausea.





– Tiger lily





– Lily of the valley






Clinical Symptoms:
Nephrotoxin in the above mentioned lilies can lead to renal failure within 24-72 hours of consumption. It only takes ingestion of one leaf to commence renal decline.

  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Increased urination, followed by a drastic reduction in urination for 1 – 2 days.


Oleander family of plants:

Nerium oleander
Alternative names:
Nerium, Oleander
Nerium oleander is one of the most poisonous commonly grown garden pants and is toxic in all its parts






Yellow oleander
Alternative names:
Lucky nut
All parts of the Yellow oleander plant are toxic to most vertebrates as they contain cardiac glycosides.






Digitalis (Foxgloves)
Alternative names: Foxgloves, Dead man’s bells, Witch’s gloves
Depending on the species, the Digitalis plant may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides.  The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds).






Lily of the valley
Alternative names:
May bells, Our Lady’s tears, Mary’s tears
The bulbs, flowers and berries of the Lily of the valley are poisonous. The whole plant has toxic levels of cardiac glycosides, but the bulbs contain the highest levels. Nearly 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found within the Lily of the valley plant. They also contain saponins, which is also toxic to cats and dogs.






Clinical symptoms:

  • Early indications of ingestion manifest themselves in the onset of gastrointestinal tract symptoms, such as diarrhoea, vomiting and excess salivation.
  • More severe signs subsequently follow including acute heart and respiratory distress, disturbances in cardiac rhythm and heart failure.
  • low blood pressure
  • seizures
  • coma


All  onions, raw or cooked are dangerous. They contain thiosulphate which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions causes a condition called hemolytic anemia, which is characterized by damage to the red blood cells. Onion toxicity can cause the red blood cells circulating through your pet’s body to burst.






Clinical symptoms:

  • anaemia
  • jaundice


Rubber euphorbia (Poinsettias)
Poinsettias, of which there are many varieties, contain a milky latex in the stem that is severely irritating to the skin, mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. The toxic principles in the latex of euphorbias are diterpenoid esters. These plants are sometimes regarded more of an irritant rather than toxic, however, poisoning by poinsettias is more frequently encountered in cats.






Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnations)
Alternative names: Carnation, Clove Pink, Pinks, Wild Carnation, Sweet William
Why: Particularly in cats when their skin comes into contact with the flower.






Grass seeds:
Grasses such as Spear grass, Rooigras (Themeda triandra), Assegaaigras and Bur Bristle grass (Setaria verticillata) have seeds that can penetrate the animals skin. This is most common between the toes of the animal but the seeds can also penetrate the skin, nose, eyes, eyelids, ears, gums or soft palate. Once the seed has penetrated the skin, they are able to migrate far inside the body.






Clinical symptoms:

  • Symptoms associated with grass seeds and awns are determined by the shape of the seed and are specific to where it has lodged itself on the pet:
  • Eyes may become inflamed and red.
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge.
  • Scratching the ear or shaking of the head.
  • Chewing on an agitated area of skin may result in abscesses developing.
  • dermatitis

What to do if your Pet is Poisoned?

  1. Have your veterinarian’s contact details along with an ER vet and Pet Poison Helpline pre-saved on your phone so it’s always available in case of an emergency.
  2. As soon as you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, remove them from the area where the suspected intoxication occurred.
  3. Remove any residual poisonous substances from other pets or your children’s reach.
  4. Call your veterinarian or the national 24-hour Poisons Information Helpline on 086 155 5777.
  5. Ensure your pet is breathing and acting normally.
  6. Keep a sample of the toxic material and any other information that may be useful to the vet or the Pet Poison Helpline expert.
  7. Do not give your pet any form of prescription or over-the-counter medication to try remedy the situation without your vet’s consent.
  8. Do not feed your pet milk, oil, salt or any other home remedies.
  9. Never induce vomiting without first consulting your veterinarian.

Keep in mind that there is a narrow window period when professionals can induce vomiting or pump the stomach of toxins to save your pet. Your reaction time may make the ultimate difference in saving your loved one’s life, so act immediately.

The severity of the associated symptoms fully depends on the quantity of toxin that has been ingested and how promptly they are treated thereafter. Plant poisoning in our pet pals is uncommon, but there have been reported cases of related fatalities. By being aware of the types of plants you have in your garden, you can prevent an unnecessary incident or tragedy from happening.

Additional toxic plants to keep your pet away from:

  • Azalea
  • Baby’s breath
  • Begonia
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Gladiola
  • Hosta
  • Ivy including the following: California, Branching, Glacier, Needlepoint, Sweetheart and English.
  • Milkweed
  • Morning glory
  • Pothos
  • Tulip/Narcissus

Avoid Other Forms of Pet Poisoning @ Home:

  • Store all household cleaning material, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, paint-related items, chemicals and vehicle-related products in secured cabinets out of your pet’s reach.
  • Even small doses of medication such as antidepressants, vitamins, pain killers, cold medicines and diet pills can be deadly to cats and dogs so keep them out of reach from your pets.
  • Only use pest baits or traps (for rats, mice, snails or cockroaches) in areas that are inaccessible to pets.
  • Only administer prescribed medication from your vet to your dog or cat as many human medications can be fatal to animals.
  • Everyday household items can cause serious harm to your pets, so keep the following inaccessible to them:
  • Consult your vet before applying a flea prevention product to sick, old or pregnant dogs.
  • Do not use products intended for dogs on cats, and vice versa.
  • Restrict your pets from accessing areas that have undergone insecticidal fogging or house sprays as indicated on the instructions.
  • Restrict your pets from gardens that have been treated with herbicides, fertilisers or insecticides until they have dried entirely.
  • Consult with a product’s manufacturer if you are unsure how to use it safely in your house.


Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.


Top pet-friendly Airbnbs in South Africa

It is the year of the dog, and what better a way to celebrate these canines with a well deserved holiday in some of the country’s most stunning pet-friendly Airbnb spots.

The Chinese New Year is on February 16, and the festival starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice and lasts around two weeks.

Here is a list of  pet-friendly Airbnb homes to visit across South Africa:

Barkly East

Nestled in the Southern Drakensburg, Barkly East is the type of town you visit when you want to escape the rush of modern life. Everything slows down here and you and your pooch can relax in peace and tranquillity in nature. There are many trails for lovely walks and ball catching – it’s truly a dog’s life this town.

Stay on a stunning sheep farm in the countryside to fully enjoy this area with your dog. Undoubtedly your faithful friend will enjoy the open spaces and the designated areas where they can freely run around. 

Seeing as the cottage garden is not fenced off, your pooch will have the pleasure of staying indoors with their humans and go on leashed walks with their owners when they want to explore the farm.

Cost: R704/night


This riverside village is located in the Overberg area of the Western Cape. It boasts a variety of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by dogs and their humans alike. With its Victorian-esque buildings, slow pace, mountains and rivers, Stanford makes for a wonderful weekend retreat away from the city.

If you want a room with a view, then Red Rooster Farmhouse is just what you need. Look out onto the Kleinriver Mountains and enjoy a spacious home and a big outdoor area. The quaint patio is a wonderful spot that both you and your dog can use to simply relax and take in all that surrounds you on this farm.

Cost: R2 196/night


Situated in the Eastern Cape, Clarens is a small town on the slopes of the Maloti Mountain. With activities such as hiking and nature walks as well as numerous dams, rivers and streams dotted about, it’s the perfect little town for you and your loyal hound to explore.

Stay at Lola’s self-catering accommodation for a touch of luxury in the countryside. With large lawns, open spaces and a patio where you can soak up the sun, both you and your dog will find it difficult to leave this Airbnb home. The unit is completely private and fenced with its own gate to the property.

Cost: R1 504/night

Prince Albert

This Karoo town sits at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. It’s surrounded by olive and fruit farms as well as some top vineyards. This town is over 250 years old and offers a number of great activities for you and your dog to enjoy. It’s also the perfect place to do some star gazing – there are many nights when the sky is clear and you can just enjoy the twinkling lights above.

Just a quick browse of Airbnb shows that there are many pet-friendly Prince Albert based homes that you can enjoy. Geduld is one of them. This six-sleeper accommodation is on the edge of town and overlooks peaceful farmlands. It’s close to everything (but then again, so are most things in Prince Albert), so you and your furry friend can go on many walks to get to all the places you wish to see.

Cost: R800/night

Source: IOL

At least 5 people confirmed to have died from human rabies in SA since Dec

Rabies is a disease which can be contracted from domestic animals through open wounds on the skin.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed that at least five people have died from human rabies in South Africa since December last year.

Rabies is a disease which can be contracted from domestic animals through open wounds on the skin.

NICD says the amount of reported cases is extremely concerning as contraction of the disease is highly preventable.

Five of the reported rabies deaths involved patients from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The NICD says a sixth person in the Free State is suspected to have died from the disease in the same time period, but this is yet to be confirmed.

The NICD’s Jacqueline Weyer says there has been an increase in the number of rabies cases.

“Rabies is typically very rare and this does present an increase in the number of cases we could expect to find.”

Weyer says the recent rabies cases were linked to domestic cats and dogs through bites and scratches.

The NICD has cautioned all pet owners to ensure their animals receive rabies vaccinations to prevent further human contraction of the fatal disease.

Source: Eye Witness News