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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever changing landscape of health news.Every Thursday at 5:42 a.m., 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m., Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs provides health information you can trust. With trustworthy sources, she explores the fact and fiction surrounding various medical conditions and treatments, makes you aware of upcoming screenings, gives you prevention strategies and more…all to your health.

To Your Health: Holiday Health Risks for Pets

flickr user LNB Photo (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Often times we think of the havoc our pets wreak on our holiday decorations. However, we also need to consider the health risks decking the halls can cause for our pets.

We hear about poinsettias being poisonous, but mistletoe and holly are even more toxic for pets. They can cause gastrointestinal illness, as well as cardiovascular problems, according to the ASPCA. If you have a live tree, make sure your pet can’t access the water, as it is a breeding ground for bacteria.

If you have a cat, don’t use tinsel in your decorating.  Kitties love to play with this sparkly "toy" but if they swallow it, they could develop an obstructed digestive tract and possibly need surgery.

When preparing your holiday feast, keep it well out of reach so as not to tempt your pets to eat foods they shouldn’t.  Also be careful with alcohol, as pets imbibing may result in respiratory failure. If you have a lot of leftovers, remember chocolaty, yeasty, fatty and spicy human foods, as well as turkey and bones, should not be fed to your furry friends.

Finally, if you are traveling and boarding your pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests talking with your veterinarian to find out how to protect your pet from contagious diseases. If you are hosting guests, make sure your pets have a safe space when company comes over. While they may initially enjoy the extra attention, if they get tired or stressed, there should be a room they can retreat to. On New Years Eve, make sure pets are secure in case they are scared by fireworks or gunfire at midnight.



Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.
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