Exactly what to do if your pet eats something toxic

Sep 22, 2017 14

No one wants to think about their furry friend lapping up paint thinner or laundry detergent. But accidental pet poisonings happen—and they’re more common than you might think.

Last year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center received more than 180,000 calls from pet owners whose dogs or cats ingested something toxic. And that’s just one national hotline—that doesn’t factor in the countless pet poisoning cases handled by local veterinarians.


That’s why it’s important to be prepared. Here’s what you should do if your dog or cat gets into something she shouldn’t. Plus, the one thing you should never do if you suspect that your pet has consumed a poisonous substance.

Common toxins to watch for

Chances are, there’s more dangerous stuff lurking in your home than you might think. According to the ASPCA, these are the potentially poisonous items that pets most often get into. If you have them around, be sure to keep them in a place that your furry friend can’t get to.   

Human medications including prescription, OTC, and natural herbs and supplements.

Human food including chocolate, coffee, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and xylitol. (Here are 8 table scraps you should never feed your dog.)

Insecticides and rodenticides.

Household items including cleaning products, paint, and lawn and garden products.

Veterinary medications. They can be dangerous if your pet consumes more than she needs.

Houseplants including aloe, chamomile, and many types of ivy. (For a full list, click here, and read our article on 9 common houseplants that are toxic to pets.)

Symptoms to watch for—and what you should do

Signs of toxicity can vary depending on what your pet has ingested. But they could include things like vomiting or diarrhea, shaking, lack of coordination, coughing, sneezing, trouble breathing, or seizures. Watch for unusual behavior, too. Lack of appetite, drinking more than usual, sluggishness, and even extreme excitability all suggest that something could be up.

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In some cases, a potentially poisoned pet might not seem sick at all. Some reactions can take longer to occur than others, and a bigger pet might not have consumed enough of a substance to actually get sick from it, says Rachel Barrack, DVM, integrative veterinarian and owner of Animal Acupuncture. (After all, we’ve all heard about a miracle dog that scarfed down a chocolate bar and was perfectly fine.)

So keep your eyes peeled for other signs for something gone awry. If you come across a container that’s open or spilled, or find an empty wrapper or torn-open packaging, think about whether your pet could have gotten into the item. If there’s even a chance that the answer could be yes, you should assume that she could be at risk for being poisoned.

When that happens, here’s what you should do:

Put your pet in a safe space. Get him away from the toxin so he can’t ingest any more of it. (You can deal with cleanup later.) If you have any other animals, secure them in a separate space so they can’t come in contact with the poisonous substance or with your pet.

Call the vet ASAP. Even if your pet is acting perfectly normal. “It’s always better to err on the side of caution,” Barrack says. If it’s after-hours and your vet isn’t open, call the nearest 24-hour veterinary hospital or the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Never try to induce vomiting without your vet’s OK. You could end up making things worse instead of better. “Some ingested products are caustic, and can cause severe esophageal irritation if vomited back up,” Barrack says.

Try to keep your pet from grooming himself. Especially if you think the substance might’ve gotten on his fur or paws. You may need to bathe your pet to wash the contaminant off, but check with your vet first. Washing could cause some chemicals (like those used in flea collars) to be reabsorbed into your pet’s skin, says the nonprofit organization International Cat Care.


The best treatment option will depend on what your pet ingested. Your vet might recommend bringing your pet in to give him IV fluids, induce vomiting, or administer activated charcoal (which can help absorb the toxin), says Barrack. She’ll also determine whether your pet needs further treatment. For instance, dogs who’ve eaten chocolate might need a temporary catheter to prevent toxins from being reabsorbed into the bladder.

What to do if your pet ate other non-food stuff

If your pet eats any object other than his food, call your vet. Old socks, dirty tennis balls, or even parts of dog or cat toys might not be poisonous, but that doesn’t make them safe. Soft items like socks or underwear can cause intestinal blockages. Sharp objects like sticks or bone fragments can do the same, and pose the added risk of puncturing your pet’s intestines, Barrack says. In both cases, your pet might need surgery to remove the objects. 

This article first appeared on Rodale’s Organic Life.

Hyperemesis: Is your pregnancy nausea more than morning sickness?

Sep 22, 2017 17

You’ve found out the big news that you’re expecting, and you’re looking forward to watching your baby grow big and strong. On the other hand, you might not be looking forward to another common part of pregnancy—morning sickness—especially if it gets severe.

But what if the extreme nausea and vomiting you’re experiencing is a little more than the usual? Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you could actually be facing hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) instead.

Dr. Marlena Fejzo, an associate faculty researcher at UCLA and USC, told NBC News that an estimated 100,000 cases of hyperemesis occur each year. The true total might be well above that number, though, because some women go undiagnosed or use home treatment methods.


While you might be tempted to dismiss this problem as a severe form of morning sickness, more health experts are recognizing it as a separate issue. Patients with hyperemesis gravidarum often end up in the hospital, needing medical help to get adequate food and hydration.

Such was the case during Kate Middleton’s first pregnancy, and she has suffered through HG in her second and now third pregnancies as well. While you certainly wouldn’t wish hyperemesis on anyone, Middleton’s struggle with it is putting the condition in the spotlight. 

What Is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

The problem that many doctors have in diagnosing HG is that it doesn’t have a strict medical definition. Some doctors will view the sickness as hyperemesis if a woman loses more than 5 percent of her body weight. Others may not use this marker but may still diagnose it if the patient is lacking vital hydration and nutrients.

How can you tell if you’re suffering from HG

The symptoms include regular nausea and vomiting, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, significant weight loss and the inability to keep food down.

You may also experience headaches, severe food aversions, anxiety or depression. In addition, your condition will likely keep you from normal, everyday activities and will not subside in certain stages of pregnancy.


While many of these symptoms are similar to those of morning sickness, it’s important to distinguish between the two.

Hyperemesis can be dangerous if not dealt with properly, and many patients need hospitalization in order to maintain proper nutrition.

In fact, hyperemesis causes over 150,000 emergency room visits every year. Thankfully, if you’re suffering with HG, close monitoring and supportive medical care can keep both you and your baby safe.


While some groups, such as the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER), are promoting and supporting new research for this condition, experts still do not know its exact cause. Interestingly, one study published in BMJ in 2010 did find a correlation between family history and hyperemesis. Of the more than 1,200 patients in this study, 28 percent had mothers who had also dealt with the condition.

Also, 19 percent had sisters who had experienced hyperemesis. This research suggests that genetics may play a role here, but the direct cause is still unknown. Instead, you’ll need to focus on treating the symptoms and staying healthy for a safe delivery.  

For mild forms of hyperemesis, you may only need to concentrate on rest and nutrition at home. You might have to avoid foods or smells that trigger nausea or vomiting and eat small meals.

Your doctor may recommend some bed rest as well. Since “mild” HG can easily escalate into malnutrition and dehydration, you should talk through any changes or concerns with your doctor regularly.


In many cases, however, you will need treatment under close medical supervision. Once in the hospital, you may receive an IV and possibly a feeding tube to ensure adequate nutrition. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-reflux or nausea medications.

No matter your specific situation, you should find strong support while dealing with HG. Not only will you need caring doctors who will take your condition seriously, but you will also need encouragement from loved ones or a support group. The bed rest and embarrassing symptoms might keep you isolated and worried, making proactive support a necessity here.

While some people might dismiss the severity of hyperemesis gravidarum, this condition is serious. Let your doctor know right away if you’re experiencing severe nausea or vomiting, especially if you are unable to keep food or water down. While you may not find a cure for your discouraging symptoms, you can get support from others who have dealt with the same problem. The important thing with HG is keeping yourself and your baby healthy for a safe delivery.

This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny’s work, visit AskDrManny.com.

Rare condition leaves teen covered in 'scales'

Sep 22, 2017 20

A teenager has been cruelly dubbed “snake lady” because of an ultra-rare condition which has left her covered in scales. 

Floraine Nalugon, 17, constantly smears her body with lotion to stop it from hardening and seizing up. 

She said her bedding is covered in “scales” every morning when she wakes up and she rarely ventures into the crowded places in a bid to avoid unwanted stares. 

The teen suffers with ichthyosis – a condition where a faulty gene affects the rate at which the skin regenerates causing a build-up of rough, scaly skin. 

Nalugon, from Bukindnon, Philippines, hopes to be treated by experts in Spain who are looking into her case. 

“When I was seven-years-old, my parents moved,” she said.  “Initially, I thought I could escape kids back home, who ridiculed me for my condition. My parents told me that I was conceived out of fish, that’s why my skin looks like fish scales to some while to others it looks like snake skin. “

“It hurts me lot hearing other people making fun of me,” Nalugon said. “My parents gave me the strength though. They showered me with love despite my physical deformities.” 

India-based press agency Newslions is currently helping Shalini Yadav, 16, from Madhya Pradesh get treatment for a similar condition in Malaga. 

They have taken details of Nalugon’s case to the same doctors. 

“I’m very excited to know that there is a treatment of the disease I suffer from,” she said.  “I will be studying hard, get a good job and show to people that discriminate against me that there is a chance for me to be like them also. 

“I am hopeful that I will also be treated like the Indian girl, who suffers from the same disease like mine, is being treated today,” she said. 

Rare genetic disease keeps patients awake until death

Sep 22, 2017 16

A woman and her husband completely changed career paths to study a deadly disease that killed her mother she learned she inherited.

Sonia Vallabh was studying at Harvard Law school in 2010 when her mother became ill. She had trouble seeing, lost her memory and spoke in tongues.

“She was fitful and couldn’t really tell you if she’d been awake or asleep,” Vallabh told CNN. Her mother died in December of that year at 52. Shortly after, Vallahb learned that her death was caused by an extremely rare genetic disease known as fatal familial insomnia (FFI.)


FFI wasn’t given a name until 1986 and only affects a few dozen families throughout the world. Caused by a brain abnormality similar to mad cow disease, FFI patients suffer a months-long descent into a dementia-like state as the brain loses its ability to fall asleep.

“There’s this one protein that’s sort of at the heart of this disease, the prion protein,” Vallabh said. “This is a protein that we all have. We’re all producing it all the time and it’s part of normal biology, but it’s capable of undergoing … a change in shape.”

If a change in shape occurs, the prions begin to create abnormal prions which then begin to kill brain cells as they spread. In FFI patients, the abnormal prions attack the thalamus, the center of our brain which controls consciousness, sight and sleep.

Most of the information on the disorder has been gathered from a family in Venice, Italy, whose line has have suffered from FFI for more than two centuries.

This article first appeared on NYPost.com.

Breast cancer symptoms to look out for

Sep 22, 2017 15

More than 40,000 women will be killed by breast cancer this year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Women face a one-in-37 chance of dying from the disease, which according to the ACS is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women behind lung cancer.

Read on to learn about symptoms of the disease.

What are some breast cancer signs to be aware of? 

Many women are diagnosed during a routine mammogram without exhibiting any symptoms, according to Dr. Laura Spring, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass.

However, some warning signs include a lump, persistent pain in one area that doesn’t go away, and hardening or thickening around the breast and armpit, Spring explained. 

“What’s most important is for women to know what’s normal for them and to be aware of changes in the breast,” she said. 

Stanford University Medical Center professor Dr. Douglas Blayney said patients may experience bone pain and have weakened bones and fractures if the cancer has already spread.

What else should I know? 

Skin dimpling — when it “starts looking like a peeled orange” — is unusual, Dr. Parvin Peddi, an oncologist at UCLA Health, told Fox News.

It “can be a sign of a cancer underneath that is pulling the skin in,” she said. 

“Very uncommonly” do women have nipple discharge or blood coming from their nipples, said Dr. Adam Brufsky, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. However, he added that bloody nipples do not necessarily indicate cancer.

Dr. Margaret Chen, a breast surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, said that asymmetry and pain are less common symptoms of cancer. She stressed the importance of routine mammograms, given that there are often no warning signs. 

Skin redness and feeling warmth in the breast are both rare breast cancer symptoms, according to Spring. She advised women with any questions or concerns to see a doctor.

Parasitic worm squirms through teen's eye, damaging his vision

Sep 22, 2017 15

When doctors in Mexico peered into a 17-year-old boy’s eye, they got a squirming surprise: a flatworm wriggling in and out of the teen’s eyeball.

The teen, who lives in a rural village, had gone to the doctor after three weeks of experiencing pain and decreasing vision in his right eye, according to a report of his case, published today (Sept. 20) in The New England Journal of Medicine .

By the time doctors saw him, the boy could barely see out of that eye. “He could not even see our fingers” when they were held 1 foot (0.3 meters) away from his face, said lead author Dr. Pablo Guzman-Salas, who treated the patient when he was an ophthalmology resident at the Institute of Ophthalmology in Mexico City. Instead, the teen could detect only hand motions with his right eye, according to the report. (His left eye was not affected.) 


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An eye exam revealed serious damage. The teen’s right cornea was swollen and speckled with blood, and there were multiple holes in his iris — all because the worm was “moving freely in the eye,” Guzman-Salas told Live Science. The worm was difficult to see because it kept dipping into these holes, he added. (The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the colorful iris and the pupil.)

To access the worm, the doctors needed to surgically remove the lens from the teen’s eye , along with the vitreous humor, which is the fluid that fills the eyeball. During the surgery, the doctors noticed that the worm had also caused extensive damage to the retina, which is located at the back of the eyeball.

The worm was about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) long and 1 mm (0.04 inches) wide, and was removed in several pieces, according to the report. It was broadly identified as a type of trematode, or “fluke,” but the doctors couldn’t zero in on a specific genus and species. Trematodes include species in the Schistosoma genus , the Fasciola genus and the Paragonimus genus, among others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Guzman-Salas noted that this was the “first and only” time he’d seen a case of this kind. “It is not common for trematodes to infect eyes; it is not common for any kind of worm to infect eyes ,” he said. Still, in “very, very rare” cases, there are reports of other types of parasitic worms — such as nematodes, or roundworms — infecting eyes, he said.


People can become infected with trematodes by coming into contact with food or water that contains the worm or its eggs — and also because of “really, really bad luck,” Guzman-Salas added. Many trematode infections occur when the parasites are ingested and go on to live in a person’s gut, according to the CDC. However, when the doctors tested a sample of the teen’s stool, they didn’t find any signs of the worms, suggesting that the parasite hadn’t infected his digestive tract.

In addition to surgery, the teen was given an anti-parasitic medicine, according to the report. Six months after his surgery to remove the worm, his vision in his right eye had not improved.

Originally published on Live Science .

Woman gives birth to 'miracle' baby after learning she has cancer

Sep 21, 2017 17

A woman who found out during her pregnancy that she had ovarian cancer, gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

University Hospitals said UH labor and delivery nurse, Aleks Patete, was pregnant with her first child when she was diagnosed.

According to a post on the hospital’s Facebook page, during Aleks’ seven-week ultrasound, she learned she had ovarian cancer. She and her husband, Dominic Jr., were faced with a difficult decision.

“I just knew deep down that this baby was the reason I found the cancer, so how could I terminate the pregnancy? He basically saved my life, so I couldn’t ever think about doing that to him,” Aleks said.

University Hospitals said Aleks was offered an alternative plan: She was put on a low-dose chemo regimen with regular ultrasounds.

Aleks said she had her last treatment when she was 34-weeks pregnant. Dominic Patete, III was born completely healthy. “DJ’s my little miracle baby,” Aleks said.

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“I had gone through surgery and scans and chemo with this kid, and he was finally there. I felt horrible that I had to put him through it, but at the same time, we did it together. It gave us this bond that’s never going to be able to break.”

Aleks is now in remission, after doctors removed the effected ovary, lymph nodes and fallopian tube.

“I can still have children, it’s a possibility,” she told PEOPLE. 

This article originally appeared on Fox8 Cleveland.

'Death Wish' cold brew coffee recalled over botulism concerns

Sep 21, 2017 7

Death Wish Coffee Company’s cold brew might lead to death, health officials warned on Tuesday. 

The coffee company, which claims to sell the “world’s strongest coffee,” announced it’s recalling their 11-ounce Nitro Cold Brew cans because it could lead to botulism, a form of food poisoning that could be fatal.

“Our customers’ safety is of paramount importance and Death Wish Coffee is taking this significant, proactive step to ensure that the highest quality, safest and, of course, strongest coffee products we produce are of industry-exceeding standards,” Mike Brown, the company’s founder, said in a statement.


The processing of the beverage could cause the deadly toxin to grow and produce, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Botulism becomes a breeding ground in low acid foods commercialized in reduced oxygen packaging. The toxin attacks a person’s nerves, causing breathing difficulties, and in more serious cases, death.

The drink has been pulled from shelves and is no longer sold on its website. No illnesses have been reported and the recall was issued as a precaution, the FDA said.

Customers who already purchased the drinks will be refunded in 60 days.


Death Wish coffee contains nearly twice the recommended daily coffee intake for a person, Live Science reported. Many of its drinks contain more than 700 milligrams of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces, though the cold brew contained 380 milligrams per can – slightly below the recommended 400 milligram intake. 

New report shows lifestyle changes lower cancer risk

Sep 21, 2017 53

The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer begin routine screening at age 50. The most common screening method is a colonoscopy to check for masses and remove polyps that may be pre-cancerous.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S., and with recent trends showing more and more patients being diagnosed in their 20s, it’s clear that colorectal cancer isn’t just a concern for senior citizens.

The overall rates of colorectal cancer have been falling since 1998, but there’s been an uptick in rates among patients 20 to 34 years old. 

Though the overall rate of colorectal cancer is still low in younger populations (9 out of 10 diagnoses still occur in patients 50 or older), researchers are eager to understand the trend and reverse it. 


While an exact cause hasn’t been pinpointed, there are aspects of the typical American diet and lifestyle that have been shown to increase patients’ risk, and the American Institute for Cancer Research has recently released a new report which estimates that lifestyle changes could prevent 47 percent of colorectal cancers in the U.S.

The report takes into account worldwide research on colorectal cancer risk, analyzing 99 studies and including data on 29 million people (a quarter of a million of whom were diagnosed with colorectal cancer). The lifestyle changes found to reduce risk were increased physical activity and whole grain intake. Risk factors that increased risk were consumption of alcohol, red meat, and processed meats. Obesity also increased cancer risk.

Americans’ consumption of whole grains, such as breads made with whole-wheat flour and brown rice, has increased in the last decade but still falls woefully short of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which recommend that half of all grains consumed be whole grains. In the average U.S. household, whole grains are a fraction of total grain consumption. The new report concludes for the first time that eating more whole grains lowers your colorectal cancer risk independent of other factors. People who ate an average of three servings of whole grains daily had about a 17 percent reduced risk.


Physical activity decreased cancer risk as well, though it only seemed to reduce the risk of colon cancer and had no impact on the incidence of rectal cancer. Only 1 in 3 adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week, and less than 5 percent engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

It was also found that processed meats like bacon and hot dogs increase the risk of colorectal cancer. About 50 grams of processed meat a day (about one hot dog) was linked to a 16 percent increase in risk, and the more you eat, the greater your risk. Other factors that increased risk included eating more than 18 ounces of red meat (beef or pork) each week, consuming an average of two or more alcoholic drinks per day, and obesity. (Excess weight also increases your risk for a host of other cancers, offering a powerful incentive to try to maintain a healthy weight whenever possible.)

The report also found less conclusive associations between risk and lifestyle choices. It’s possible that low intake of fruits and vegetables increase cancer risk, especially for those eating less than a cup of each per day. Fish and foods high in vitamin C may also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.


Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but we know that a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a plant-based diet lowers your risk not only of colorectal cancer but of other cancers, heart disease, and obesity.

As research continues to reveal links between lifestyle factors and disease, we should feel empowered. Though lifestyle changes can be challenging, these findings show that many of us can improve our long-term health by making healthy choices on a daily basis.

This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny’s work, visit AskDrManny.com.

7-year-old fitted with 3-D printed hand to throw first pitch at World Series

Sep 21, 2017 32

The 7-year-old Las Vegas girl who made headlines for wanting to throw a pitch at every MLB ballpark will take the mound this fall to toss the ceremonial first pitch during Game 4 of the World Series. Hailey Dawson, who was born with Poland syndrome and uses a 3-D printed hand, has always loved baseball, FOX5 Vegas reported.

But the syndrome, which occurs in about one in 20,000 newborns and affected the development of her right pectoral muscle and fingers, prevented her from playing the game.

Hailey’s mom, Yong, emailed the University of Nevada Las Vegas College of Engineering to see if they could help. After about six months of testing and fittings, Hailey was given her new hand.


“She just put it on and started doing stuff, so that was cool,” Yong told FOX5 Vegas.

Hailey, a Baltimore Orioles fan, asked her mom if she could pitch for the UNLV baseball team. Yong sent another email, and Hailey was invited to join the team for a pitch. About a month later, she had another request, but this time for her favorite team, the news outlet reported.

After she met her favorite player, Bryce Harper, Hailey asked him if he could help her get to the Nationals’ stadium to throw the first pitch there too. Soon after, all 28 parks sent out an invitation for Hailey to throw the first pitch at their stadium, FOX5 Vegas reported.

“It’s been a little crazy,” Yong told the news outlet.


Still, the biggest surprise came when the family got a call from the MLB’s vice president.

“Then he said ‘We want to invite your whole family to a World Series game,’” Yong told FOX5 Vegas. “Fantastic, dream come true right? And then he goes, ‘And we want Hailey to throw out the first pitch,’ and I started crying.’”

Yong said the opportunity will be a chance for Hailey to spread awareness for Poland Syndrome, as well as fulfill her ultimate dream.

“She was born this way for a reason,” Yong told FOX5 Vegas.