Current News and Important Information for May 2018


Author: Dr. Clarissa Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS

For this week’s blog, we have pulled together current news items, announcements, and important information that we think is relevant for you and your pet(s) right now, in the month of May.

1. Snack bags pose suffocation risk to pets! Between 2014 and 2018, Dr. Jason Nicholas from Preventive Vet conducted a website survey targeted towards people whose pets had suffocated in snack bags. From the 1354 respondents, data showed that 72 percent of dogs or cats suffocated in chip or snack bags, 11 percent in pet food or treat bags, 6 percent in cereal box liners, and 11 percent in bread bags, plastic containers, or something else. (Burns 2018)

2. It’s no surprise that the temperature is rising. Never leave your pet in the car! Even on a 70-degree day, your car can be as much as 20 degrees hotter. Cracking the windows and parking in the shade will not offer enough help to keep your pet safe. As temperatures climb, your pet cannot cool down and can be at risk for developing heat stroke – a life-threatening condition!
Check out this video for more information:

3. Mushrooms! We’ve had more rain, and more is on the way. Mushrooms are popping up, often overnight. Remember, some mushrooms are non-toxic and some mushrooms are toxic – and you often cannot tell by looking which one you have! Furthermore, curious dogs may ingest the mushroom before you have even seen it. Check your yard and keep your pet from ingesting any mushrooms. Learn more about mushroom toxicity here.

4. Pet food and treat recalls, recalls, recalls! The most recent recall this week was from Merrick Pet Care for a limited amount of Good Buddy and Backcountry Treats. These products apparently contain elevated levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Learn more here.
The AVMA maintains an updated list for animal food recalls and alerts here.

5. If you feed your pet a raw diet, consider this data (Jeromin 2018):

  • While you might hear the expression “it’s what’s fed in the wild” as a supporting idea for the benefits of raw diets, it’s not actually accurate for domestic dogs. In fact, dogs have evolved over wolves to digest plants and carbohydrates. There are 36 regions in the genetic make-up of dogs (yes, the DNA) that differ from the genome of wolves.
  • Speaking again to the idea of recalls, the contamination rates of raw pet foods are higher than typical dry pet foods. Note that freezing and freeze-drying raw diets do not destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Nutritional imbalances (deficiencies or excesses) can be problematic with raw diets.

6. Prevalence Data: The Companion Animal Parasite Council publishes prevalence data monthly. Below you will find the number of animals testing positive in Guilford County for the month of April. Remember, these only include animals that were actually tested – so real values are likely much higher. The good news? We can prevent or minimize many of these problems through preventive products, wellness exams, and responsible pet ownership!

Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme Disease1 out of every 30 tested
Ehrlichiosis1 out of every 23 tested
Anaplasma1 out of every 270 tested
Intestinal Parasites
Roundworms1 out of every 78 tested
Hookworms1 out of every 25 tested
Whipworms1 out of every 258 tested
Giardia1 out of every 87 tested
Heartworm Disease
Heartworms1 out of every 83 tested


Viral Diseases
FELV1 out of every 74 tested
FIV1 out of every 14 tested
Intestinal Parasites
Roundworms1 out of every 65 tested
Hookworms0 positive out of 130 tested
Giardia0 positive out of 130 tested

Stay tuned for more relevant and timely news and information next month!


  1. Burns, K. 2018. Snack bags pose suffocation risk to pets. JAVMA. 252:10:1180-1181.
  2. Companion Animal Parasite Council
  3. Jeromin, A.M. 2018. See ya later, alligator! The hypoallergenic diet to aid patients. Todays Veterinary Practice Journal. May/June 2018, pp. 17-19.