Friday, March 29, 2013

#FurbabyFridays Warning About Easter Lily Toxicity in Cats

For those of you who have visited with me this entire month, you may have noticed a trend. I've been working my way through some of the common toxins that I've seen with my patients. Since this weekend many will celebrate the Easter holiday, I decided today's spotlight toxin should focus on one that can happen any time during the year and not just now.

Easter Lily
Lily toxicity is unfortunately a very common presentation to veterinary hospitals all over the country. People receive beautiful bouquets of flowers from loved ones and secret admirers all the time. Because lilies come in a variety of types and colors, they are a popular addition to these gifts. Unfortunately, these gifts of love and admiration can be deadly for our feline family members.

Star Gazer Lily

Easter lilies, tiger lily, Japanese Show lily, some species of day lily and certain other members of the Liliaceae family can cause kidney failure in cats. All parts of these lilies are considered toxic and consuming even tiny amounts can be life threatening. Many people are not aware of the dangers these kinds of lilies pose so if you're expecting a florist to warn you about the potential hazard, good luck with that. As more and more people learn about it and help to educate others, one day we will see a decline in cats admitted to emergency hospitals on death's door.

The exact toxin so far has not been identified. Just like with the grape and raisin, we are left stumped as to why it happens. We do know the toxin is water soluble and kidney damage occurs within 24 to 72 hours of ingestion of even just a few bits of a leaf or flower petal.

There are no known diagnostic tests to check for lily toxicity. The tests performed by your veterinarian center on checking the function of your pet's kidneys. Treatment must be done early on in order to be successful. Just like with most ingested toxins, the emptying of the stomach contents is recommended if it's within 2 to 4 hours of ingestion of the plant. Activated charcoal, IV fluids for at least 24 hours and other supportive care is needed to ensure the patient recovers. If left untreated, kidney failure usually begins within 2 to 4 days. By this point there are very few treatment options left and the death rate from lily toxicity is very high.

What are the common signs of lily poisoning?

These early signs often develop within the first 6 to 12 hours of exposure
  • vomiting
  • inappetance
  • lethargy
  • dehydration
Left untreated, the signs worsen as kidney failure develops
  • not urinating at all or urinating too frequently
  • not drinking at all or excessive thirst
  • walking drunk
  • diorientation
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • death
Once again...THERE IS NO ANTIDOTE for lily poisoning. Prompt veterinary attention is necessary.

What about other types of lilies?

Peace Lily
Not all lilies cause kidney failure but there are some that are mildly poisonous. These kinds contain oxalate crystals that irritate the mouth, tongue, pharynx and esophagus. With these, you will see minor drooling. Even so, it's better to be safe than sorry with ingestion of lilies of any kind.  Examples of these less toxic lilies include
  • Peace Lily
  • Peruvian Lillies
  • Calla lilies

Add Cala Lilies

The take home message here is to avoid having lilies of any kind around your cats. If you are planning on sending a flower arrangement to someone and you know they have cats, ask the florist to use alternatives to lilies. If you suspect your cats have been munching on any part of the lily that does make it into your home, consult with your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.  If you see any of the signs discussed above, seek veterinary help ASAP. Time is your enemy in this situation. 

~Dr. Tammy

Additional resources that can be helpful

Friday, March 22, 2013

#FurbabyFridays: Chocolate Toxicity

Hello and welcome back to my weekly installment of Furbaby Fridays with Dr. Tammy. This week we are counting down to Easter and I thought today would be a great time to remind folks about the dangers of chocolate. This tasty treat comes in all shapes and sizes and formulations whether in cocoa products like candies, cakes , cookies and brownies, but also in cocoa beans and mulches.  The most accidental exposures of pets to chocolate of course occur more around the holidays and Easter is a big one.

Because dogs tend to be the pets that tend to eat just about anything, we don't usually see cats with this toxicity, but there are a few of those pesky felines who pretend they are dogs and ingest some odd things. So to be safe, keep chocolate away from all fur babies.  This includes some cocoa bean hull mulches. Not only do the mulches smell like chocolate Pop Tarts, they are readily available for pet for some pets because of their use in gardens and landscapes. Of course the makers of the mulches will say there has only been one documented death from the ingestion of these kind of mulches, this does not mean that animals are not sick from them. In fact, even Hershey one of the makers of these mulches admit that 50% of dogs who ingest their mulch can get sick from it.  Here's an article by that talks a bit more about it.

What makes chocolate toxic to animals?

Methylxanthines are the culprits here, specifically theobromine and caffeine. That's right. There are TWO toxic components in chocolate and each will vary in concentration depending on the type of product. The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate the higher the amounts of both of these compounds. White chocolate has 0.25mg theobromine per ounce and 0.85mg of caffeine per ounce. In contrast, dry cocoa powder has 737mg theobromine and 70mg of caffeine per ounce.  Now what does that mean? 

Animals can show mild signs after only ingesting 20mg/kg of either theobromine or caffeine. Severe signs are seen at 40mg/kg and seizures at 60mg/kg. So if you have a 20 pound dog (roughly 10 kg) it would have to eat 400 mg of the toxins to start showing some signs.  So only 1/3 of an ounce of the dry cocoa powder can be dangerous and only one ounce of the cocoa bean hulls in the mulches could do it as well. Less than 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal for dogs. Milk chocolate is nearly 100 times as toxic as white chocolate. Baker's chocolate is SIX TIMES more toxic than milk chocolate. 

A lot of figures, I know but I wanted you to see the comparisons. If your dog decides he likes your dark chocolate candy bar you've been saving in your purse, you very well may have an emergency on your hands. 

 For an article about chocolate intoxication and a chart that includes the amounts of the types of chocolates and caffeine sources click HERE. It's a page on the ASPCA website with articles aimed more for veterinarians. The article is a PDF that will download to your computer if you click on the link.

It's not only the actual amount of chocolate we have to worry about when our pets ingest these kinds of foods. More often than not, the ingestion takes the form of eating candy in wrappers. Those can be just as bad leading to obstructions in the stomach and bowel loops. Even if the mulches are of the variety that have been treated to remove the theobromine, the debris itself could cause an obstruction if enough is eaten.  

What are the clinical signs to look for?

Usually withing six to twelve hours of ingestion you will see the first clinical signs. These include polydipsia (drinking a lot of water), vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and restlessness. If enough of the chocolate has been ingested, the signs can progress to an animal that ends up extremely agitated/hyperactive, urinating a lot, tremors or even seizures.  Other symptoms include high heart rates, arrhythmias, elevated body temperatures, coma and even death.  It's the arrhythmias that can cause death in these patients so it's imperative that you seek immediate veterinary care if your pet gets a hold of any kind of chocolate. It's better to be safe than regret it later.

How is chocolate intoxication treated?

As soon the pet arrives, the veterinary staff will be in motion. Stabilization first involves decontamination of the stomach by inducing vomiting. This will be done only if the patient is stable enough for it to happen. If your dog is seizuring, the induction of vomit will NOT occur. Instead the seizures will be brought under control first. Once more stable then decontamination will occur using stomach tubes to remove as much of the chocolate that remains and to administer activated charcoal without sorbitol. (In the paint ball toxicosis article you will recall that sorbitol is one compound that can cause issues all on it's own. 

If it's been within a two hour period of ingesting the chocolate, emesis (vomiting) will be induced. Trust me, some of the dogs that have come into my clinic after eating chocolate have amazed me with the sheer amount of the stuff in their stomachs. One patient at a box of mint cookies covered in dark chocolate. My treatment room reeked of minty chocolate for hours after that pooch tossed his cookies...pun intended. ;)  

Intravenous fluids, close monitoring of vital signs to make sure elevations of temperature and heart rates don't occur. If the signs do progress, then medications are administered to control seizures and arrhythmias. Usually our patients present early enough that just 12 hours of IV fluids, and monitoring are all that's needed after the decontamination. Activated charcoal is sometimes split into three different doses in order to continue to absorb any chocolate that got into the intestinal tract.  The patients that have the longest recovery are those who are treated after the bad symptoms have already started or they've ingested chocolate that contains other "ingredients" such as marijuana, laxatives, "magic" mushrooms and other recreational drugs. 

So do yourself and your pets a huge favor and lock up all products containing chocolate and caffeine. Even if it's white chocolate containing very little toxin per ounce, it's best to just keep it out of reach. Don't leave any candies out in dishes, Christmas stockings, wrapped under the Christmas tree, in Easter baskets accessible to pets, boxed chocolates on Valentine's Day, or baked goods out where your pets have access.  I know that all seems like common sense, but you'd be surprised by the number of folks who say "my dog never jumps up on the counter. Why would I put the chocolate away?"  Here's another good one, "It's a dog. They don't eat chocolate."  

This is where I usually hear Bill Engvall's "Here's Your Sign" routine.  LOL

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#WWoW: Finding Your Blogger Niche

Welcome back once again to Not Enough Time in the Day and the second installment in my series on creating your own blog. Since this is a Writer's Words of Wisdom post, I'll only talk about blogging as it relates to writers. Even though I write erotica and erotic romance, these tips apply to authors in all genres.

Last week, I asked my alter ego, Stephanie Ryan to share her post on deciding about having a blog, website or a combination of both under one domain. She talked about two of the most popular blogging sites and the advantages of using each one. Of course there were disadvantages for each too, but ultimately it came down to what was the easiest format for her to work on. Hopefully her article helped you to decide and pick one as well. This week I want to touch on how you go about creating your individual blog to help get yourself noticed in the vast world we call The Blogosphere.

I've got my hosting site. Now what do I do?

Congratulations! Now that you've made your choice, it's time to come up with a way to make your little blog stand out and belong to YOU. For that, you need a catchy title and tagline. These are not the same the domain name/URL. Let me explain that just a little bit before we go on. Your domain name will be what folks type into the search engines to find you. As an author, the best kind of domain name or URL to have is one that has your pen name in at least part of it...or some variation of it. The domain name for my Behind Closed Doors website/blog is and the one for the blog you're reading now is  Both of them have my pen name in the URL and therefore both linked to me.  Not Enough Time in the Day was created to share all parts of my life as a veterinarian, poet and author of erotic romance. Juggling an evil day job as a veterinarian, life as a newlywed, running a household and finding time to write can be a challenge and every single day I wish there was more hours for me to get things done.  So the title and tagline for this blog was born. Here are a few other blogs that I enjoy reading and following myself. Notice their creative titles and taglines.
  1. Tales from the Snark Side belongs to author Tymber Dalton and her various pen names.
  2. Romance Beckons...The Erotic Writings of Author Paloma Beck and Friends
  3. Calipe's Writing Tablet...The Musings of Romance Author Rose Anderson
  4. Kisses, Caresses, and Whispers in the Night  owned by romantic suspense author Amber Lea Easton
  5. Sealed With a Kiss Robin Badillo's blog
Take a look at some of those blogs and see how they've set them up. Are there features present that appeal to you? This is where you have to decide what you want your own blog go accomplish. Is it only going to be used to showcase posts written by yourself or will you want guest to stop in to discuss various topics? Is your blog going to be about books you've read (a review blog) or all about books you've written yourself? Will you introduce new authors to your followers or keep every post all about you, your thoughts and opinions about various topics?

Do you see where I"m going with this? The sky really is the limit with what you can write about, but it may be best to avoid topics such as religion and politics. Those tend to get really heated and downright messy. Trust me. There are more than enough topics to cover that can be just as controversial. (wink wink). I've been known to jump on that soap box from time to time. Did you catch my diatribe on avoiding the diva syndrome? How about my alter ego Lia Michaels and her discussion of the differences between sensual romance, erotica, erotic romance and porn? No? Here's the link for that one too. ;)  Both of those blogs were a result of some heated discussions I had with some fellow authors. Those topics are a bit controversial and they do make great blogs. 

How do I incorporate guests bloggers? 

Why not choose specific days to be set aside for guests? You can also go another step further by making those days center around a specific theme. For my blogs, I found that allowing guests on any day of the week, created way too much work for me setting up all the spots. I was left with very little time left to work on my own posts, poetry and other WIPs. I had to find balance so I took control. I decided to only have guests three days a week. I had Oh My! Mondays, Thursday Thirteen and Saturday Spotlight. Those three eventually evolved into adding two more features for this blog: WWoW and Furbaby Fridays.  Others to consider could be Tantilizing or Titillating Tuesdays, Sinfully Sassy Sundays with The Vixen (mine on Four Seduced Muses), Wanton Wednesdays, Slippery Saturdays...the list can go on and on. Amber Lea Easton has Open Mic Mondays to showcase guests. Another spot I've seen another author use is Friday Firsts showcasing the opening lines of books her guests wish to promote. 

Having the specific days enables you to have continuity and gives something for your followers to look forward to each week. Can you slip in different posts in there? Hell yes! It's your blog. Do with it what you will, but try to keep it consistent.  You don't wish to include adult topics, then don't. You can keep your "place" as squeaky clean as you wish or as down and dirty as you can get. Do you want to have a no hold's barred approach and feature topics and guests that are considered more risque or taboo? Go for it! I did. Check out Four Seduced Muses and The House of Taboo.  Do you wish for something in between the sweet and taboo? Check out Stephanie Ryan's Through Stephanie's Eyes. She's just getting started but having a lot of fun! 

How do I make my blog stand out? Do I need a gimmick?

I'm learning about this along the way too and the answer I've found is a resounding YES! For my Behind Closed Doors blog, people are drawn to my poetry in the largest numbers. All of my blogs are popular when I participate in blog hops because of the prize packages I put together for each one. This blog is now a hit with the tips for writers and for the tales of my life as a veterinarian. Sassy Vixen Publishing is building a reputation as a new publisher and showcasing authors of all adult genres. The House of Taboo's specialty is the Saturday Spotlight feature. Lia has turned the blog into an actual night club sort of feel, having the guests on the center stage for their interviews. She then surprises them with having their favorite actor or actress "read" the steamy excerpt from the book the guest is promoting.  The feature has become so popular, "we've" decided to include an actual nightclub called The House of Taboo in a shared world series being created by Sassy Vixen authors and many others.   What started out as a fun way to present an interview, turned into an actual character in a romance novel series. Who knew? LOL

So go on. Think about your goals and the persona you wish to present to the Blogosphere and the entire online community. Once you have those basic details, sign up for your blog with the domain name you wish to have in that URL, the eye catching title and tag line to draw in those followers, and add the features you wish to have shown on the site. Eventually you can expand your blog to include your website, your favorite links, you books and book trailers, inspirational photos...anything you wish to make the space all your own.

Above all, have fun and GET BLOGGING!!!

Until next time

Do you want more Words of Wisdom? My friend and fellow WWoW author/blogger Paloma Beck has a post for you today too. Make sure you stop in and say hello. We're working on getting our very own WWoW blog to keep all our posts together in one place. It's still a work in progress, so we'll let you know when to expect the unveiling.

Friday, March 15, 2013

#FurbabyFridays: A Penny For Your Thoughts? NOT!

How many of you have dogs (or even cats!) that eat or try to eat everything they come across? Now how many of you have had pets that have swallowed coins—specifically pennies? If you are of the group who have answered yes to that last question, you know exactly where this blog will be going and you'll probably relive some pretty frightening moments for you and your pet. For those of you who've never experienced that kind of problem, then stick around. We're about to take another ride on the pet toxins train! All Aboard!

Why are pennies toxic?

If all the circulating US coins, only the penny is toxic. Those minted after 1982 have a core made out of zinc which is then copper plated. These coins are 97.5% zinc. Canadian pennies made from 1997 to 2001 are 96% zinc. For some animals, one penny is more than enough to cause kidney, liver, gastrointestinal and hematopoietic issues like severe, life-threatening anemia. Death can result from the anemia or multiple organ failure.

The scariest part is that the toxic dose of zinc isn't known. Just like with grape and raisin toxicity, the amount can vary for each animal. Also we don't know exactly how zinc causes destruction of the red blood cells or how it causes the damage to the kidneys. What we do know is the acidic environment in the stomach dissolved the copper plating of the penny, thereby releasing the zinc rapidly.

What are the clinical signs?

Since more often than not, the ingestion of the pennies is not witnessed, we don't have clear cut documentation as to how long it takes for the first symptoms to occur. Dogs who have made a snack of pennies can exhibit some or all of the following signs and symptoms.
  1. jaundice (icterus)
  2. anorexia
  3. vomiting
  4. anemia
  5. kidney failure

The severe anemia is the worst symptom and is what attacks multiple organs of the body. Once that happens, you can see collapse, seizures, coma and death. How can you tell if your pet is anemic? Take a look at their gums. Flip up the lip and relax your pressure on it so you don't get a false pale look! If they are less than nice and bright pink, it's abnormal and needs to be checked out. If you see pale pink or even white, you pet is anemic and needs to be seen by your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Birds are another family pet that can suffer from zinc (and lead) toxicosis because they too love to chew on everything in their environment. Some cage materials are constructed of hardware cloth which has lead and zinc in the welds. Being the little destructive creatures that they are, within no time the birds can ingest enough of the zinc and/or lead to become quite ill.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on the clinical signs, history of witnessed penny ingestion and radiographic identification of the coins. Sometimes the coins can cause and obstruction and get held up at some point in the stomach or small bowel. Other times they've passed straight through to the colon by the time they are seen on an x-ray. At this point the patients are usually quite ill as the pennies have been in their systems for several hours at this point. Blood work and a urinalysis are needed to determine the extent of the anemia, kidney and liver disfunction or failure. These samples are also needed to determine the zinc levels in the blood plasma and the urine.

Treatment is of course aggressive supportive care to help correct the abnormalities. The most important part of the whole thing is to remove the pennies from the animal. This can be risky if the anemia is severe, but until the source of the zinc is out, further damage will result and maybe become irreversible.  The zinc itself is a potent irritant in the GI tract so medications like sucralfate and metoclopramide are usually part of the protocol as well, along with blood transfusions, intravenous fluids and in a few cases even dialysis if the kidneys are not producing urine (anuria).

Unfortuanately, something as "simple" as ingestion of a few coins could lead to THOUSANDS of dollars in veterinary bills. Most of these patients will recover within 72 hours of removal of the pennies if treated aggressively. If the pennies are in the colon, then multiple warm water enemas will be performed in order to get them to pass quickly. If the coins got held up in the stomach or small intestine, endoscopy or surgery will be done. Of course, follow up x-rays will be done after the procedures to be sure that all of the pennies have been removed. 

How to prevent this?

Besides pennies, zinc can be found in many other products. Here's a partial list, far from complete but at least it's a starting point. If you have any of these items in your home, please lock them up to keep them out of reach of your pets AND your children. Zinc toxicity also affects humans.

  1. diaper rash ointments such as Desitin  
  2. nuts
  3. bolts
  4. staples
  5. board game pieces ( Monopoly anyone?)
  6. zippers
  7. jewelry
  8. certain lozenge brands
  9. some lotions

To summarize, keep small metal objects and zinc containing creams out of reach. Be on the look out for the nuts and bolts on kennels and carriers. Some may contain zinc so it's best to just assume they all do to keep safe. Use caution when using lotions and ointments on your pets. Unless the product has been specifically prescribed by your veterinarian, DO NOT use them until you can clear it with them as safe to use on your fur baby.

Next week we talk about chocolate toxicity. With Easter coming up, you don't want to miss that one!
~Dr Tammy

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#WWoW: #Blog, Website, or Hybrid? What's an Author to Do?

Welcome to this week's edition of Writer's Words of Wisdom on Not Enough Time in the Day. I've had a few topics I wanted to touch upon over the next few weeks, but another has had to be brought to the top of the list. Last week I covered how to avoid the diva syndrome. In that article I mentioned one particular diva author who didn't know what a blog was, how it was used to promote an author's work, or what they needed to do in order to be a guest on another's blog. For most of you visiting here, this topic may seem very basic, but there are many more authors out there who haven't got a clue what a blog is let alone how to create one.

I was one of those people when I first published in 2011. I found out very quickly I was behind the rest of the pack. Luckily, the wonderful veteran authors with my publisher pointed me in the right direction and I haven't looked back ever since. With three pen names, I now have or share four adult website/blogs, one PG rated blog(this one), one PG rated website/blog, and one book review blog.  That's right. Seven distinct sites. Three of them I  own the domain names and the others will soon follow.

What's the difference between all of them? What makes a blog a blog and not a website or vise versa? I thought it would be a great idea to repost a blog article my alter ego Stephanie Ryan did not to long ago on this very subject. She isn't published yet, but is getting a jump start on her online presence so that when she does put out her first mainstream romantic fiction, folks will already recognize her name.  (Yeah, I've learned a few things by the third pen name! LOL) The following was of course on her own blog, so the references made in the article apply to Through Stephanie's Eyes.

Blog, Website, or Hybrid? What's an Author to Do?

Being relatively new to the publishing game, I've come across many discussions about creating a separate website from my blog. Now these talks are between other authors mind you so I thought I would put the question out there to them.

What's the difference between the two?

Silence...yep. That's what I got. Oh I got great advice that I should have both and that a website would make me appear more professional than a blog, but not one of them told me WHY this is so and what's the difference between the two. Well, I went searching with good old Dr. Google (to borrow the term from my veterinarian alter ego Tammy) to see what I could come up with. Guess what? Most of the folks out there can't answer that question either!

So what's a girl to do?

Don't freak out! I did find a few great articles that put it all into perspective. Jeff Korhan wrote a very concise and easy to understand article about it HERE.  For those of you who already know the difference between the two, please bear with me as I go through this for those of us who were confused.  A blog is actually a specific type of website (shocker I know!) that has content that changes on a regular basis. A blog's home page will have the most recent post at the top followed by the older ones. Think of it as an online magazine.  An actual website can be looked of as a storefront. It's selling a product (you as an author and your work) or service. The content is dedicated to that product you're presenting for purchase. Of course you can manually update the pages of your website, but they don't update on a continual basis with each new post like a blog would.  Here's another article comparing the two and their basic features. Oh what the hell, here's another one for those of you who need just a bit more convincing.

Still confused? Don't be!

After reading the articles, I've decided the best option for me is to have a combination of the two like Tammy has with Behind Closed Doors. When you click on that link, you are taken to her static "About Me" page on  Yes, she's allowed comments there, but for the most part, the information is static showcasing her book covers, information about her, a few banners, and of course the tabs at the top will take you to one of her blogs, her poetry, guest author guidelines, etc.  With Wordpress it was easy to do that and set up another page as the blog for Behind Closed Doors. I won't get into all of that here, but as a whole all of my alter egos like Blogger better. Why? It's a bit more user friendly when it comes to the fonts, colors and basic set up when dealing with the free services. Wordpress has specific fonts for each free template. Of course you can purchase more and custom design your own, but for today's discussion, I'm sticking to the freebies.

So how can I set up my "website" here with Blogger and connect it to the blog? Easy! I'll make it a static page. Right now it's just my About Me section but as I get published, I'll add more content. I may add it to that tab or even...get this...start up ANOTHER page to showcase my titles with their buy links.  Okay, I'm being a smart ass here, but you get the point. I've freaked myself out for far too long thinking I had to get a separate website and keep it separate from my blog in order to appear more professional to readers and others in the publishing world.  Why? Because someone else said I HAD to that's why.

Isn't the whole point of having an online presence is to be noticed? If you start doing everything according to some cookie cutter template like everyone else, how will you stand out? How will you attract those folks just randomly searching the Internet to first stop in and look at your site and then STAY there, maybe even follow you for future updates and posts?

I'm going to follow my own drummer here and make my blog/website combination as professional and welcoming as possible. I want this to be a spot where my friends, fans, fellow authors and the curious to stop in and relax checking out what's here on the pages. Hopefully they'll all like what they see and keep coming back. That's the sort of thing that keeps me going back to my favorite blogs.  How about you?


I hope that was of some help. Next week, I'll go into a bit more about creating a "gimmick" for your blog posts and that of your guests.

For more of this week's Words of Wisdom, please stop in on the following authors. If there is a topic you'd like to see covered, just drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

Friday, March 8, 2013

#FurbabyFridays: Paint Ball Toxicosis in Dogs

I was perusing "Doctor Google" doing additional research for topics I wish to discuss for my Fur baby feature  when I ran into one of the sites that showcase questions answered by regular Joe Schmoes. Occasionally you will see someone who has the credentials answering the questions, but more often than not it's just people giving their two cents.

This time I found a question posted from a person whose dog eats paint balls on a regular basis—a lot of them. You see, they shoot their paint ball guns in their backyard at targets. The dog would then chase those that miss the targets and gulp them down before anyone can stop it. The question this person posed to the group was "Should I be concerned?"

Well, besides the usual "are you an idiot?" answers, there were a few who tried to help. One was a veterinarian who did give the correct information, but a couple of people still weighed in after that response with totally FALSE information although it was coming from the right place and they were genuinely concerned for the dog.

What's the REAL beef with paint balls?

Besides being called "paint" balls, there isn't any actual paint in them at all. Their ingredients vary depending on the manufacturer, but they usually include polyethylene glycol, glycerol/glyerin, gelatin, mineral oil, dye, ground pig skin and water. Many also contain sorbitol. The ingredients highlighted in hot pink are what are of concern here and what can lead to the symptoms associated with paint ball toxicosis. We'll get to that in a moment, but first...

If it's not the PAINT/lead toxicity that's the problem, what is?

Polyethylene glycol, glycerin and sorbitol are all what we refer to as osmotically active agents.  In other words, they pull water from the body's tissues and into the bowels. When this happens, it throws off the electrolyte balance of the body. The most worrisome change would be hypernatremia...elevated sodium levels. It's when this occurs rapidly, like when eating large numbers of paint balls or chronically ingesting them, that we get the problems. The organ most affected by the high sodium is the brain. With rapid removal of the water from the brain cells, you will see a rapid decrease in brain volume, cerebral vessels may rupture causing hemorrhage. This in turn leads to the various neurological signs listed in the next section.

Click HERE to read about one pet owner's experience dealing with paint ball toxicosis in her beloved dog, Lilly.

Special note! The contents of the paint balls are nontoxic to humans with skin contact, BUT they are not intended for consumption by people or animals. So it's best to avoid doing that for any and all species. There are reports of many of these balls being left in wooded areas where wildlife can ingest them. The tell tale signs are the rainbow colored vomit and feces. It's imperative that these forms of "ammo" be contained and properly disposed of for all concerned.

What are the clinical signs of paint ball toxicosis?

Symptoms can occur shortly after ingestion but sometimes can take several hours to become evident. In the case of chronic ingestion of a ball or two at at time, we may not see these signs at all. The body can compensate and correct the abnormalities if there are very little in the system at a time. Unfortunately, with our fur babies, this is usually NOT the case and the amount eaten can be quite large. Some of the containers have hundreds of them. Now add in those left in yards and paint ball game areas, and the number can easily grow exponentially.

Here's the list of the most commonly seen symptoms
  1. vomiting and diarrhea with or without the technocolor
  2. weakness
  3. blindness
  4. increased heart rate
  5. fever or even low body temperature
  6. seizures
  7. coma
  8. death

How do you treat it?

The dogs must be hospitalized for a minimum of twenty-four hours. If it has been less than one hour after the ingestion, vomiting will be induced. After the first hour, there will be multiple warm water enemas. This serves two purposes. The first is to help promote the passage of the paint balls and the second is to help replace the water the balls continue to pull out of the body the longer they are present in the intestines.

Other supportive therapy will depend on the clinical signs exhibited. These include intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, anti-seizure medications, and close monitoring of blood gas and electrolytes. Most patients will recover within 24-48 hours if supportive care is implemented immediately. Paint ball toxicosis can be fatal, so instead of spending time online asking non-veterinary personnel if your dog's habit of eating paint balls should be of concern, call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital immediately. It could very well mean the difference between life and death for your fur baby. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#WWoW: Avoiding the Diva Syndrome

Welcome back once again to Not Enough Time in the Day and my contribution to this week's Writer's Words of Wisdom. In case this is the first time you're visiting our pages, we are a group of writers who decided to get together and share what we've learned in our journey to become published authors. Some of our experiences are similar, but in each case we learn a bit more about how to become better writers, bloggers, publishers, editors and promoters of our work as well as others.  At the end of my post today you will find a list of the other authors participating this week. Please be sure to visit them all.

Don't Be THAT Author

Now for my topic for today. It's not a new one, nor is it something I haven't talked about on many occasions. Unfortunately it's something that keeps coming up over and over again. We've all heard the various tales of publishers and authors behaving badly. Amazon has had to change some of their policies because of it. Reviewers have fought back when authors whine about poor reviews instead of learning from them. Readers have been caught in the crossfire. It's really sad to see and it's time as an entire group we clean up our act.

Once again there have been more reports of authors creating fake accounts on Amazon in order to boost their own ratings and post rave reviews for their own books. Then these people turn right around and go after their competition by leaving 1 or 2 star ratings with mean-spirited, nonconstructive reviews. Amazon did have to take drastic measures to help prevent that from continuing on their site by eliminating likes, tags and deleting any reviews written by competing authors even if they were glowing. Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped the bad behavior.

The divas and trolls are no longer keeping their bullying to Amazon and Goodreads. They've moved on to the Facebook Author/Fan pages. A fellow author and friend was attacked yesterday on her own page by another "author." He slammed her work in a comment he left on a post she shared about another FIVE STAR review she received for one of her books. He went on to say she shouldn't give up her day job and should then use her time wisely by reading his book. And yes he even posted the Amazon buy link to make it easy for her.

I'll let that settle in for a bit.

Yes he really did say that and yes he really had the nerve to then push his own book on her page without permission to do so.  My friend is a mult-published author of both fiction and nonfiction and yet this one particular person feels he can search her out, find her author page, like it and then proceed to make comments about how her writing is horrible all in the comments section of a FIVE STAR REVIEW. I know I already mentioned that, but I thought it was worth repeating. To me it shows a great deal of the problem we are dealing with here.  Instead of concentrating on his own work and honing his craft, he chose to tear down another author in order to promote himself.

Of course this "gentleman" doesn't know he attacked one of my dear friends and has raised my Momma Vixen hackles. Doing a quick Amazon search revealed that this male diva has published ONE book in October of last year. There isn't any other information. No author bio. No reviews. Nothing. His website is just as sparse only listing his book's synopsis and buy links. I went back to Amazon to take a "look inside" his book. Nearly 80% of all the sentences ended in an exclamation point.  I'm not kidding. It was one of the most jarring reading experiences I've ever had. It was even worse than trying to read through posts on Facebook that are in all caps. Ugh! (yes, I'm being sarcastic with the exclamation point.)

This is just yet another example of how rude and obnoxious some authors have become. Why all the animosity? There are plenty of readers out there, enough for everyone. There is no need to tear down someone else to get your book noticed. The criticism could have a bit more weight if the author above actually had some sales to back up their claims of being a better writer. My advice to him would be to just SHUSH! Stop being a diva and work on your writing to build up your fan base.

Honor Your Commitments

Whew! Sorry, I had to get that off my chest before I went on to another way authors have been behaving poorly and disrespectfully to bloggers, reviewers and those authors with a lot more experience than themselves.  This last part of my post today deals with honoring your commitments involving guest spots on other blogs.

Having multiple blogs between all of my pen names and one that I share with three other authors called Four Seduced Muses, I schedule many guest spots each month.  I enjoy sharing these spots with new authors and help to promote their work. Not only do I get to find new authors for my own TBR pile, I can introduce my followers to them as well. An added bonus is that more folks stop in and visit my blogs because of the new guests. It can be a win win situation for everyone involved.  The Four Seduced Muses blog is so popular, it's booked out two months in advance. We have people lining up for the Monday, Wednesday and Saturday guest spots.

To make sure we are all on the same page, all of my blogs have detailed instructions for guest spots listed on the blogs themselves. Another step we take for the Four Seduced Muses is to send another list of the guidelines to any authors requesting a spot along with detailed instructions on how to submit their posts, and what kind of posts we want for each daily feature. The only "solicitation" we do is to post announcements that we are accepting guests. The authors come to us for the spots and usually all goes well. Usually.

There have been a select few who've basically demanded dates that were already taken, submitted posts not in line with the guidelines, submitted them late (repeatedly), or just flat out flaked submitting nothing at all by the deadline. No explanation. Not even a follow up email apologizing for the mistake and asking to reschedule. Hey, life gets in the way and deadlines are sometimes missed. It's how you handle those situations that shows your true character.

One person in particular stands out in my mind.  This author had published multiple books through Amazon and one would assume knew the ins and outs with doing guest spots on blogs. Not so. We had to first explain what a blog was, then repeatedly tell her it wasn't a radio call in show. I have absolutely no idea where she got the idea that we were a talk show, but we got over that hurdle only to crash into another. Over and over again it was explained to her the kind of posts we wanted for the site and what days were available and yet she still insisted on being on dates that were not available. It was a nightmare. When it came time for her actual post, she never sent it on time and then blamed it on us saying we had to have lost it. Finally she sent her post to us and it was straight promo...ugh.

Here's another example of an author who I will never have as a guest on any of my blogs ever again. This particular person had scheduled a tour of three of my adult blogs. I had offered her spots on Not Enough Time in the Day and one of another that was PG rated since that would best fit the book she was promoting. She insisted that  her book was not YA and appealed to a more mature audience. On several occasions I reminded her that the three blogs she wished to be on were very explicit, for adults only, and featured many erotica and erotic romance authors. She still demanded to be scheduled for those spots because she wanted the added exposure. Okay, I caved in. Big mistake on my part.  Not only did she flake out on the first blog but then proceeded to cancel the other spots because she didn't want to be associated with "those" kind of writers.


How many more details do you need? When you are warned repeatedly about the explicit nature of the blogs and still insist on having the guest spots, it is expected you will fulfill your commitment. Can you see why I would be upset that you would cancel out at the last minute? I'm not one of those people who keep smiling and stay polite when repeatedly being attacked for my choice of genre. Forgetting a spot or getting overwhelmed is one thing, but to use the excuse you don't wish to be associated with me, my work, or that of my author friends is just beyond behaving badly. You've now created a reputation for being a diva among those who make up the blogosphere.

Yes we do talk and we all know who you are.

So how can you not become one of the divas and pariahs in the author community?

Follow guest spot guidelines to the letter. If you wish to do something different, ask your host.

Make sure the spot you're requesting is on a blog you feel comfortable being a part of. If not, don't request a spot. There are other blogs out there that will suit your needs and your genre.

Don't attack other authors on their pages, blogs, or any other social media or review sites. If you don't like their work, stay away from it. If you do attack, be prepared for the backlash usually from the fans of the one you attacked.

Be detailed in the guidelines for the guest spots on your own blogs. If you feel what they write won't fit your site, tell them in a polite manner and wish them well. Maybe even offer them alternatives. Connections are great. Sharing them can be beneficial to all parties.

Don't put your links up on someone else's social media sites or blogs without permission to do so. This is a sure fire way to get yourself reported, banned, and blocked by not only the author you spammed, but all of their friends as well. (Connections can also hurt you!)

Finally, don't attack other authors who appear to be more successful than you are at the moment. Instead of doing that, continue to work on your writing to become the best you can be. Learn from your mistakes and take constructive criticism to heart. If you continue to put out poorly written and poorly edited novels on Amazon and Smashwords and then accuse others of being horrible writers, you will find yourself the subject of blogs such as mine today. 

Remember those connections I mentioned earlier? Well, I will continue to stick up for my fellow authors who are unfairly attacked and I just so happen to have a very large reach between my social media connections and other friends in and out of the publishing community. 

An author helping authors or a diva/pariah? The choice is yours.

Come join me and visit some of my author friends who are participating this week. Soon we will have a blog site for all of us in one place. Stay tuned. Until then...

Friday, March 1, 2013

#FurbabyFridays: The Dangers of Potpourri

Liquid Potpourri: Good for the House. Bad for the Felines!

This week's post on common pet toxins focuses on liquid potpourri. Whether it's the concentrate you leave in a diffuser (decorative vase with bamboo sticking out of it) or in a warming pot, these concoctions are highly toxic for your pets, especially cats.

What makes these oils so toxic? There are actually two culprits. Both are dangerous on their own, but together they pack a heck of a wallop and can even lead to death in some cases.  The worst of the toxicities involve ingestion of these substances directly from the simmer pots, from spills or even from brushing up these items or the containers the oils are stored in getting the residue on their skin. What do cats do regularly? That's right. They spend many an hour licking and grooming their coat including their feet. If these oils are present, they will ingest them and within hours can exhibit some of the worst symptoms associated with potpourri toxicity. Let's take each of the two main components separately.

Essential Oils

These are volatile oils that are extracted from plants and are found in many different products from fragrances to cleaners. A common misunderstanding is that since essential oils are a "natural" substance, they are "safe" or nontoxic. While it's true that some grades of essential oils have been used to treat medical conditions, not all are created equal and you should NEVER use them without direction from a holistic VETERINARIAN who has experience using them. 

Cats are extremely sensitive to the toxicity of these oils because they are readily absorbed through the mucous membranes like the gums and conjunctiva and the the skin. That's why it's IMPERATIVE that when you discover that your pet has come in contact with these oils, you immediately wash them in hand/dish soap to try to remove as much of the oil as possible. It's not an easy task and while you are trying to remove it, the oil continues to do damage leading to burns, itching and even ulceration. Ingestion of these oils can lead to irritation of the mouth, tongue, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. You may see vomiting, hypersalivation, and severe burns in the mouth within hours of contact.  If your cat is exposed to these in the potpourri oils or the essential oils themselves, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. 

Cationic Detergents

These are what cause the worst symptoms. They are quaternary ammonium compounds most commonly used in fabric softeners and sanitizers. Skin exposure to these detergents will cause reddened areas, edema, intense pain and ulceration. If the eyes are exposed, it can lead to severe corneal injuries like ulceration and scarring.

Ingeston of these detergents can lead to tissue necrosis (death of the tissue), inflammation of the mouth, tongue, pharynx and esophagus. Physical symptoms include vomiting, pulmonary edema, low blood pressure (hypotension), CNS depression, hypersalivation and dyspnea (difficulty breathing).  Severe cases will have the mucosal ulceration or even perforation, lethargy, persistant vomiting, anorexia and hyperthermia.


So with the two of these combined together in one oily substance, the toxicity and the danger to our pets is even greater. If you have these oils in your home, keep them locked up and out of reach of all furry creatures. If there is exposure involving ingestion, treatment can include several days in the hospital. NEVER induce vomiting in these cases as the caustic nature of the oils can do double the damage if brought back up the same way they went down. Activated charcoal doesn't help either.

I personally had a feline patient who came to me three days after ingesting some of the liquid potpourri concentrate. His entire mouth was ulcerated: tongue, hard palate, soft plate, and the back of his throat. Besides the oral lesions, he had multiple burns between his toes and his pads. At this point there were also areas that were infected and sloughing away. He was too far gone for me to do much of anything but we tried anyway. Unfortunately, after two days it was evident he wasn't getting better, but worse and his owner had him euthanized.

The take home message here is to simply keep your furbabies safe by preventing any exposure to these substances. If you or another family member are using medical grade essential oils, please keep them out of reach of your pets as you would any other medication. DO NOT use them on your pet or in their foods. If you want to know more about how essential oils may be used safely in pets, please consult with a veterinarian who is board certified in practicing holistic veterinary medicine. Remember, cats are not little dogs and our animals are not little humans when it comes to what they can and cannot have by way of medications. This includes herbals and other supplements. 

One more order for a veterinarian to accurately diagnose your pet and recommend any treatment using medications of any kind including supplements, they must do a PHYSICAL EXAM on your pet and discuss all options with you. That is the LAW throughout the United States. There are no exceptions.

~Dr. Tammy

Wildfire Romance Series