New Year's Eve a Bad Night for Pet ER Visits

Vets see more pet emergencies on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

— -- Between the champagne, the countdown and the fireworks, New Year's Eve can be a lot of fun, except for many of those with four legs, fur and a tail.

"Most evenings have a certain kind of ebb and flow, but New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day is pretty constant," Klein said.

Party guests leave doors open, handbags unattended and cocktails in easy reach, he said. Klein said he always sees more furry patients during the holidays when other vet offices are closed. But because New Year's festivities keep people out so late, there's even more opportunity for something to go wrong and for frantic owners to recognize it.

"As people start to drink, they start to have losses in judgment," he said.

Dr. Jules Benson, the chief veterinary medical officer of the pet health insurance company Petplan, said claims for "foreign body ingestion" are up 52 percent on New Year's Eve compared to any other day of the year.

"Some of things we saw were bones, rope, wood, metal shavings, sewing pins," he said. "One English Setter ate a sock, a quarter stick of butter and the ring pull from a soda can."

And because most veterinary offices are closed, sending sick pets and their owners to emergency clinics, treatment costs 46 percent more money, Benson said.

Benson said claims for pancreatitis, which occurs when dogs eat foods that are too rich for them, are up 7 percent on New Year's Eve. And poisonings are up 8.5 percent more than any other day of the year.

And although it may be polite to bring flowers with a bottle of wine to New Year's celebrations, seasonal lilies are deadly to cats. They're known to cause kidney failure, and all parts of the plant are "extremely toxic," Klein said.

"I can't tell you how many times the following day, two days later, the cat presents with vomiting," Klein said, adding that lilies are much more toxic than poinsettias.