Keep medications away from pets

In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled 89,000 cases of pets exposed to human medications — by far, the most common cause of household poisonings in small animals. Prescription and over-the counter medications can be very harmful for your pets.

Pets are ultra-sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and kidney damage in cats. Nothing like antidepressants to bring a pet down — they can trigger vomiting, lethargy and a frightening condition called serotonin syndrome. The popular pain remedy acetaminophen is especially toxic to cats, and can damage red blood cells and interfere with oxygen flow. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many cold remedies, but acts like a stimulant in cats and dogs, who can experience elevated heart rates and seizures.

“Keep all medications in a cabinet,” advises Dr. Helen Myers, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA. “And consider taking your pills in a bathroom, so if you drop one, you can shut the door and prevent your pet from accessing the room until the medication is found.” You may want to create a record of your dosage and quantity of all of your prescriptions should the unthinkable occur. If you keep several medications in a bottle in your purse, put in a known amount, so if your dog gets into the bottle, you know what the worst case scenario is. If your pet does swallow any meds, stay calm and try to assess how many are left in the bottle versus how many might have been consumed. This information is crucial for veterinarians when accessing your pet’s risk level and determining a proper course of treatment.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested any human medications — or other toxic substances — call your vet or the ASPC Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

To read an expert’s complete top 10 list of dangerous drugs, visit APCC at

Special senior events

Meals on Wheels program expansion. Archuleta County Senior Services is proud to announce the expansion of its Meals on Wheels Program. Beginning sometime in November frozen meals may be ordered for once-a-week delivery. Our goal is to reach those residents who are more rurally isolated and are unable to participate on our regular Meals on Wheels route. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program, or for more information, call 264-2167.

Lymphedema: Unraveling the myths. On Friday, at 12:30 p.m. in the Silver Foxes Den, Sandra Artzberger MS OTR Certified Hand Therapist and Certified Lymphedema Therapist will present a one-hour lecture/discussion on the topic of post mastectomy lymphedema. Topics included in this presentation will be: What is Lymphedema? Who is at risk for lymphedema? What does treatment involve? What can I do to help prevent lymphedema if I’m at risk? The majority of the presentation will focus on the latter question, aimed at healthy lifestyle and precautions. Artzberger and two other therapists started up the first lymphedema clinic in Wisconsin in 1995 and from that experience began teaching 10 lymphedema certification courses a year to physical and occupational therapists. She also teaches hand therapy courses nationally and internationally (so far in seven countries) and has authored eight articles/chapters and two Internet courses.

Silver Foxes Den Halloween Party. The candy, costumes, spookiness and fun of Halloween is not just for kids. On Friday, The Den will host a Halloween costume party to celebrate this “not-just-for-kids holiday.” Wear your scariest, most original or funniest costume to win one of the many great prizes. Let’s bring out the kid in all of us; come in disguise with your trick-or-treat bags for the Halloween extravaganza.

Chair massage. The benefits of a 15-minute chair massage can reduce stress and anxiety levels, minimize neck and shoulder pain, relieve headaches, increase energy, enhance creative thinking and problem solving skills, and boost immunity. Rebecca Cortez and Silverhawk or Deni, licensed massage therapists, will be offering free chair massage at 10 a.m. Nov. 4 in the Den. Reserve your massage today.

Meditation for Healing. On Tuesdays at 1 pm. Sarah Barbara hosts the weekly Meditation for Healing program and will teach you how to meditate and reap the healing benefits of the practice. This program is free.

Free cardio screening. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Joanna (JoJo) Jensen, community health worker with SJBH, will provide free cardiovascular screenings, which include blood pressure, height, weight BMI (body mass index), glucose and cholesterol testing, as well as a computerized analysis of each individual’s overall cardiac risk. The process takes 20-25 minutes per client, including the questionnaire on health behaviors and access to medical care. You do not need to fast, and will get your results immediately. Anyone identified as being moderate or high risk for cardiovascular disease is offered a referral to local medical providers for follow-up. Requirements for free screening are no private insurance in addition to Medicare, or no cholesterol screening in the last year. Make an appointment by Monday, Nov. 3 at the Silver Foxes Den for your free screening.

Dance For Health. On Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet and modern jazz with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to work out to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. This program is free.

Geezers. Are you a geezer? For stimulating conversation and an opportunity to meet and greet members of the Silver Foxes Den, drop by for coffee on Friday mornings at 9: a.m.

Red, White, and Blue Luncheon. In honor of our service men and women, the Silver Foxes Den will serve a Red, White and Blue lunch on Friday, Nov. 7, at noon. The Senior Cultural Center will be closed Tuesday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

Silver Foxes Den piano. If you love to play the piano, and miss having an audience, we have a very lonely piano at the Silver Foxes Cultural Center just waiting for your fingers to tickle the ivories. Drop by any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday between 10:30 a.m. and noon and bring the joy of toe-tapping to our local seniors. For more information, call 264-2167.


Friday, Oct. 31 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk; noon Halloween birthday party; 12:30 p.m. Lymphdema presentation.

Monday, Nov. 3 — 11:15 Gym Walk;1 p.m. Canasta , deadline for cardio screening appointments.

Tuesday, Nov. 4 — 10 a.m chair massage;11 a.m. blood pressure checks; 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk;1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, Nov. 5 — 9 a.m cardio screenings; 10 a.m. Dance 4 Health.

Thursday, Nov. 6 – Administrative services only.

Friday, Nov. 7 – 9 a.m. Geezers; 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk; noon Red, White, Blue Lunch for Pagosa Springs Veterans.


Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus and kids 12 and under; all others $5. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal, which is approximately $6. Menu subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Oct. 31 — Scarecrow chili, monster mash squash, pill bug cornbread, bewitched apple.

Monday, Nov. 3 — Grilled corn beef sandwich, sauerkraut, green beans, sliced peaches.

Tuesday, Nov. 4 — Chicken Fajita, cilantro rice, broccoli, grapes.

Wednesday, Nov. 5 — Barbecue pork ribs, creamed spinach, fresh yams, potato salad, fresh fruit.

Thursday, Nov. 6 — No meal served, administrative services only.

Friday, Nov. 7 — Meat loaf, baked potato, broccoli, beets, strawberry/blueberry whip.