Common pet poisons around the home

One of the most common problems seen in emergency medicine by your veterinarians in Markham is accidental poisoning, so it is a good idea to understand sources of pet toxicity, to take preventative steps, and to have a plan for response in case of ingestion.

Food, medications and household substances often seem perfectly harmless to us, yet are dangerous – and may even cause death – if eaten or inhaled by our pets.

Dogs, in particular, are curious and like to chew – a combination that can lead to trouble.

Common toxins found around the house:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol (sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Grapes/raisins/currants
  • Caffeine (coffee, coffee grounds, tea)
  • Fatty scraps
  • Onions/garlic/chives
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Unbaked yeast bread dough
  • Alcohol
  • Table salt
  • Antifreeze
  • Drugs, including prescription medicationss
  • Acetominophen and pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The latter group includes aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. These drugs are sold over the counter under brand names Tylenol, Bayer, Advil and Aleve.
  • Rodenticides designed to poison gophers, mice and rats

Cats may also become very ill after ingesting lily plants, including species common in homes and gardens. These include Easter lilies, tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies and day lilies.

In many cases, pet owners suspect potential poisoning and contact their veterinarian in Markham when they find an empty bag, wrapper or bottle, or if they witness ingestion of something hazardous.

Or their pets may exhibit symptoms of toxicity. These include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, racing heart rate, breathing trouble, pale or discolored gums, high temperature, seizures, weakness or physical collapse. These symptoms are wide-ranging, typically the result of neurologic problems, gastrointestinal distress, internal bleeding, kidney failure or liver failure.

Because symptoms are so variable, it’s crucial to be aware of your pet’s normal behavior and to question the cause of abnormal behavior, just as you would for a human family member.

Unfortunately, cases of malicious pet poisoning sometimes arise. For instance, there was a case of someone leaving meatballs laced with rat poison at a park ; three dogs reportedly needed veterinary attention as a result. Though such cases are uncommon, they provide a reminder to keep an eye on pet behavior and health.

Treatment measures your veterinarian in Markham may have to take:

• Support of vital functions: Intravenous fluids, anti-convulsants, oxygen and blood transfusions are some of the measures that might be needed.

• If available, administration of antidote.

• Veterinarians often remove as much of the poison as possible by inducing vomiting, pumping the stomach, and providing an absorbent medication to bind chemicals in the intestinal tract.

• Aggressive IV fluid support may be necessary to help dilute the agent and encourage loss through the urine for patients that have ingested poisons that affect the kidneys – including grapes, raisins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antifreeze.

• Many bait poisons meant for mice and rats inhibit normal blood clotting. Poisoned animals will begin to bleed internally within five days of ingestion. Your veterinarians in Markham may use blood and plasma transfusions to replace lost blood cells and proteins to help restore normal clotting. A vitamin antidote will also be dispensed to help counteract the effect of the poison.

Here are key steps for poison response and prevention:

•  Act fast in seeking veterinary help if you think your pet has ingested something toxic.  Ingesting even a small amount of a poison might endanger your pet.

•  Some toxic substances, like mouse and rat poisons, might circulate in your pet’s body for three to five days before you see signs, so don’t wait for symptoms to appear.

• Program your veterinarian’s emergency telephone number into your cellphone, and keep the number posted in a central place in your home.

• If an emergency visit is needed to your veterinarian in Markham, provide all the information you can about what your pet has ingested and when. Take wrappers, packages or medication bottles with you.

• Understand that dogs like to devour. So put up, lock up and close off potential toxins. Don’t forget the kitchen trash can, which might contain any number of potentially hazardous items.

• Understand that stressful times – such as a household move, introduction of a new pet, the comings and goings of the holidays – might be the very time that your docile dog becomes a counter jumper and for the first time snags and chows something toxic. These are good times to clear counters and tabletops!

If you found this blog informative, please share it with your friends on Facebook.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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