Poisoning in Pets

Vet Checks In
with Joerg Thamm
from Mount Vet Hospital

What is poison and what to do!

There are a lot of different chemicals, drugs and plants that are toxic to our pets, here is a list of some of the most common ones:

Rodenticides (rat/mouse bait): These are a common poison in dogs which are more likely to be caused by eating poisoned rodents. Most rat baits cause a reduction in Vitamin K, which results in failure of the blood to clot. The side affect of bait toxity can take days to be seen, these include difficulty in breathing, coughing, pale gums, weakness, limping, bruises and nose bleeds. These pets need to be seen immediately by your vet, in the meantime, ensure that they are handled gently to prevent bruising.

Metaldehyde (slug and snail bait): A common garden poisoning that is seen in dogs and sometimes cats. The signs of toxity usually present themselves within three hours and include salivation, tremors, vomiting, seizures and depression. Your pet should be seen by a vet immediately. If the animal is seen within 30minutes of ingestion, they will usually induce emisis (vomiting) to eject the toxin. However, after this time vomiting can cause pneumonia or trigger seizures.

Caffeine and Theobromine: These ingredients are found in coffee, tea, chocolate, stimulants and some medications. The most common cause of this poisoning is pets that have eaten chocolate. Signs of toxicity include vomiting, restlessness, muscle tremors, seizures, excessive thirst and blue gums.

Ibuprofen and Paracetamol: Painkillers and other common medications can be deadly to your pets. Although these drugs are safe for use in humans, they are species specific and Ibuprofen is toxic to the kidneys and bone marrow. Paracetemol can be safe in dogs at the right dose but is toxic to cats. It causes depression, vomiting and sometimes swollen face and paws. Household antiseptics should not be used to clean wounds on cats, and prescribed medication for one of your pets, should be used on another.

Pyrethrums (natural) and Pyrethroids (synthetic): These are found in many insecticides including some flea products. Most commonly, these toxicities are caused by pet owners giving their cats, dog flea products. The pets will usually rub or scratch the area, salivate, vomit and develop seizures. If the signs are mild (scratching at the site), then you should wash the animal with a natural, mild dish-washing liquid, dry it and take it to the vet. If the signs are more severe (sezuires, vomiting) then you should immediately take the animal to your vets.

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