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Top Pet Poisons- Memphis Area Pet Health

Posted 03.08.13 by Katie Wooden, DVM

In honor of March 17-23 being National Poison Prevention Week, we thought a post about the most common pet poisons would be beneficial.  Unfortunately, we have seen several cases of these this week!

Top 10 toxins for 2012

  1. Human medications
  2. Insecticides
  3. Over-the-counter human products (ex. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve, Pseudoephedrine )
  4. Veterinary products
  5. Household products
  6. Food (ex. grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, bread dough)
  7. Chocolate
  8. Plants (ex. Lillies, Sago Palm, Mushrooms)
  9. Rodenticides (ex. D-con, Tomcat)
  10. Lawn & garden products (ex. Mole poison, Snail/Slug bait)

If your pet ingests any of these items, it is best to contact a veterinarian immediately. Many of these toxicities have a great prognosis if treated correctly and promptly.

The majority of pet poisonings we see are due to over-the-counter human medicines, such as Tylenol, Aleve, or Ibuprofen. Many pet owners do not realize that these medicines are extremely toxic to pets. Even one pill can cause kidney or liver failure in a medium sized dog. Ingestion of a large amount of these meds or even veterinary-approved anti-inflammatories can be fatal if not aggresively treated.

With Easter approaching, we also wanted to remind everyone that lillies are extremely toxic to cats. Easter lillies, Tiger lillies, Day lillies, and Stargazer lillies are so toxic to cats that even drinking water from the vase of the plant can lead to kidney failure. If your cat ingests any part of these plants, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Why Are These Common Household Items Harmful to Animals?

Anything that poisons your pet can affect its health or create more dangerous consequences. Our professionals shed more light below.

• Human medications: Prescription meds such as anti-anxiety, cardiac and thyroid pills can damage internal organs or kill your pet. We recommend storing your medication far from animals, including away from easily-reachable backpacks, nightstands and bathroom counters.

• Over-the-counter medication: Contrary to popular opinion, nonprescription medications such as ibuprofen, Aleve and Tylenol aren’t safe for pets. Pills intended for human use can endanger your pet’s organs or even be fatal.

• Veterinary products: Although vet-approved medication is safe for pets, it can be lethal if ingested in large amounts. Pet owners should also be careful with flea medication, as dog products can be toxic to your cat.

• Household products: The unusual taste of paint, adhesives, detergent, and cleaning products can appeal to your pet. These products are pet poisons, so keep this in mind as you clean or embark on a home improvement project.

• Human foods: Onions, garlic, bread dough, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts might be perfectly safe for your consumption but they’re toxic for pets. Be careful as you cook or indulge in leftovers.

• Chocolate: Chocolate is a big pet poison that deserves a solo spot on this list. This sweet treat can cause diarrhea, vomiting, hyperthermia, seizures, hyperactivity and even death in animals.

• Plants: Cats are particularly vulnerable to toxic plants because they find them chewy and irresistible. Flowers and leaves from lilies and autumn crocus, for instance, can cause kidney failure and death if ingested. Sago palms can even cause liver failure or death if ingested by dogs and cats.

• Rodenticides: Rodent baits don’t just appeal to rats but pets too. They have various toxic ingredients, including anticoagulants that inhibit blood clotting and can cause internal bleeding; cholecalciferol that causes high calcium levels and kidney failure; phosphides that release life-threatening phosphine gas; and bromethalin that swells brains and causes neurologic damage.

• Lawn and garden products: Pets love fertilizers with organic compounds like blood and bone meal, substances that can cluster in the stomach/intestines and obstruct food movement.

What Are the Signs of Poisoning in Dogs and Cats?

Dogs and cats can get poisoned by anything in your home or yard, from toxic human food and spoiled dog food to chemicals and poisonous plants. Knowing the tell-tale signs will help you seek immediate treatment for your pet. And these symptoms generally cut across both animals.

Here are some dog and cat poisoning signs:
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Excessive drooling
• Decreased appetite
• Tremors or Seizures
• Bloody vomit
• Body weakness
• Lethargy
• Increased thirst
• Frequent/less urination
• Pale gums
• Acting dull and collapsing
• Hyperactivity
• Difficulty breathing
• Depression
• Skin irritation

These pet poisoning signs can occur on the spot or within 2-3 days, long after your pet has eaten something it’s not supposed to. Nonetheless, we advise that you seek professional help if you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a toxic substance, whether you’ve spotted signs or not. Prompt medical care will protect your pet’s health and ensure you spend quality time together without worrying about uncertainties.

Visit any of our locations for the best in veterinary care, provided by highly skilled professionals who love what we do!

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