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Pets and Poisons

March 5, 2020

Every year we see many pets that have ingested poisons.  Depending on how a particular substance affects your pet’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include tummy upsets, shaking, wobbliness, seizures, breathing difficulties, coma  and even death.
Some poisons we see more commonly are:
Rodenticides/rat bait
Symptoms depend on the nature of the poison and signs may not start for several days after consumption.  These signs include lethargy, weakness, increased breathing rate, a soft cough, pale gums and blood in the stools.

Slug  bait
Ingestion of slug bait very quickly causes neurological signs such as tremors and shaking and then can lead onto seizures.  Without treatment this will cause death in your pet – a true emergency.

Mycotoxin/mould
Mould can be found in many places including old foods and rubbish bins. Ingestion of this mould can lead to a range of signs from slight tremors through to convulsions and seizures.  These signs can progress very quickly and again without treatment can cause death.

Human prescription medications
Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets.  It doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Pain medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medication, creams and tablets.

Household products and cleaners

Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner and chemicals for pools can also be poisonous.

Overdose of pet medications
Pet medications, if taken at too high  a dose/doses, or repeated too frequently can lead to toxicity.  It is very important to stick to the label dosages.

People Food
Animals have different metabolisms than people.  Some foods that are perfectly safe for people are poisonous for pets.  Chocolate, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes, raisins and xylitol (artificial sweetener).

Plants
Not all plants are pet friendly.  Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include: Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Lilies, Tulips, Azalea and Oleander.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any kind of poison please seek immediate veterinary attention.  It is important we know exactly what product your pet may have ingested so please bring the packaging where possible.