Matamata Veterinary Services | Latest News

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Monensin Toxicity

October 16, 2013

Recently we have had a client lose a very special 4 legged friend to monensin toxicity. Monensin is from a group of drugs called the ionophores and is found in the very common product Rumensin, used for bloat prevention and as a growth promotant.

Dogs have a singular stomach and cows have a four chambered stomach meaning that food is digested very differently, and that monensin is toxic to monogastric animals. Dogs, pigs and horses can become very sick very quickly if exposed to monensin.

Dogs that have ingested rumensin generally present with muscle weakness and a staggery gait. The monensin acts at a muscular level changing calcium and magnesium concentrations and leads to muscle death. The muscle weakness starts in the hind legs and progressively gets worse becoming fatal when its effects the heart and respiratory muscles when death can occur very quickly. Diarrhoea is often present too. There is no specific antidote for Rumensin toxicity, treatment relies on trying to remove the rest of the Rumensin from the stomach of the dog, administering products to absorb the toxin and supportive care. Animals which recover may take time to return to their normal self and may have ongoing muscle weakness including heart failure from the weakened heart muscles.

If you are using any products that contain ionophores ensure that your dogs do not have access to these products. Even washing out the container they have been in doesn’t necessarily remove all the residue. If your dog starts showing any signs of muscle weakness and you suspect they may have been exposed to rumensin or a similar product please contact your veterinarian immediately.