Do you know the 5 most common causes for cats and dogs getting poisoned? How many of theses do you have in your home?
- Chocolate- This is the number one cause for poisoning to our pets. We all love it and most of us, cant live with out it which means it is in the majority of our homes (guilty as charged). Unfortunately dogs also seam to have a love for it however, it is highly toxic. Darker chocolate contains more Theobromine and such this is more toxic than milk chocolate. The higher the percent of coco the higher the toxicity risk. The size of the dog in relation to the amount of chocolate eaten is key information. Signs of toxicity in smaller ingestions can be: Vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst and hyperactivity. Signs in more sever cases include: Elevated heart rate (this can be fatal), tremors and seizures. Click here to use an online calculator to see the risk of toxicity.
- Mouse and rat poisons (Rodenticide’s)- Rodenticide’s are used to get rid of rodents and are generally place din bait boxes, in garages, out houses and behind cabinets. These are one of the most common causes of accidental poisoning’s because they last so long. There are three main types of baits on the market: Anticoagulants, Bromethalin and choleciferol. Anticoagulant baits interfere with the bodies natural ability to clot the blood and cause internal bleeding. Signs include: Decreased activity levels, Decreased appetite, pale gums and difficulty breathing. Fortunately there is a very effective antidote (if caught early enough) Bromethalin rodent baits cause swelling of the brain when ingested. Signs include: lack of coordination, decreased activity levels, weak/ wobbly gait and tremors/seizures. Unfortunately there is no effective cure and requires swift veterinary treatment.
- Ibprofen (nurofen)- This is one of the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications available for humans. We all have this in our homes and it is very safe for us to use. However, this can be highly toxic to our pets. Most pets get exposed to this toxin from their owners giving it to them to relieve pain. Cats are unable to break down this drug like we can and this can cause acute renal failure. Signs of toxicity include: vomiting, neurological effects and vomiting blood.
- Xylitol-This is a common substitute for sugar in products. You would be surprised when you read ingredient’s at how common it is: Nicotine gum, Sugar free gum and most sugar free products contain it. Dogs that ingest this can develop low blood sugar and injury to the live. Signs include: vomiting, weakness, uncoordinated movements and seizures.
- Grapes and Raisins-This type of poisoning is poorly understood at the moment. There is no toxic level like with chocolate. Sometimes dogs can eat hundreds and show no signs , other cases just one grape/raisin can cause sever toxicity. Signs include vomiting within 24 hours which leads to kidney failure. Decreased activity level’s, increased water consumption and changes in urination pattern have also been noted.
All of these toxins can be avoided by careful consideration for where they are kept and the knowledge to keep them away from our pets. By keeping them out of reach could save their life. If you are ever unsure about a potential toxin or that your pet has ingested a toxin then contact your veterinary surgery immediately, the faster you act the greater their chances of being ok are. You can also call the animal poison helpline to discuss a potential toxin 01202-509000 or visit their website.