By Rhonda Baillargeon, LVT
Worried about pet poisons in your home? Many common household products can cause severe problems if ingested by your pet. These problems range from slight gastrointestinal upset to severe incoordination, kidney or liver failure, or seizures. Some poisons cause problems with just one ingestion and others need long-term, repeated exposures before problems are noticed. The exact signs are dependent upon the exact item and the amount that was ingested.
The Pet Poison Helpline reports that over 50% of all calls they respond to involve a pet that has ingested a human medication. These include NSAID's, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids, and Beta blockers. Of these the most reported are NSAID's. These popular anti-inflammatories are present in most homes and since they work so well for us, it just makes sense to give some to your pets when they are stiff and sore. However, these products can cause severe stomach ulcers with repeated use and Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause liver failure and red blood cell damage. There are much safer and more effective anti-inflammatory medications tat have been produced specifically for pets.
Other household items that can cause problems include insect baits and rodenticides, fertilizers, cleaners, paints and varnishes, glow sticks and glow jewelry, and silica gel packs. Rodenticides like De-Con are very dangerous and manufacturers have recently switched to a new chemical which does not have an antidote for accidental ingestion. These products are anticoagulants and cause anemia, weakness, depression, and lethargy. Most everyone is aware of the danger of antifreeze as well. This automotive product smells very sweet which entices pets to drink it. However, it cause kidney failure which progresses rapidly to death if treatment is not started as soon as possible.
Lilies are very dangerous to cats so it is important to prevent any exposure to these plants. Even the water in the vase can cause kidney failure. Other plants that can cause problems include foxglove, rhododendron, and tulip bulbs. Mushrooms can cause tremors and even severe seizures.
Some foods should not be fed to our pets and these include onions, grapes and raisins, raw eggs, meat, or fish, and alcohol. Anything containing caffeine, like chocolate, can cause elevated heart rate and seizures. Candy and gum may contain the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which can cause seizures and liver failure. One products that is more prevalent than it has been in the past is marijuana. Problems results from ingestion and from exposure to secondhand smoke. Pets can ingest the plant, dried plant material, edibles, or CBD oils. Accidental ingestion or inhalation of this popular remedy can cause neurological effects such as tremors, seizures, inability to regulate body temperature, and potential coma.
We recommend keeping the number for poison control handy for us in the event of an accidental ingestion. The Pet Poison Control Hotline is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help pet parents and their veterinarians provide the best treatment possible for the beloved fur babies. That number is 800-213-6680 and more information can be found on www.petpoisonhelpline.com. Contact them first to find out if a certain product is toxic and then call your veterinarian for treatment.