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Top Toxins

My Pet Ate What?

One of the most common reasons we as a profession receive calls from pet owners is because owners have questions regarding ingestions of potential toxins.

Here's a list of some of the most common concerns...

Food: Chocolate, xylitol, grapes and raisins
 Chocolate contains methylxanthines, a member of the caffeine family. Just like in people, in pets these compounds cause hyperactivity and increase heart rates. In large doses they can cause increased thirst and urination, heart arrhythmias and death.
 Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in gum, candy, toothpaste and other products. In dogs, it causes low blood sugar with secondary coma, liver failure and can lead to death.
 Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure by a not fully understood mechanism. In a small dog it only takes a few raisins to be of concern!

Insecticides: Sprays, Bait Stations and Spot-on Flea and Tick Treatments
 If you are concerned that your pet may be having an insecticide reaction, it is very helpful to know the name and concentration of the active chemical(s) in the product when you call. This information can be found on the packaging.
 One of the most common reasons for spot on product reactions is application of an incorrect dose. Cats should ALWAYS receive feline only products. Some canine products are fatal to cats! Also make sure to apply the correct dose for your pet's current weight.

Mouse and Rat Poisons:
Most mouse and rat poisons work by stopping the body's ability to allow for blood to clot. There is an antidote to this poison, but since not all poisons work the same way, it helps if you know the type of poison you suspect your pet may have ingested.

Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Human pain medications including ibuprofen and naproxen
 Dogs and cats can go into kidney failure from ingestion of human pain medications. Please DO NOT give your pet any over the counter medications without discussing your pet's condition with your veterinarian!

Household Cleaners: Sprays, detergents and polishes
 These products can cause simple stomach upset of very significant damage to pets. Please do not make a pet vomit cleaners are home before calling for veterinary advice as some cleaners do more damage when vomited up!

Fertilizers: Bone meal, blood meal and iron based products
 Fertilizers act in a variety of ways to be toxic, depending on the ingredient in them. Commonly, the nitrates in them change the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. Recently, we have also seen chocolate toxicity from Cocoa Mulch!

Human Antidepressant Medications: Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Effexor
 These medications can cause sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. They may also cause dangerously high heart rates, blood pressure and elevated body temperature.

Acetaminophen: Tylenol and its generics
 Acetaminophen is fatal to cats, causing difficulty breathing, anemia and eventual death.
Amphetamine Human Drugs: Adderall and Concerta
These medications can cause tremors, seizures, increase body temperature and heart problems.

Veterinary Pain Relievers: Rimadyl, Deramaxx and Previcox
 Many of these medications are flavored so your pet likes them when you administer the medication. The downside of flavored medication is if your pet finds a whole box or bottle of the medication, them may eat all the medicine at once and cause stomach upset or kidney failure. Please keep all pet medications out of reach. Claremont Animal Hospital has also seen accidental overdoses of Proin (for urinary incontinence) and Vetmedin (for heart failure) as both of these are flavored medications as well!

Who gets into the most trouble with toxins? The top 10 breeds requiring assistance in 2011 were...
 Mixed Breeds
 Labrador Retrievers
 Golden Retrievers
 Yorkshire Terriers
 Shih tzus
German Shepherds

Top 10 Lists from the Pet Poison Hotline as published by Veterinary Practice News Magazine and annotated by Sarah Mills, DVM, Claremont Animal Hospital.