Saturday, October 11, 2014

Common Pet Poisons

Fall is a beautiful time of year, but it can also bring about new household and environmental toxins to consider. The following list contains some of the more common fall toxins that can pose serious problems if ingested by our pets:
  • Mushrooms - Certain types can be very dangerous. One of the most dangerous is the Amanita phalloides, which is found throughout the US. Symptoms of mushroom ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, depression and even organ damage. Please try to keep your yard free of mushrooms.
  • Mothballs -  Mothballs typically contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. Symptoms of ingestion can include vomiting, severe abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, organ failure or even problems with red blood cells.
  • Antifreeze -  As little as one teaspoon for a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While these signs start to resolve in hours, the internal damage to the kidneys is occurring and can be fatal. Immediate treatment is important.
  • Mouse and Rat Poisons (Rodenticides) -  Mouse and Rat poisons pose a threat not only if your pet directly ingests the bait, but also if your pet is exposed to a large number of dead mice that have eaten the bait. Newer poisons are largely neurotoxins and are extremely dangerous. There is no effective treatment. The best course of action is to prevent exposure by securing any bait away from your pets and keeping them away from any potentially affected mice and rats.
  • Compost bins or piles - These can have molding food products that contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which cause seizures. 
  • Red maple leaves -  A seemingly innocent leaf, the red maple can result in hemolytic anemia in dogs and cats if eaten, and it is a serious concern for horses as well. 

Two important resources are :
  1. ASPCA Poison Control Center open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.  (888) 426-4435.
  2. Pet Poison Help Line open 24 hours a day.  (800) 213-6680.  Poison Helpline also now has an iPhone app “Pet Poison Help”.
For only $1.99, Pet Poison Help will provide you with:
  • Life-saving access to poison information with one-touch direct dialing to Pet Poison Helpline.
  • A searchable database of over 250 poisonous plants, foods, medications and household items, all with pictures.
  • Descriptions of how specific poisons affect your pet, their alternate common names, and symptoms to watch for.
  • Instructions on what to do if your dog or cat is exposed to a dangerous substance.
  • Constant access to poison information –  even when you don’t have Internet access

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