Every summer, dogs ingest stagnant water and sometimes an unhealthy amount of certain algae blooms. This can cause GI upset or, depending on species of algae, dose ingested and other factors, can lead to neurologic signs and even death. If your dog is ill after drinking algae contaminated water, call us or your regular vet for advice.
Antifreeze PoisoningBoth cats and dogs are attracted to antifreeze products containing ethylene glycol, because of the sweet taste. Only Sierra brand contains non toxic ingredients.
Prevent access to drips or open containers of antifreeze. Dogs or cats who drink some may, or may not, show a period of drunken like behavior and will then go into renal failure. Early and aggressive treatment can save these patients and an antidote exists.
In some cases, peritoneal or other dialysis is required. Left untreated, irreversible renal failure and death is to be expected. There are tests available, here, that can detect evidence that a dog or cat has ingested antifreeze.
Chocolate PoisoningChocolate is often consumed by dogs and very rarely by cats. Sensitivity is widely variable and dose dependent, and related to the theobromine content (a methylxanthine like caffeine).
Baking chocolate, other dark chocolate and cocoa hull mulches are of most concern. Other chocolates may still cause GI upset.
In most cases, amount ingested can not reliably be determined and intervention is indicated, in the form of gut decontamination and fluid therapy.
In the most seriously affected dogs, elevated heart rates, heart rhythm disturbance, neurologic signs (twitching, seizures, coma) and death can occur. Treatment usually needs to include emptying the stomach, as the sticky liquefied chocolate can sit there for many hours.
Easter Lily PoisoningCurious cats exposed to small amounts of plant material, including ingested or inhaled pollen, can suffer renal failure. Since the discovery of this poisoning related to Easter lilies, most other lilies and related plants have come under suspicion.
At Easter time, and throughout the year, owners should be aware and prevent access to these plants by their cats. If an ingestion is observed, if a kitty is seen with evidence (pollen on face) or if a lily plant (or any part of it) is found chewed, arrange for immediate evaluation and care.
Affected kitties can be saved with early intervention that includes IV fluids. Other measures are sometimes needed, including medications to increase blood flow to the kidneys, peritoneal dialysis, etc. Left untreated, many cats will die or suffer severe permanent damage to their kidneys.
Garbage IntoxicationDogs will often eat carion, compost and other spoiled organic material that can expose them to various fungal toxins and other substances.
Affected dogs can exhibit tremors, seizures, vomiting, and/or collapse.
Treatment involves removing the material from the stomach, use of activated charcoal and cathartics, and, as needed, IV fluids, anti-siezure medications, etc.
Grapes and Raisins PoisoningRecently it has become known that dogs ingesting fairly modest amounts of grapes or raisins can suffer renal disease and failure. A significant number of these dogs die. Do not feed raisins or grapes to your dog and if he or she ingests them, or they are suspected of having done so, arrange intervention right away.
Household and Prescription MedicationsHousehold and prescription medications vary widely of course; dogs are the most common culprits.
Over the counter cold remedies can be problematic in large amounts or for small pets. Non steroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants and other common medications are potentially very serious if left unaddressed. Antibiotics are the least likely to cause life threatening problems.
In all cases, call us or call Animal Poison Control for advice. In almost all cases, emptying the stomach by inducing vomiting is a reasonable starting place.
Lawn and Garden Chemicals PoisoningFertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and plant foods are available in very many forms and some are attractive (to dogs) or may contaminate the skin of dogs or cats, which leads to absorption or ingestion.
If you observe or suspect exposure and/or observe that your dog or cat is not acting well (vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, twitching, etc) call for advice and plan on seeking care.
Mushrooms PoisoningMushrooms that are safe for humans are safe for cats and dogs. Dogs, however, commonly find and eat mushrooms growing in yards and woods, especially in spring and fall. Toxic mushrooms can look simple and benign, and can look like safe mushrooms. When an ingestion is observed, the best course of action is to eliminate them by inducing vomiting, pumping the stomach and/or various other decontamination efforts (such as activated charcoal); always call for advice.
Toxic mushrooms can lead to severe disturbance to gut and liver, leading to liver failure, hemorrhaging and very serious life threatening complications such as DIC. Sometimes early signs include tremors, twitching, altered mentation and/or seizure activity.
Early treatment yields best results, but such cases can be very drawn out and complicated, requiring transfusions and other supportive care for days in hospital.
Poinsettias PoisoningContrary to urban legend, poinsettias are not toxic, though they can cause some mild degree of GI upset if a dog or cat were to eat some of a plant.
Potpourri Oils Poisoning
These oils can cause severe burns to mouth and esophagus and are most commonly encountered when a cat encounters or causes a spill, then cleans his/her feet.
Affected cats are often drooling copiously and distressed.
Varmint PoisonsPoisons for moles, slugs and certain other pests can be very serious and are quite different than the more common rat and mouse poisons.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many products.
There are many documented cases of intoxication causing harm to dogs. Cats are not reported to be affected, possibly because they are more discriminating and possibly because of a different metabolism.
In dogs, ingestion of Xylitol causes increased release of insulin and resulting low blood sugar. Some dogs suffer severe damage to the liver (hepatic necrosis) and complications with blood clotting and such patients can die without aggressive care.
With appropriate care, dogs without preexisting problems can be saved