One of the most common emergency calls we receive is the one that starts with, “My pet just ate…..” We have seen dogs and cats eat some crazy things…including, but not limited to, Polly Pocket toys, jewelry, coins, fishhooks, needles and thread, hair ties…the list is endless. But today I would like to concentrate on the items that our beloved pets eat that can be toxic.
"One of the most common emergency calls we receive is the one that starts with,
This means that pets can be exposed to toxic levels just by walking through spilled e-liquid. The first signs may begin 15-30 minutes after exposure and include drooling, vomiting and/or diarrhea, agitation and panting. With severe intoxications, the symptoms progress to twitching, tremors, seizures, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Treatment is supportive care in hospital, such as IV fluids and anti-seizure medications. However, even with aggressive veterinary care, some patients will unfortunately not survive.
Marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal, is also on the rise. This is leading to more cases of marijuana toxicity being treated in our hospital. In pets, the clinical symptoms of marijuana toxicity can begin 30-90 minutes after exposure and can last for several days. These signs include incoordination, listlessness, dilated pupils, and a startle reaction where the pet appears drowsy but “catches” balance before they fall over. Marijuana toxicity can resemble toxicity from many prescription sedatives, and can look like early anti-freeze poisoning. Because of this, it is very important that you tell your veterinarian if marijuana (or any other recreational drug) is a possible cause of your pet’s symptoms. Veterinarians are not obligated to report anything to local authorities, so please do not let fear (or embarrassment) keep you from helping your veterinarian help your beloved pet.
Finally, there is a lethal substance to dogs that most of have in our homes, purses, backpacks, or vehicles….sugar-free gum. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that can be found in most sugar-free gums and many other food/drink items, including flavored yogurt, toothpaste, and PEANUT BUTTER! Peanut butter is often used to hide our pet’s medications, so be sure to read labels, especially if you are using any reduced sugar or sugar-free products! Xylitol causes mild to potentially lethal problems in dogs. The first is severe low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. The dog’s pancreas confuses xylitol for real sugar and releases insulin, which then causes a decrease in real blood sugar. This leads to weakness, tremors, and possibly seizures. This can happen within 30 minutes of eating xylitol and can last for up to 12 hours. The second problem xylitol causes is destruction of liver tissue. Not all dogs will develop liver failure and those symptoms usually take longer to show up (typically 8 -12 hours). The amount of xylitol found in gum varies and a small dog can be poisoned by a single stick of gum depending on the flavor and size of dog. Once again rapid treatment, ideally causing the dog to vomit within 30 minutes of consuming the gum, is the best option. At this time we are not sure about the effects of xylitol in cats.
These are just a few poisons our fur-babies may be exposed to, if you are ever concerned please feel free to contact our staff…that is why we are here!
Dr. Murray, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Morgan will share some of their knowledge on subjects that most pet owners have questions about!
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