Avoiding pet poisoning
Poisons can be eaten, absorbed through the skin, and inhaled. Poisonings can mimic many things. Some poisons act immediately; some takes days to appear, potentially making diagnosis difficult. Common signs seen with poisoning:
- Muscle tremors or seizures
- Vomiting and or diarrhea, sometimes with blood
- Excessive salivation - drooling or foaming
- Redness of skin, ears, eyes
- Ental depression or excitement (may be easily excitable)
- Bleeding (as with rat poison ingestion)
- Ulceration or blisters of the mouth or skin
- Excessive pawing at the mouth, excessive licking
- Swelling (i.e. of a limb or face, commonly seen with insect bites and stings)
- Elevated or depressed body temperature (elevations usually due to increased muscle activity, tremors, seizures).
What should I do if I suspect a poisoning? Call your veterinarian immediately. Have the following information ready:
Exact name of toxin ingested, inhaled, or absorbed; Approximately how much of the toxin was ingested; How long ago you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned; Approximate weight of your pet; What signs your pet is showing vomiting, tremors, salivation, etc., and general observations such as color of the gums (capillary refill time), respiratory rate, heart rate, and if possible, body temperature.
If the poison is known, take the box or package with you. Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting your veterinarian. Some toxins are caustic, and vomiting will only increase damage. Some toxins need to be neutralized with activated charcoal, others need to be expelled by vomiting, and still others have antidotes. Topical toxins need to be rinsed (skin, eye) with copious amounts of water.
Be Prepared for a Poison Emergency:
your animal may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to secure your home. Because of this, we urge you to be prepared. Your animal companion should regularly be seen by a local veterinarian to maintain overall health. Know your vet's procedures for emergency situations, especially ones that occur after usual business hours. Keep phone numbers for the veterinarians in a convenient location. Keep a pet safety kit on hand for emergencies.
Such a kit should contain:
- A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% (USP)
- Can of soft dog or cat food, as appropriate.
- Bulb syringe or large medical syringe.
- Saline eye solution to flush out eye contaminants.
- Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing.
- Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid for the animal after skin contamination.
- Rubber gloves.
- Forceps to remove stingers.
- Muzzle. An excited animal may harm you.
- Pet carrier.