Written by Nicole Gunkel, RVT

This week is National Animal Poison Prevention Week!  Say that 10 times fast!  This really is no joking matter though and can be very serious for your pet.  In 2010, human medications topped the list of pet toxins, followed by insecticides, rodenticides, people food, veterinary medications, chocolate, household toxins, plants, herbicides and outdoor toxins.  Treatment of a pet can vary widely based on what the toxin is, how much, and if it was consumed or came in contact some other way.  The FIRST thing you should do is always call your veterinarian!  Your vet can guide you if your pet should be seen immediately or if there is something else that can be done at home.  Of course, prevention is always the key.  Almost any item can be toxic in the right amount, but it is a great idea to become aware of toxic human foods or plants.  Our website has some information on poisonous substances to pets between links and blog articles, for a summary click here.

The ASPCA runs the Animal Poison Control Center.  If you are ever concerned you can call the APCC at (888) 426-4435. For a $65 fee to your credit card they will tell you exactly what to do.  When a poison or ingestion emergency comes in to our hospital and we need more information on how best to treat your pet, we will call the poison control center for you for the same fee.  This may be easier for you since, depending on the case, the specialist on the other end can throw out some difficult medical jargon and treatments only a veterinarian can do.  The ASPCA website has an entire section on the poison control center and articles about toxic substances to your pet.

HealthyPet.com is always a great resource.  They have a great article on keeping your home a “Poison Safe Household.”

Cornell University has an online toxic plant database containing information and pictures.

There was a very good article recently on USA Today on “Vet’s view: Xylitol can be deadly to dogs.” Xylitol is a sweetener used so widely now that can be extremely dangerous to dogs and cats.  This article has some great information about what xylitol is, why it’s dangerous, and what to do about it.  Another source is an article Dr. Greenberg wrote on “The Dangers of Xylitol.”

Prevention is always the best way to arm yourself and your pet from the dangers of poisonous and toxic substances.  If you have any question, as always, please call us or stop by!