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ASPCA Animal Poison Control Number 1-888-426-4435

    1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and other aspirin free pain medications)
        • Can be toxic to both dogs and cats but cats are the most significantly affected and can have severe changes to the red blood cells (methemoglobinemia) that can result in brown/blue mucous membranes (gums). Cats can also have severe facial and paw swelling due to acetaminophen ingestion.
    1. Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)
      • This is a very serious ingestion to both dogs and cats and can be fatal. It can cause a drunken gait and abnormal mental status as well as gastrointestinal signs initially, then the patient can appear normal after that. Unfortunately, the next stage is acute kidney failure, which can be fatal without hemodialysis. If there is any suspicion of this ingestion, your pet must be evaluated immediately.
    1. Aspirin
      • Although dogs and cats can tolerate low doses of aspirin they are highly susceptible to gastrointestinal ulceration, bleeding, and perforation of ulcers. Do not use this drug without direct order from your veterinarian
    1. Batteries
      • Ingestion of the whole battery as well as chewing on batteries can lead to clinical signs including pain, hypersalivation, oral inflammation and ulceration, vomiting, anorexia, and gastrointestinal ulceration and or bleeding due to battery acid exposure. X-rays should be taken to see if there are battery parts in the GI tract. Seek veterinary attention if there is suspicion of battery ingestion.
    2. Bread Dough
      • Ingestion of bread dough can cause intestinal obstruction, vomiting, diarrhea, blindness, inability to walk, vocalization, change in behaviors and loss of consciousness. Bread dough will rapidly rise in the warm environment of the stomach and produce ethanol, which is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract causing the clinical signs. Prognosis is good if treated immediately by a veterinarian.
    3. Cleaning agents and liquid Potpourri
      • There are many categories of cleaning agents including caustic agents (alkaline or acidic), irritants, alkalis and acids. Clinical signs can include skin irritation, oral ulcerations (from grooming or ingestion), corneal erosions and ulcer, irritation of the eye, excessive salivation, vomiting, bloody vomit and diarrhea, and difficult breathing due to inflammation of the upper airway. Decontamination and supportive care is often needed.
    4. Chocolate
      • Theobromine and caffeine are the main toxic components in chocolate (also coffee beans and cocoa beans). The amounts of each vary depending on the type of chocolate (i.e., milk, unsweetened baking, or semisweet chocolates).
      • The main signs referable to the heart and central nervous system:
        • nervousness/anxiety
        • excitable behavior
        • tremors
        • seizures and coma due to CNS stimulation
        • high blood pressure
        • a slowed or increased heart rate
        • heart arrhythmias, which may be manifested as disorientation, weakness, collapse and loss of consciousness
        • vomiting and diarrhea can also occur
      • The most important things for owners to do when a pet ingests chocolate (coffee beans or cocoa beans) are:
        • to estimate how much was ingested,
        • to bring packaging to the hospital so the type(s) of chocolate and relative doses of the toxic ingredients can be identified/estimated
        • to not delay the trip to the hospital.
    1. Cigarette Ingestion
      • Tobacco products contain nicotine. Cigarettes and cigars have varying degrees of nicotine in them. The butts themselves contain 25% of the total nicotine. Clinical signs develop quickly (15-30 minutes) and include hyperexcitablity, hypersalivation, fast breathing, diarrhea, and vomiting. Muscle weakness, twitching, collapse, coma, and death can occur at high enough doses. Animals seen ingesting any tobacco products or even several cigarette or cigar butts should present to a veterinarian for medical care and decontamination.
    2. Grapes and raisins
      • Very little is known regarding the cause of grape toxicity in dogs. It is not dose-dependent, meaning that a small amount of grape ingestion could cause a serious problem in some dogs and some dogs can eat a large amount and never be affected. On presentation, your dog will likely have emesis (vomiting) induced and baseline kidney values measured. Most dogs will be admitted to the hospital for 48 hours of intravenous fluids.
      • Prognosis varies based on when the patients presents to a veterinarian and the degree of sensitivity to grapes and raisins per patient.
    3. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve) Ingestion (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory or NSAID)
      • Ibuprofen is an over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that is commonly used for aches and pains in people. Ingestion of even small amounts of ibuprofen or naproxen can lead to vomiting and diarrhea as well as gastric ulceration, bleeding and intestinal perforation. At high enough concentrations it can cause permanent kidney damage and affect the central nervous system leading to seizures, inability to walk, coma and death.
      • Cats are twice as sensitive as dogs are due to a lack of an enzyme to help digest the medication.
      • Treatment of the patient includes decontamination through emesis (inducing vomiting), prevention and treatment of gastric ulceration, renal failure and CNS effects. Common therapies will include giving activated charcoal, gastrointestinal protectants such as omeprazole, carafate, misoprostol, and IV fluid therapy. Blood will also be monitored to check kidney function as well.
      • The prognosis is good if the patient is treated immediately after ingestion.
    4. Lily ingestion (Cats)
      • Lilium species of plants include the Asian lily, Easter lily, Japanese show lily, rubrum lily and tiger lily, as reported by the Handbook of Small Animal Toxicology and Poisonings.
      • Every part of the lily plant (flower, stem, leaf, and root) is reportedly toxic to cats with ingestion. The toxin within the plant is unknown. Cats of any age can be affected. Whether or not lilies are toxic to dogs is unknown.
      • The main organs affected are the kidneys, resulting in acute renal failure within 1-2 days of ingestion. Many of the clinical signs of acute renal failure are non-specific, including lethargy, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting. One very suggestive sign is oliguria/anuria (decreased/absent urine production).
      • Prognosis is variable, depending especially on how early the ingestion was caught and whether or not gastric clearance was possible. Once acute renal failure develops, the prognosis is poor with high mortality rates. This is particularly true of patients that develop anuria. Dialysis is likely the only hope of saving anuric patients.
    5. Lead
      • Lead can be found in paint in older homes. Pets who live in these homes who have been seen eating paint chips or scratching at paint are suspected to be exposed.
      • Clinical signs include vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, seizures, dementia and/or blindness. Other more subtle signs are possible.
    6. Marijuana
      • Marijuana can affect dogs and cats. The exposure is not dose-dependent as the amount of THC is not generally provided in recreational marijuana (though can be found with medical marijuana). Clinical symptoms include hypersensitivity and hyper-reactivity (flinching). Other clinical signs include tremors, swaying, ataxia (drunken gait), dilated pupils, and leaking urine. Pets can generally recover well from this toxicity but knowledge or suspicion of the toxin exposure is paramount to diagnosis. Urine drug screening can be variably positive, as dogs and cats excrete different metabolites than are identified in the human tests that are available.
    1. Molds/tremorgenic
      • Sources of mycotoxins include moldy food especially dairy products, nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds and peanuts) stored grains and past and blue cheese. Eating moldy leaves or plant materials can also be a source of the toxins. Clinical signs include vomiting, increased irritability, weakness, muscle tremors, twitching, and seizures.
    2. Moth balls
      • Naphthalene is the most dangerous type. Toxicity has been reported after just one moth ball ingestion
      • Clinical signs include vomiting, anemia, changes in urine color, lethargy and seizures. Hepatitis can occur 3 to 5 days after exposure as well as kidney failure. Seizures and coma can result as well.
    3. Mushrooms
      • Commonly found mushrooms in the backyard, parks, and nature trails can be toxic and lethal to dogs. The most toxic poisonous mushroom family is the Amanita phalloides or death cap mushrooms. Clinical signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, bleeding disorders, excessive drooling, cardiac arrhythmias, liver failure and death. Clinical signs can occur as soon as 20 minutes after ingestion.
      • Prognosis is variable depending on the type of mushroom ingested and quantity
    4. Pennies
      • Up until 1983, pennies were minted from 96% cooper and 4% zinc. Due to economic considerations pennies after 1983 are composed of 96% zinc and 2.5% copper.
      • As few as two of the “new” pennies have been reported to cause problems in dogs under 10 kg.
      • The normal stomach acids liberate zinc gradually from pennies and other zinc containing metal objects.
      • Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and depression. Hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells) is a consistent finding.
      • Diagnosis depends on a history and abdominal x-rays to find a metallic foreign body.
      • Treatment of zinc poisoned animals consists of removing the object through an emetic (inducing vomiting), surgery, or endoscopy and associated supportive therapy. Many dogs require blood transfusions to treat hemolytic anemia.
    5. Prescription Medication
      • If your pet ingests more than the prescribed dose of their own prescription medication or if they ingest yours or a family member’s prescription medication, please seek medical attention. Contact your primary veterinarian, or if after hours contact an emergency facility and call animal poison control.
    6. Rhododendron species
      • A common backyard plant found in the northeast ingestion of this plant can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and decreased appetite
      • At high enough doses cardiotoxic changes can be seen which will manifest as rapid breathing, hypotension, changes in heart rate, collapse and convulsions.
      • Please contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests a large amount of this plant for decontamination and supportive care
    7. Rodenticide (rat poison)
      • Intoxication with various substances intended for killing rodents is a common problem in dogs and sometimes cats. There are many products available, but most fall into one of three categories, based on the mechanism of action.
      • Those that inhibit the function of vitamin K (vitamin K antagonists) are the most common culprits. The other two categories are calcifying substances and uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation. Immediate veterinary attention should always be sought as soon as possible, even if ingestion is only partially suspected. If caught early enough, vomiting can be induced and prevent systemic absorption. Typically vomitus from dogs that have ingested one of these compounds is bright blue-green in color.
      • For the vitamin K antagonists, there is a 2-7 day lag period between ingestion and the onset of bleeding, varying between compounds (warfarin, diphacinone, brodifacoum and bromadiolone). Treatment generally consists of decontamination via emesis (inducing vomiting) and administration of activated charcoal to bind to any toxin remaining in the intestinal tract. Administration of vitamin K orally at home for 30 days is often recommended. Repeat blood clotting (coagulation) testing is done 48 hours after discontinuing vitamin K administration. Prognosis for this type of exposure is generally good.
      • If your pet has signs of internal bleeding such as pale gums, labored breathing, abdominal distension, or weakness, he or she may require inpatient care and may need a blood transfusion and injectable vitamin K. If this is the case, prognosis is variable.
      • Cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3 products increase blood calcium concentrations much higher than normal. The calcium then deposits in various tissues, disrupting normal function. The major organs damaged are the kidneys, intestines and liver. Signs of renal and liver failure and GI signs begin to be seen 24-48 hours after ingestion.
      • The uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation (active ingredient Bromethalin) inhibit cellular respiration. At higher doses, the body system usually affected first is the central nervous system. Thus, the first clinical signs seen include severe excitation, tremoring and/or seizuring. At lower doses, lethargy, depression, gastrointestinal signs and anorexia predominate. Death occurs with low doses as well as high, especially if low dose exposure occurs repeatedly. Cats are reportedly more sensitive than dogs. Either species however must be treated as an emergency. Death ensues from respiratory muscle failure.
      • There are no known antidotes for Bromethalin. Treatment is primarily supportive: control of swelling in the brain, oxygen supplementation or ventilation if complete respiratory failure and control of seizures. The overall prognosis is poor without prolonged intensive care.
    8. Toilet Tank Drop Ins/Toilet water
      • The drop in products often are made of a corrosive cleaning agent
      • Due to the dilution of the toxin in the toilet tank and bowl the concentration is usually not very high
      • Typical clinical signs include gastrointestinal irritation which could include vomiting and diarrhea
    9. Xylitol
      • Xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many sugar-free gums, baked goods, desserts, some medications, vitamins, and toothpaste.
      • Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar episode) and fulminant liver failure. Due to the nature of xylitol ingestion, immediate presentation to the veterinarian for decontamination and observation is recommended for favorable outcome.