Your Guide to Common Cat Poisonings

There are hundreds of items your pet can get access to. Some things are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to help you determine if a particular item is a problem and link you on to more in-depth information.

If you think your pet may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to pets and some manufacturers even discuss pet toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It is also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

General Information. For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

Amitraz. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects cats who have a dog tick collar placed on them but can also occur if a cat licks the tick collar on the dog. Typical symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion and often begin with the cat becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are also common. Without treatment, coma may result. In severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death. Prompt consultation with your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency hospital is suggested if you realize an amitraz-based tick collar was placed on your cat or your cat licked a collar.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal’s body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning results in nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). Cats are more susceptible to ethylene glycol poisoning than dogs (i.e. smaller amounts are required to cause poisoning). The minimum lethal dose for a cat is 1.5 milliliters of antifreeze per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, a teaspoonful can be lethal to a 7 pound cat. Definitive treatment should be started as soon as possible after consumption of ethylene glycol (within a few hours). If treated promptly and appropriately, pets that have consumed ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure and have a good chance of survival. Signs to watch for include: nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol depending on the amount ingested.

Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Cats and young animals are more susceptible to the effects of aspirin than are dogs because they are unable to metabolize the drug as quickly. Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot after being cut. Spontaneous bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. If accidental ingestion has occurred, remove any remaining pills from the environment. Take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. If you live more than 30 minutes from the veterinary hospital, call ahead for advice on whether or not to induce vomiting at home prior to transportation.

Arsenic. Although a common poison in the days of Agatha Christie, arsenic is somewhat difficult to obtain and animal poisonings are rare. Usually, poisoning is due to the ingestion of very old insect traps. Since 1989, the use of arsenic in insect traps has greatly diminished but there are still some out there. The lethal dose is 1 to 25 mg per kilogram of weight and signs of poisoning include severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. If caught early, most pets are treated and recover. If treatment is delayed and the signs of illness are severe, pets usually do not survive. If your pet has ingested an insect trap, make sure to check the label to see if arsenic is present and call your veterinarian.

Your Guide to Common Dog Poisonings

Common Canine Poisons and Toxins

There are hundreds of items your dog can get access to. Some things are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to help you determine if a particular item is a problem and provide you with the information you need to best help your pet.

If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It’s also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

General Information. For most poisonings, there is not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

List of Common Dog Toxins

Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs. Chewing on things is a normal part of puppyhood so before you rush your pooch to the veterinarian, here is a list of some commonly eaten and, thankfully, non-toxic items. If your pup chews any of these, don’t worry about toxicity. The only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Amitraz. Amitraz is an insecticide used in some brands of dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects curious puppies who ingest the poison but can occur from wearing the tick collar or receiving demodectic mange treatment. Typical symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion and often begin with the pet becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are also common. Without treatment, coma may result. In severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death. Call and see your veterinarian for treatment.

Amphetamines. Amphetamines are human medications that are commonly used as appetite suppressants and mood elevators or for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Amphetamines must be prescribed by a physician, but because they are popular as appetite suppressants and mood elevators, they are often purchased illegally. Amphetamines are nervous system stimulants that also affect the brain. After ingestion, toxic signs are usually seen within one to two hours. Common signs include restlessness, hyperactivity, agitation, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment for amphetamine toxicity is crucial and will give your pet a better chance of full recovery. If left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be fatal.

Ant Traps. If an ant trap is ingested, the only real concern is the potential for obstruction if the object or container becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines. Most ant and roach traps are made from either sticky paper or chlorpyrifos, which has a low level of toxicity in mammals but is highly toxic to insects. Also, you can expect some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food item.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal’s body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning results in nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). The minimum lethal dose for dogs averages five milliliters per kilogram of body weight. Thus, a little more than three tablespoons (or 45 milliliters) could be lethal for a 22 pound (10 kg) dog. Definitive treatment should be started as soon as possible after consumption of ethylene glycol (within a few hours). If treated promptly and appropriately, pets that have consumed ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure and have a good chance of survival. Signs to watch for include: nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol depending on the amount ingested.

6 Deadly Poisons That Could Kill Your Dog

Important and Deadly Poisons That Could Kill Your Dog

Toxins are a common (and potentially expensive) reason why dog owners visit their veterinarians or emergency clinic. I want to give my PetPlace subscribers the information they need to make sure that their precious dogs are not the victims of poisoning.

Below are 6 Deadly Poisons That Could Kill Your Dog:

#1 – Antifreeze.

This is the most common deadly poison ingested by dogs and cats. As little as one teaspoon can kill a small dog. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and dogs like it. Please make sure to keep ALL antifreeze away from your dog.

 

#2. Mouse and Rat Baits.

There are several ingredients in mouse and rat bait products that are toxic. The most common one causes bleeding disorders that can be fatal. Make sure any baits you use are out of your pet’s reach.

#3. Slug Bait.

In the summer months, slugs come out and bait is used to kill them. The active ingredient in slug bait is metaldehyde, and it can cause uncontrollable seizures in pets.

#4. Dog Medications.

Overdosing or accidental access to pet medications is a common cause of poisoning in dogs. If your pet accidentally gets anything he shouldn’t, call your veterinarian. Early identification and treatment can save his life if caught quickly. If the medication is dangerous enough, your vet may even recommend that you induce vomiting to get it out of his system to prevent problems.

#5. Human Medications.

Dogs commonly gain access to human medications. Or, they are given these medications by a well-intentioned (but misinformed) owner. Human medication can easily be given in an overdose amount, and some human medications are toxic to dogs. PLEASE don’t give your dog any medications without consulting with your veterinarian. Why chance it?

 

#6. Insecticides.

Don’t give your pet anything for fleas or ticks unless it is approved by your veterinarian. Some pets are sensitive to certain medications.

I hope these tips will help keep your pet safe. In addition, make sure your dog has the best medical care possible, just in case there is a problem. As you know, I recommend pet insurance to make sure that you will have the means to deal with an unexpected problem when it does happen.

If you already have pet insurance, I congratulate you in taking this important step to help keep your pet safe and healthy.

Well, I hope that you have found this information helpful. Remember to keep all medications and toxins out of reach of your children and dogs.

 

A Guide to Poison Prevention for Cats

Curiosity can indeed kill the cat.

Our feline friends are constantly exploring their surroundings, harnessing their natural instincts to investigate and honing their hunting skills. Unfortunately, cats’ propensity for discovery can easily get them in trouble.

There’s a myth floating around that cats are less susceptible to poisoning than dogs thanks to their more discriminate eating tendencies, but that’s simply not the case. When you couple felines’ curious nature with their grooming habit of licking substances found on their coats, they prove far from immune from the perils of poison. In fact, poisons and toxic substances can be even more hazardous to felines, since they have smaller body sizes and digestive systems less capable of breaking down certain substances.

It’s not uncommon for veterinarians and animal clinics to field frantic phone calls from owners who’ve discovered their cat ingested something that’s potentially toxic. With proper education and preventative efforts, though, we can strive to minimize such situations. National Poison Prevention Week – which runs the third week of March annually (March 20-26 this year) – represents a campaign designed to raise awareness regarding dangerous substances and how to handle a poison-related emergency.

Your feline’s longterm well-being could very well depend on your ability to limit his exposure to common poisonous substances. Here’s what you need to know about your cat and poison prevention:

Poisoning in Cats – What You Should Know

We live our lives surrounded by various poisons and toxic substances, which can lead to illness in our feline friends. Damage inflicted to a cat’s body depends on the amount of poison ingested and how long the poison was present prior to treatment. If treatment is immediate, many poisons don’t result in significant illness. Some, regardless of how quickly treatment is administered, prove fatal or result in permanent damage.

The effects of a poison aren’t always immediate, and can take days or weeks to materialize. Therefore, if you witness your cat ingesting a potentially toxic substance, don’t be lured into a false sense of security simply because he doesn’t immediately become ill. Every toxic ingestion is cause for concern and should prompt an immediate call to your veterinarian or local animal emergency facility.

While some poisons are inhaled or absorbed, the majority are ingested. Signs of poisoning in cats include:

  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stumbling or staggering
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Seizure

Your Guide to Common Cat Poisonings

There are hundreds of substances your cat can access. Some are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. If you think your cat may have been exposed to a toxin, check the item’s label and read about its toxicity. Often, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to cats and some manufacturers even discuss pet toxicity. If there’s an 800 number on the package – call it!

For most poisonings, there’s not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or animal emergency facility if you suspect your feline has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing your cat in for examination and treatment. When you visit your vet, take the product’s packaging with you.

Diagnosing illness due to poisoning can be difficult if the exposure or ingestion wasn’t witnessed. Diagnosis can be made based on diagnostic tests, blood and urine tests, or physical examination. While some poisons have specific antidotes, general treatments for poisoning include reducing additional absorption, delaying absorption, and speeding elimination.

Top Household Poisons Affecting Cats

Cats are famous for their frisky and inquisitive nature, which often leads them to consume harmful items. Unfortunately, the average household contains many potentially dangerous substances that your feline might encounter – ranging from carpet cleaners to antifreeze to insecticides.

The Animal Poison Hotline compiled the following list of the top-five toxic substances cats consume:

  • Plants: Cats are infamous for eating plants, and suffering the consequences. Ingestion of the Easter lily, for instance, can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure.
  • Pesticides: Cats are primarily poisoned by contact with concentrated pesticides and fertilizers. This can occur if the product is not stored properly or if too much is used on the lawn.
  • House Products and Cleaners: These vary quite a bit in chemical makeup and toxicity. These products can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or chemical burns, resulting in organ damage.
  • Prescription Drugs: The container may be child-proof, but your cat may succeed at getting to the pills inside. All drugs should be placed out of reach of felines.
  • Over-the-Counter Medication: It’s important to remember that certain OTC drugs won’t have the same effect on pets as they do on humans. Aspirin, for instance, can be dangerous.

Dangerous Foods: Are They Harmful to Your Cat?

Poison and Your Dog – What You Need to Know

If only they knew the dangers that surround them.

Our canine companions tend to be carefree creatures, brightening our days with their ever-present zest for life and their fun-loving antics. Always curious, they explore their everyday environments with their eyes, nose, mouth, and paws.

Unbeknownst to our canines – and, in some cases, to dog owners as well – poisons and toxins lurk throughout the home, garage, and yard. The unfortunate reality is that we live amidst a variety of poisons and toxic substances that can prove harmful, or even deadly, to dogs. Poisoning represents a prevalent problem in canines due to their curious nature and indiscriminate diets, among other reasons.

It’s not uncommon for veterinarians and animal clinics to field frantic phone calls from owners who’ve discovered their dog ingested something that’s potentially toxic. With proper education and preventative efforts, though, we can strive to minimize such situations. National Poison Prevention Week – which runs the third week of March annually (March 20-26 this year) – represents a campaign designed to raise awareness regarding dangerous substances and how to handle a poison-related emergency.

Still, poison prevention must be a year-round initiative for dog owners. It all boils down to keeping our furry friends safe and happy. Here’s what you need to know about poison and your dog:

Poisoning in Dogs – What You Should Know

Some of the more common poisons dogs ingest include insecticides, antifreeze, household cleaning solutions, and poisonous plants. Human foods – such as chocolate – can also be harmful. A poison’s overall effect on your canine is based on the amount of poison ingested and how long that poison was in the body prior to treatment.

The effects of a poison aren’t always immediate, and can take days or weeks to materialize. Therefore, if you witness your pet ingesting a potentially toxic substance, don’t be lured into a false sense of security simply because he doesn’t immediately become ill. Every toxic ingestion is cause for concern and should prompt an immediate call to your veterinarian or local animal emergency facility.

While some poisons are inhaled or absorbed, the majority are ingested. Signs of poisoning in dogs include:

  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stumbling or staggering
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Seizure

Your Guide to Common Dog Poisonings

There are hundreds of substances your dog can access. Some are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, check the item’s label and read about its toxicity. Often, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there’s an 800 number on the package – call it!

For most poisonings, there’s not much you can do at home. Consult your veterinarian or animal emergency facility if you suspect your canine has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing your dog in for examination and treatment. When you visit your vet, take the product’s packaging with you.

Diagnosing illness due to poisoning can be difficult if the exposure or ingestion wasn’t witnessed. Diagnosis can be made based on diagnostic tests, blood and urine tests, or physical examination. While some poisons have specific antidotes, general treatments for poisoning include reducing additional absorption, delaying absorption, and speeding elimination.

Deadly Poisons That Could Kill Your Dog

Toxins are a common (and potentially expensive) reason why dog owners visit their veterinarians or emergency clinics. While some poisons can be treated and result in full recovery for your canine, others are potentially fatal, including:

  • Antifreeze: This is the most common deadly poison ingested by canines. As little as one teaspoon can kill a small dog. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and dogs like it.
  • Mouse and Rat Baits: There are several ingredients in these products that are toxic. The most common one causes bleeding disorders that can be fatal.
  • Slug Bait: In the summer months, slugs come out and bait is used to kill them. The active ingredient in slug bait is metaldehyde, which can cause uncontrollable seizures in dogs.
  • Dog Medications: Overdosing or accidental access to pet medications is a common cause of poisoning in dogs. If your canine accidentally gets anything he shouldn’t, call your vet immediately.
  • Human Medications: Dogs commonly gain access to human medications. Or, they are given these medications by a well-intentioned (but misinformed) owner. Never administer any medication to your canine without consulting your vet first.
  • Insecticides: Don’t give your dog anything to treat fleas or ticks unless it’s approved by your vet. Some pets are sensitive to certain medications.

Human Foods that Poison Dogs in the U.S.

Bufo Toad Toxicity (Envenomation) in Dogs

 

Overview of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

Toads of the genus Bufo, live in many parts of the world and, unbeknownst to many pet owners, can be toxic to dogs. The Bufus marinus toad species is especially common in southern Florida. Many thousands of dogs are exposed to these poisonous toads every year in places like this.

Although toads cannot sting or bite dogs, they can nonetheless evenomate them via their skin glands (parotid glands). These glands secrete a venom of variable toxicity, depending on the species of toad, which covers their body in a protective film.

Any breed of dog is susceptible to the effects of the Bufo toad toxin. Some dogs, however, are more likely to have a high drive to attack these animals. Dogs with high prey drives, especially breeds with a special interest in small animals (such as rats) may be more inclined to receive a higher dose of Bufo toxin. As such, terrier breeds may be more predisposed than others.

What to Watch For

Dogs typically present with signs that occur as a result of local irritation to the oral mucous membranes or systemic signs of gastrointestinal toxicity, neurotoxicity and cardiotoxicity.

Signs usually manifest within minutes of contact with the venom.

  • Local irritation: Hypersalivation, bright pink oral mucous membranes
  • Gastrointestinal toxicity: Vomiting, diarrhea, fecal incontinence
  • Neurotoxicity: Ataxia (loss of balance), seizures, depression, walking in a circle, papillary changes, and collapse. Less common clinical signs include excitement, progressive muscular paralysis, blindness and vocalization.
  • Cardiotoxicity: Abnormal heart rhythms

 

Diagnosis of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

Knowledge of contact with a Bufo toad is the typical means of diagnosis. But in many cases, the diagnosis can be made presumptively depending on the history (being out of doors at night during the wetter seasons of the year), geographic location, and the dog’s clinical signs.

Treatment of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

  • Treatment of Bufo toad envenomation usually depends on the dose an animal has received and their specific clinical signs. All dogs should be taken to a veterinary facility after exposure, but those who begin to show neurological signs should be rushed there immediately.
  • In all cases, dogs should have their mouths rinsed out with water immediately upon suspicion of toad envenomation. A hose or bath nozzle may be used to rinse out the oral cavity, taking care not to allow aspiration.
  • Supportive care, including intravenous fluid and anti-seizure medication (such as diazepam or propofol) administration is the mainstay of treatment. Symptomatic treatment of any gastrointestinal signs is also undertaken at this time.
  • For patients who have received a large dose of Bufo toad toxin, intensive care may be required to keep recurrent seizures at bay and to monitor the heart for signs of cardiotoxicity.

 

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Veterinary Cost Associated with Bufo Toad Toxicity

The cost of Bufo toad envenomation depends to a large extent on the degree to which a dog is exposed and, consequently, to the dose of toxin he or she received. If was a simple lick or quick bite, resulting in minimal toxin absorption, dogs are likely to fare well – sometimes even without any veterinary intervention at all (though it’s strongly recommended all dogs be examined by a veterinarian after any Bufo toad toxin exposure).

Others, however, may require rapid emergency intervention and intensive care after long bouts of seizuring. Depending on the dose of toxin and length of time elapsed before treatment, dogs may require one or more days of intensive care. Each day of care can amount to $1,000 or more. This will vary depending on the geographic locale and level of care elected (general practice vs. specialty center).

 

Prevention

Preventing exposure to the Bufo toad is the only sure means of preventing envenomation.

  • Dog owners who live in Bufo toad-specific locales are urged to keep a watchful eye out during the wetter seasons of the year. This is when toads are more active and likely to find itself in a dog’s path.
  • Since toads are attracted to pet foods, keeping bowls out of doors is not recommended. Removing toads from a dog’s yard is considered helpful but it’s no sure means of prevention if the yard is otherwise hospitable to them.
  • Some dog owners have attempted to shore up fencing with chicken wire or predator fencing with mixed results.

    References for Bufo Toad Toxicity

    • Barbosa CM; Medeiros MS; Riani Costa CCM; Camplesi AC; Sakate M.J. Toad poisoning in three dogs: case reports. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.15 no.4 Botucatu 2009.
    • M. Sakate, P.C. Lucas de Oliveira. Toad envenoming in dogs: effects and treatment. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins vol.6 n.1 Botucatu 2000.


Paint Ball Toxicity and Dangers to Dogs

Overview of Paint Ball Toxicity to Dogs

Paintballing can be fun but includes many potential dangers to our canine friends. Paintballing is a pastime for adults and kids that consiss of a “cowboy and Indian” type game where opponents try to “shoot” each other with paint balls.

Paintballs are little bullets of paint used for shooting games. They are round, hard balls of paint that come in a variety of colors. They are fired by special paintball guns. The bullets hurt (actually they hurt quite a lot as I recently found out) and are calibrated to fly at 280 feet per second. Tiger Woods hits golf balls at 280 feet per second. Can you imagine getting hit by one of those if you were…10 feet, 20 feet away? People and dogs shot with paintballs in the face have been disfigured and lost their eyes and bruising is a common “normal” sequela from being shot.

The danger of paintballs to dogs lies in two primary areas.

1. Damage from the physical impact of the paintball bullets.

2. Toxicity from ingestion.

Physical damage from paintballs can vary from mild to severe bruising to skin damage. Severe damage can occur causing loss of eye, bone fractures, or even internal bleeding or organ damage. The degree and severity of the damage to a dog is dependent upon the distance from which the target is shot, the size of the dog, and the area to which the dog is shot. For example, small puppies shot at close range in the eye will do doubt loose that eye. If shot in the leg, it could cause a fracture of the bone hit. Impact to the chest or abdomen to a small dog could also cause substantial damage and pain.

Ingestion of large amounts of paintballs can result in toxicity and even death. Depending on the ingredients in the paintballs, the size of the dog and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. Common symptoms include vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Signs can progress to weakness, coma and seizures. Once toxic levels are reached in the body, the effect becomes apparent at which time you may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and possibly excessive panting. Heart rate levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases. These signs can occur within a few hours of ingestion. Prompt veterinary care is recommended.

It is unknown for sure the amount of paintballs that need to be ingested to cause toxicity. Some data suggests that a couple can even cause mild signs.

Diagnosis of Paintball Injuries and Toxicity to Dogs

Diagnosing paintball toxicity or damage is generally based on the owner’s witnessing or suspecting ingestion and on physical exam findings. The signs are consistent with the physical injury includes a round type bruise that can be associated with paint on the dog. Ingestion of paintballs can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the type and amount eaten. Symptoms of ingestion in dogs may include:

  • Vomiting (you may see the paintballs or paint)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty walking/stumbling
  • Tremors
  • Hyperactivity
  • Panting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Tachycardia (high heart rate)
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

    Signs may begin within one hour after ingestion. Dehydration may also occur if there has been significant vomiting and diarrhea. Ingestion can also cause changes in the bodies electrolytes. The most severe changes are a dangerously high sodium level, increase in pH, elevations in chloride levels and lowered potassium levels.

    Treatment  of Paintball Injuries and Toxicity to Dogs

    Treatment depends on the severity of the clinical signs in your dog and may include continuous intravenous fluid therapy and medications to help control vomiting. Occasionally enemas may be used to facilitate movement of paintballs through the GI track. Also, medications may be used to reduce heart rate and/or treat seizures. Blood work may be monitor to observe electrolyte changes.

    Most pets treated for paintball toxicity recover and return to normal within 24-48 hours of treatment.

  • Home Care and Prevention

    Never shoot a pet with a paintball gun and keep paintballs out of the reach of your dog.

    If you suspect your dog has been shot or consumed a toxic amount, remove your dog from the source and call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide. Transport your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

    Home care for dogs that have ingested paintballs is primarily aimed at reducing gastrointestinal upset and treating symptoms. Once the nausea is gone, your veterinarian may recommend a bland diet for a couple of days.

    Watch for tremors, hyperactivity or seizures. If your dog is not eating and drinking, continues to vomit, has persistent diarrhea or still seems hyperactive, consult your veterinarian for additional recommendations.

    Illicit Drug Exposure (Marijuana and Cocaine) in Dogs

    Overview of Marijuana and Cocaine Exposure in Dogs 

    The ever-increasing prevalence of illicit drugs in our society often affects our dogs. Exposure to certain drugs, most commonly marijuana and cocaine, can have deleterious effects, especially if not treated. Unfortunately, because of the illegal nature of these drugs, diagnosis and treatment are sometimes delayed.

    Marijuana in Dogs

    The primary active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This ingredient is present in varying amounts in the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Hashish, another THC containing product, is the resin extracted from the plant.

    Dogs are usually exposed to marijuana by ingesting the cigarettes, dried leaves or leftover baked products containing marijuana. Sometimes, owners may intentionally give marijuana to their pets to “see what happens.” After ingestion, THC is rapidly absorbed, and generally, within 24 hours, most of the THC has been excreted.

    Toxicity of marijuana is low. It takes about 1.5 grams of marijuana per pound of body weight to be fatal. Therefore, death from marijuana ingested is not common. However, pets ingesting marijuana become incoordinated and begin stumbling. Most become quite lethargic. Some may experience hallucinations. The danger with marijuana is that vomiting is common, and if the pet is profoundly lethargic and begins vomiting, aspiration of the vomitus into the lungs can lead to severe breathing problems and even death.

    Treatment of marijuana exposure usually involves the induction of vomiting to remove any residual THC and, depending on the severity of the signs, some pets require hospitalization with intravenous fluids. The vast majority of pets exposed to marijuana fully recover within 24 hours.

    Cocaine In Dogs

    Cocaine exposure is not common in dogs and is usually accidental. It is quite rare for someone to give their dog cocaine intentionally. Dogs usually either ingest the cocaine or sniff residue.

    Cocaine is rapidly absorbed from the stomach, nasal passages and lungs. Following exposure the cocaine usually leaves the system within four to six hours. The lethal dose of cocaine in dogs is 25 mg per pound of body weight. Pets exposed to cocaine show signs of intermittent hyperactivity followed by profound lethargy. Some may develop seizures.

    Treatment is aimed at supporting the body systems. Inducing vomiting is not helpful since cocaine is so rapidly absorbed. Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and sedatives are typical treatments. Depending on the severity of illness, amount ingested and time lapsed before treatment, some dogs exposed to cocaine do not survive.

    Permethrin and Pyrethrin (Flea Product) Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Permethrin and Pyrethrin Toxicity in Dogs

    Fleas are frustrating and annoying insects that thrive on our dogs, and getting rid of them is an important and sometimes difficult process. Fortunately, many products are available to reduce the flea population within our homes and on our dogs. The most popular products include those supplied in small tubes that are applied to the back of the dog.  This type of product generally lasts for about 30 days.

    The most common types of insecticide used to kill fleas are pyrethrins. These products are derived from the chrysanthemum plant. When used according to label directions, pyrethrins are safe and effective. Synthetic insecticides have more recently been formulated to increase strength and effectiveness. The active ingredient in these synthetic-based insecticides is permethrin.

    Toxicity related to pyrethrins is usually associated with applying much more of the product than directed. Overdosing can cause toxic signs in both dogs and cats.

    Permethrins, the synthetic insecticide, has a much greater potential for resulting in toxicity. Permethrin based topical flea products are usually labeled “for use in dogs only.” There is a wide safety margin for permethrins in dogs. Cats, however, are exquisitely susceptible to the toxic effects of permethrins. Application of permethrin-based insecticide to a cat will usually result in toxic signs within 6 hours.

    What to Watch For

    Signs of flea product toxicity in dogs may include:

    • Drooling
    • Lethargy
    • Muscle tremors
    • Vomiting
    • Seizures

      Diagnosis of Permethrin and Pyrethrin Toxicity in Dogs

      The diagnosis of permethrin or pyrethrin toxicity is based on physical exam findings as well as a recent history of topical flea product application. Although skin and hair tests can be done to confirm the presence of insecticide, those results may take several days.

      Treatment of Permethrin and Pyrethrin Toxicity in Dogs

      Treatment involves eliminating any existing product from the body and controlling seizures and muscle tremors. Expect your veterinarian to recommend hospitalization with continuous intravenous fluids. Additional recommendations for treatment may include:

    • Bathing in a mild dish soap with lukewarm water to remove additional flea product for the dog’s skin and reduce the amount absorbed
    • Administering diazepam or pentobarbitol for seizure control
    • Administering methocarbamol to treat muscle tremors. This may be given multiple times throughout the hospital stay.If treated early, the majority of dogs suffering from permethrin/pyrethrin toxicity recover enough to go home within 24-48 hours, although fine muscle tremors may continue for several days.

    Home Care and Prevention

    If you suspect your dog may have permethrin/pyrethrin toxicity, the most important part of home care is to bathe your dog in lukewarm water using mild dish soap. Do not use flea shampoo. Avoid hot water since that will dilate blood vessels in the skin and increase the absorption of the flea product.

    Once the dog is bathed, contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Additional treatment is probably required.

    The best way to prevent toxicity to flea products is to read the labels and follow the directions.

     

    Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Canine Antidepressant Drug Toxicity

    Increased recognition of human depression and advances in human medical therapy for depression has increased the amount of humans using antidepressant medications. Because of this, pets are also getting help from the same prescription medication for a variety of animal behavioral problems. Due to the availability of these drugs and potential for exposure, accidental animal toxicities have increased.

    According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), last year they managed hundreds of such cases. APCC experts have noted the following medications to be potentially harmful:

  • Tricyclic Antidepressants, which are commonly used to treat depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive and other disorders in humans. More than 67 percent of antidepressant cases received by APCC involved these medications.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, which are typically used to treat anxiety, depression and other disorders in humans, as well as aggression and anxiety in dogs and urine spraying in cats.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), commonly used for the treatment of depression, anxiety and phobias in humans, and cognitive dysfunction and adrenal gland disorders in companion canines.
  • What to Watch For

    Signs of antidepressant drug toxicity in dogs may vary depending on the amount ingested, time since ingestion, size/weight of your dog, and type of medication ingested. Symptoms of intoxication may include any or all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy or stupor progressing to coma
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Incoordination

    Dogs may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion depending on the type and amount ingested.

  • Diagnosis of Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

    There are no specific tests to diagnose ingestion or overdose of antidepressant medications. Diagnostic tests may be recommended to help eliminate other causes of your pets symptoms and to determine detrimental effects of the medication. Recommendations may include:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination
  • Ethylene glycol test should be performed as soon after ingestion as possible
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood gas analysis to evaluate for the presence of severe acidosis
  • Serum biochemistry tests to evaluate for electrolyte disturbances
  • Treatment of Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

    Treatment for antidepressant toxicosis includes one or more of the following:

  • Induction of vomiting by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide if possible before transport of the pet to the veterinary hospital. This should only be done if the pet is alert. Pets that are very lethargic or comatose have a high risk of aspiration.
  • Hospitalization of the dog usually may be necessary depending on the severity of the toxicosis.
  • Induction of vomiting (if not successful before arrival) and gastric lavage (pumping of the stomach) to remove the poison before it can be broken down to its toxic end-products.
  • Administration of activated charcoal to bind drug within the digestive tract.
  • Intravenous fluid administration to correct dehydration
  • Other symptomatic therapy may be indicated such as sedative mediations to help counteract some symptoms of toxicity.
  • Home Care

    Remove your dog from the source of toxicity. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog to have consumed un-prescribed doses of antidepressant medications. Your veterinarian may recommend you induce vomiting in your pet by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide. Transport your pet to your veterinarian as per their recommendations.

    Preventative Care

    Never give human medications to your dog without consulting your veterinarian. Keep all medications out of the reach of pets.

    Use prescription medications only as directed.

    Most important: Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised. Pets that are allowed to roam unsupervised are more likely to encounter all sorts of drugs or toxins. In most cases of roaming dogs, owners are not aware of what they could have ingested and deal with a sick pet that may have a life threatening toxicity.