Brown Recluse Spider Bites in Dogs

Overview of Brown Recluse Spider Bites in Dogs

The brown recluse spider is 1/2 inch to 2 inches (1.2 cm to 5 cm) long. They are usually identified by a distinctive fiddle-shaped mark on their back. The brown recluse spider is present throughout the United States, especially through southern United States. They tend to hide in dark, secluded areas and usually only bite when they feel they are threatened or their area is invaded. Bites often occur when spider is trapped in bedding.

The specific type of venom of the brown recluse spider is not fully understood, and the toxicity is not clear except it is known to destroy the tissues surrounding the bite.

Usually, the dog does not realize he has been bitten. A while after the bite, a reddened area develops, sometimes accompanied by fever and nausea.. The primary damage is specific to the area around the bite. Underlying muscle tissue may die and become infected, and some bleeding in the area may occur. With or without treatment, the wound may take weeks to heal.

Veterinary care is generally recommended to prevent additional tissue damage.

What to Watch For

Signs of brown recluse spider bites in dogs may include: 

  • Pain at the area of the lesion
  • Lesion with a central dark area
  • Skin sloughing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash

    Diagnosis of Brown Recluse Spider Bites in Dogs

    Diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin wound and the possible access to brown recluse spiders.

    Treatment of Brown Recluse Spider Bites in Dogs

    Generally, dogs do well and recover from brown recluse spider bites but full recovery may take weeks. Treatment for brown recluse spider bites is aimed at treating the skin wound. Options may include:

  • Antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Sometimes, if other treatments do not heal the wound, surgery may be needed to remove the skin surrounding the affected area.
  • If fever and nausea develop, treatment may be required to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Home Care and Prevention

    The initial home care is to clean the skin wound with hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone iodine. Do not use a tourniquet since the venom stays primarily in the area of the bite and tourniquets can cause significant circulation damage.

    If the wound becomes larger or persistent drainage occurs, veterinary care is recommended. If lethargy, vomiting or nausea occur, there is no home care and seeking veterinary assistance is strongly recommended.

    The primary prevention is to limit your dog’s access to brown recluse spiders. Check areas of your house that are prime brown recluse spider hiding areas such as dark basement corners and rarely used closets. If you notice brown recluse spiders, consider consulting an exterminator to remove the spiders from your home.

    Carbamate and Organophosphate Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Canine Carbamate and Organophosphate Toxicity

    A variety of insecticides are used to reduce the numbers of insects on our crops and soils and prevent and treat flea infestations. Carbamates and organophosphates are two such chemicals and are found in flea collars, fly, ant and roach baits as well as topical flea products. These products can be toxic to dogs. 

    As with any insecticide, overexposure or misuse of the chemical can result in toxicity. The majority of toxicities related to carbamates and organophosphates are due to improper use of the chemical, especially when many different types of insecticides are used at the same time. The canine formula should never be used on cats. Overdosing has also resulted in toxicity.

    Carbamates and organophosphates are closely related insecticidal chemical compounds. Both function in a similar fashion. Carbamates and organophosphates affect the nerve-muscle junctions. Without a normal nerve impulse through the muscle, the function of the muscle is impaired. Since muscle tissue is present in the intestinal tract as well as the heart and skeleton, various signs may be seen if a pet is exposed to toxic levels of this insecticide.

    What to Watch For

    Signs of carbamate and organophosphate toxicity in dogs may include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscle tremors
  • Twitching
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis

    Veterinary care is required to survive a toxic exposure to carbamates or organophosphates.

    Diagnosis of Carbamate and Organophosphate Toxicity in Dogs

    Diagnosis is based on physical exam findings as well as a history of exposure or access to carbamates or organophosphates. Treatment must be started as soon as carbamate or organophosphate toxicity is suspected.

    Diagnosis based on a blood sample is difficult but can sometimes be accomplished. Hair and skin samples as well as urine can be tested for the presence of insecticides but laboratory results on these samples take a significant amount of time.

    Treatment of Carbamate and Organophosphate Toxicity in Dogs

    Expect your veterinarian to recommend hospitalization with continuous intravenous fluids. Other treatments may include:

  • Bathing the dog in lukewarm water with mild dish soap can reduce the amount of topical exposure.
  • Activated charcoal solution may be administered by your veterinarian if insecticide ingestion is suspected.
  • Atropine or protopam chloride (2-PAM) can be used to treat carbamate and organophosphate toxicity. Unfortunately, many doses of these antidotes may be required since the insecticide lasts a longer time in the body than the antidote. Repeated doses over a 2-5 day period may be needed.
  • In order to maintain nutritional support, a temporary feeding tube may be needed.

    Unfortunately, survival is not guaranteed, even with prompt veterinary care. The earlier treatment is instituted and the more aggressive it is, the better chance your pet has to survive.

  • Home Care

    Home care for carbamate or organophosphate toxicity is not recommended. Early veterinary treatment is strongly suggested.

    After your pet returns home, monitoring for lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or muscle twitching is crucial. If any of these signs develop, seek veterinary assistance.

    Once recovered from carbamate or organophosphate toxicity, do not re-administer these insecticides for at least six weeks. Recurrence of toxic signs may occur.

    Preventative Care

    The best prevention is to understand how insecticides work and not to combine various insecticides. Follow label directions for all insecticides. Do not use flea products made for dogs on your cats.

    Do not combine products unless under the instruction of your veterinarian. A common way that toxicity can develop is to give your dog a flea bath, place a flea collar on him/her, use a topical flea product and use a flea bomb in your house. All these will combine together and could easily result in toxicity.

    If used correctly, carbamates and organophosphates are very effective and safe insecticides. The toxicities occur when the products are not used correctly.

    Top Five Cat Toxins of 2010

    Most Common Cat Toxins of 2010

    It is no surprise that dogs and cats are, by far, the most common pets in U.S. households today. The cat population in the U.S. outnumbers dogs by more than 10 million, making them the most populous pet species. This is due, in large part, to apartment dwellers in urban environments, the ease of cat maintenance, and the potentially lower financial cost of ownership.

    Dogs tend to be prone to mischief and account for a large percentage of calls to Pet Poison Helpline, a 24/7 animal poison control based out of Minneapolis. That said, almost nine percent of calls to the helpline during 2010 were for potentially poisoned cats. The top five cat toxins of 2010 include:

    1. Human or veterinary drugs

    2. Poisonous plants

    3. Insecticides

    4. Household cleaners

    5. Other toxins, such as glow sticks and liquid potpourri

    The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline would like to help keep our feline companions safer in future years by educating pet owners about the most common cat toxins.

    1. Human and Veterinary Medications

    During 2010, about 40 percent of feline cases at Pet Poison Helpline involved cats that improperly ingested human or veterinary drugs. Cats have difficulty metabolizing certain drugs, especially as compared to dogs and humans. Common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) are some of the most deadly to cats. When ingested, NSAIDS can result in severe kidney failure and stomach ulcers. Likewise, one acetaminophen tablet can be fatal to a cat, as it results in damage to red blood cells. Untreated, it can cause severe anemia (low red blood cell count), difficulty breathing, a swollen face, liver failure and death. Cats also seem to like the taste of certain antidepressants (e.g., Effexor), which seem to contain an attractive smell or flavor in the coating. With any accidental medication ingestion, immediate veterinary care is imperative.

    2. Plants

    Poisonous plants were the second most common cat toxin in 2010, representing about 14 percent of feline-related calls. True lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis spp.), including the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies, are among the most deadly and cause kidney failure in cats. Because these flowers are fragrant, inexpensive and long-lasting, florists often include them in arrangements. Small ingestions of two or three petals or leaves – even the pollen – can result in severe, potentially irreversible kidney failure. Immediate veterinary care is imperative. Despite their name, other plants such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lily are not true lilies and do not cause kidney failure. Instead, these plants contain insoluble oxalate crystals that can cause minor symptoms, such as irritation in the mouth, tongue, pharynx and esophagus.

    3. Insecticides

    Nine percent of feline-related calls in 2010 were for cats exposed to household insecticides or inappropriately treated with a topical flea and tick medication meant for dogs. Exposure to household insecticides such as lawn and garden products, sprays, powders, or granules often occurs when a cat walks through a treated area; however, serious poisoning is rare. More concerning is exposure to concentrated topical flea and tick medications meant for dogs. Dog-specific insecticides containing pyrethrins or pyrethroids are highly toxic to cats. Poisoning occurs when pet owners apply such products directly to cats or cats lick these medications off dogs that live with them. Severe drooling, tremors and life-threatening seizures can occur. Always read labels carefully before using any kind of insecticide and ask your veterinarian about appropriate topical flea and tick medications for your cat.

    4. Household Cleaners

    Exposure to household cleaners accounted for approximately six percent of feline-related calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2010. Many cat owners don’t realize that some common household cleaners like kitchen and bath surface cleaners, carpet cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners can be toxic to cats. Symptoms can include profuse drooling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and even organ damage. After cleaning your home, make sure all excess liquid or residue is wiped up or eliminated, and stow the products out of your cat’s reach as soon as possible. Only allow your cat back into the cleaned areas after the products have completely dried.

    5. Other Toxins

    The remainder of feline-related calls during 2010 involved less obvious toxins, such as glow sticks and liquid potpourri. Glow sticks and jewelry contain a very bitter tasting liquid called dibutyl phthalate. While rarely deadly, just one bite into these items can cause your cat to drool profusely. Most of these exposures can be managed at home. Offer (but do not force) your cat chicken broth or canned tuna (in water, not oil) to help to remove the bitter taste from the mouth. Remove the glow sticks and clean up any remaining liquid to prevent re-exposure to cats, who may continue to groom it off their fur. A bath may be in order to remove any “glowing” liquid from his or her skin. If you see signs of redness to the eyes, squinting, continued drooling, or not eating, a trip to the veterinarian may be necessary.

    Keep your feline friends safe by protecting them from these toxins in 2011. If, however, you think a pet may have ingested something harmful, take action immediately. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

    About Pet Poison Helpline

    Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs

    Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are single use packages of detergent shaped into balls or rectangles shapes commonly referred to as “pods”. The detergent is packaged with an outer wrapper that is easily dissolved by water. The laundry detergent pods come in round and rectangular shapes and attractive colors that attract dogs and appear as toys. Some dogs will play with, bat, chase, as well as bite in to or ingest these “pods”.

    Pets have a long history of exposure to various soaps and detergents but the potential for toxicity has increased with the development of washer-friendly “soap pod” packaging.

    This new packaging is convenient and cleaner than traditional liquids or powders. However, the toy-like appearance of the pods can attract a pet's attention more easily than other detergents. In the course of playing, your dog may ingest some or all of the soap as well as the wrapper.

    According to the Pet Product Hotline – signs can be severe because they pods are highly concentrated and pressurized. When the pod is punctured, the pressure can cause product to forcefully enter the pets mouth which can be ingested or aspirated (inhaled) in to the lungs. It is also possible for ingestion of a pod to cause ulcerations in the stomach.

    Symptoms of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity:

    Chemical oral burns may not show up immediately. It may be several hours before you notice any of the following symptoms:

    According to the Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), severe clinical signs were associated with dogs exposed to the detergent pods. PPH data showed that 72.19% of pets developed clinical signs including vomiting, cough, lethargy, and trouble breathing.

    • Vomiting
    • Cough
    • Lethargy
    • Trouble breathing
    • Wheezing
    • Lack of interest in eating
    • Drooling
    • Excessive swallowing
    • Chemical burns to the tongue can cause a whitening of the surface skin tissue.

    Diagnosis of Detergent Pod Toxicity in Dogs

    The determination of a toxicity diagnosis is most often based on the history of ingestion of a detergent pod. Some pet owners may not witness ingestion but see or smell detergent in the vomit.

    Treatment of Detergent Pod in Dogs

    The treatment for soap or detergent ingestion depends on the type of chemicals ingested and how much of the mouth, esophagus and stomach are involved. There is no specific antidote. The primary treatment is to dilute the exposed site as much as possible.

    The following guidelines are useful for immediate care prior to veterinary attention:

    INGESTION

    • If soap or detergent has been ingested, the best initial treatment is to flush the mouth with large amounts of water to limit the damage.
    • DO NOT induce vomiting. Doing so may cause more harm as sensitive tissues are exposed to caustic or toxic chemicals again.
    • Call your veterinarian to determine the severity of the product ingested.

    EYE EXPOSURE

    • If the detergent gets in your pet's eyes, flush the area with water or sterile saline solution for 20 minutes. Seek veterinary attention as pets may have a corneal ulceration that needs specialized care. For more information – please read Corneal Ulceration in Dogs.

    DERMAL (SKIN) EXPOSURE

    • If detergent gets on your pet's skin, the best treatment is flushing or rinsing the area for 10 minutes with cool water.

    RESPIRATORY EXPOSURE

    • Mild symptoms may be treated with supportive care including limited activity to minimize respiratory effort.
    • Antibiotics may be indicated if a secondary infection is suspected.
    • Severe respiratory signs may require oxygen support, steroids to decrease inflammation, drugs to dilate (bronchodilators) the airways and oxygen therapy to support the respiratory system.

    ADDITIONAL VETERINARY CARE

    • If the burn is isolated to the mouth, a topical cleaning agent such as Gly-oxide® is used three times daily. This can help remove dead tissue and reduce the risk of infection.
    • Medications such as sucralfate (Carafate®) are used when the esophagus and stomach are affected. Sucralfate is a medication that coats the injured tissues and helps hasten recovery.
    • Some pets with severe chemical oral burns do not have the desire to eat. Maintaining nutrition is important in the healing process. Animals that will not eat on their own will require a temporary feeding tube. Most commonly, a tube is placed through the esophagus or stomach a slurry of food in then fed several times a day to ensure adequate calorie intake.
    • Pain control medication may be necessary.
    • Severe burns in the mouth or esophagus may require hydration with fluid therapy.
    • Most chemical oral burns heal within 1-2 weeks.

    Prevention of Laundry or Dishwasher Detergent Pod Toxicity

    Glue Toxicities in Dogs – An Expanding Problem

    Dogs Ingesting Polyurethane Glue is on the Rise

    Dogs Ingesting polyurethane glue is on the rise, in fact there has been a 309% Increase in expanding glue ingestion cases since 2002!

    Imagine this scenario: a young Boxer puppy chews open a tube of polyurethane glue, accidentally left out by his owners who were using it to do repairs on their home, and swallows some of its contents. The next morning to his owners’ surprise, the Boxer refuses his breakfast, and begins vomiting. The puppy’s abdomen appears swollen and seems tender to the touch. The bewildered owners take their pet to the local animal hospital, where they discover a large mass in the puppy’s stomach, and rush him into surgery to remove it. After the successful procedure, the shocked owners are told the mass was a softball-sized lump of expanded and solidified polyurethane glue.

    Unfortunately, this scenario has played out many times all across the country. Since 2005, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has managed more than 135 cases involving exposures to expanding adhesives containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate. More astounding is that this number represents an increase of more than 309% in expanding glue cases since 2002.

    “Any number of factors could be contributing to the increase, including the growing popularity of do-it-yourself projects or the increased use of this type of adhesive,” states Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice-President and board-certified veterinary toxicologist for the ASPCA APCC. “Whatever the reason, due to the rising number of cases, the importance of alerting companion animal owners to the dangers of expanding polyurethane glue products is clear.”

    As diphenylmethane diisocyanate may not always be listed on the label, pet owners should consider any expanding adhesive product a potential hazard, and should be especially careful in keeping such products out of the reach of their pets.

    “A dog consuming even small amounts of adhesive containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate can experience serious problems as the product expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach, forming a porous mass of glue,” says Dr. Hansen. “This mass can block the gastrointestinal tract and cause a life-threatening surgical emergency.”

    And as with any potentially harmful substance, should an accidental exposure occur, it is important to contact a local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for immediate assistance.

    Please Note: Due to a statistical calculation error, the percent increase in cases from 2002 to 2005 was found to be incorrect. The actual increase in cases from 2002 to 2005 is 309%. We regret the error, and any unintentional misrepresentation of information it may have caused.

    Ivermectin Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Canine Ivermectin Toxicity

    Ivermectin toxicity is seen when an overdose of the drug ivermectin is administered or consumed or in pets with increased sensitivity to the drug. Toxicity results in any number or combination of clinical signs ranging from mild to extremely severe, including death.

    Ivermectin is a commonly used parasite drug that causes neurologic damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis and death. Ivermectin has been used to prevent parasite infections, as with heartworm prevention, and to treat infections, as with ear mites.

    The most common causes of ivermectin toxicity are due to administration of excessive doses (10-20X the recommended dose) and breed sensitivity. Breed sensitivity to lower doses occurs in some dogs such as in the collie, Australian shepherd Shetland sheepdogs, Old English sheepdogs and English sheepdogs although not every “sensitive” animal in the breed is affected. Toxicity may also result when ivermectin is used in high does in conjunction with the drug Comfortis™ (spinosad).

    Toxicity can occur in cats, although it is uncommon.

    Very young dogs and dogs with a history of head trauma or other central nervous system diseases that affects the blood-brain barrier appear to have an increased risk for toxicosis.

    For dog breeds predisposed to the disease, an autosomal recessive trait (MDR-1) gene has been identified that causes a defect in the p-glycoprotein multidrug transporter to the blood brain barrier. This allows for the ivermectin pass into the brain at low dosages thus causing toxicity. This trait may also cause toxicity from other related drugs and should also be avoided or used in lower doses in susceptible breeds.

    Toxicity can occur from a one-time injection or from daily dosing.

    What to Watch For

    Signs of ivermectin toxicity in dogs can occur acute or subacutely. Acute clinical signs of toxicity often develop within 4 to 12 hours of drug exposure. Subacute signs will often occur with in 48 to 96 hours of exposure.

  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Recumbency (inability to rise)
  • Blindness
  • Nonresponsiveness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • Stupor
  • Slow respiratory rate
  • Coma or death
  • Seizure

    Diagnosis of Ivermectin Toxicity in Dogs

    Routine baseline diagnostics to include a complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis are generally within normal limits. Abnormalities in blood gas analysis may be seen in association with respiratory depression, which is slower and more shallow breathing.

    A temporary return to consciousness or alertness after the administration of physostigmine (a medication) supports, but does not confirm, a diagnosis of ivermectin toxicity.

    Ivermectin sensitivity testing (the presence MDR-1 mutant gene) is available at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. They use a cheek brush sample for analysis. For more information, call their lab at 509-335-3745 or see their website at http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-VCPL/. Test kits can be ordered online directly through the university.

    Treatment of Ivermectin Toxicity in Dogs

    Treatment is largely supportive and symptomatic, as there are no specific reversal agents available to treat ivermectin toxicity. However, if an accidental exposure was recent (with 4 to 6 hours), induction of vomiting may be recommended, gastric lavage and activated charcoal to minimize drug absorption.

    General care may include:

  • Intravenous fluid and supplemental electrolyte therapy.
  • Nutritional support via intravenous feeding or through a feeding tube.
  • Appropriate bedding, frequent turning, physical therapy and lubricants for the eyes for the recumbent patients. Heat support or fans may be used to support high or low body temperatures. Urinary catheters may be placed for patients that are recumbent.
  • Mechanical ventilation (respirator) for the patients who have respiratory depression.
  • Treatment of seizures using medications such as diazepam or propofol.
  • Prognosis

    Prognosis depends on the severity of the clinical signs and your dogs individual response to treatment. Some dogs may require days to weeks of supportive care.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Follow your veterinarian’s directions when administering products containing ivermectin. If you have a susceptible dog breed, consider having the Ivermectin Sensitivity Testing complete (see information above).

    Use caution if administering ivermectin to susceptible breeds.

    In dogs with MDR 1 gene mutation, the following drugs should be avoided or used with caution:

  • Ivermectin
  • Selamectin
  • Milbemycin
  • Moxidectin
  • Loperamide
  • Acepromazine
  • Butorphanol
  • Vincristine
  • Vinblastine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Carprofen (Rimadyl, Novox, Quellin) Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Carprofen Toxicity in Dogs

    Carprofen toxicity describes the symptoms of poisoning associated with the administration of Carprofen (commonly known also by the names of Rimadyl®, Novox and Quellin), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication used for the treatment of arthritis. These drugs suppress inflammation and pain by inhibiting synthesis of the class of compounds called prostaglandins. Rimadyl® toxicity can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidneys.

    Below we will use the name carprofen and Rimadyl interchangeable. Rimadyl is the most common name brand of carprofen on the market. 

    Carprofen toxicity in dogs generally occurs as the result of one of the following:

  • Accidental ingestion of excessive quantities of the drug
  • Administration of the incorrect dose of medication by the owner (overdose)
  • Idiosyncratic reaction – the pet is unusually susceptible to the side effects of the drug and the reaction is unrelated to dose. The correct dose is administered but the pet develops signs consistent with toxicity. Idiosyncratic reactions usually cause damage to the liver specifically but can also affect the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. These reactions may occur after days to months of Rimadyl® administration.
  • What to Watch For

    Signs of carprofen toxicity in dogs may include: 

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, melena (black, tarry stools), abdominal pain and ulceration of the stomach.
  • Damage to the kidneys may cause signs of acute kidney failure such as increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and dilute urine (lighter in color).
  • Symptoms associated with damage to the liver include jaundiced skin, gums, inside of ears, and sclera (whites of the eyes) as well as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy.
  • Diagnosis of Carprofen Toxicity in Dogs

    A history of Rimadyl® administration or accidental ingestion of an inappropriately high dose of Rimadyl® is helpful to your veterinarian in determining the cause of your dog’s illness. In addition to obtaining a complete history and performing a thorough physical examination, your veterinarian will likely perform the following tests:

  • A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test performed to check the pet’s white blood cell count and red blood cell count. The white blood cell count may be slightly elevated with Rimadyl® toxicity. The red blood cell count may be decreased due to blood loss associated with a bleeding ulcer in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • A biochemistry profile is a blood test that is performed to measure the liver enzyme levels, which are elevated if the liver is damaged. Additionally, this test measures kidney values such as the creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), which are elevated if acute kidney failure is present. Your veterinarian will likely repeat this test during the pet’s treatment to ensure that the values are decreasing, indicating recovery from the toxicity.
  • A urinalysis is done to assess the kidney’s ability to concentrate urine. Animals with acute kidney failure typically exhibit dilute urine due to the inability of the kidneys to concentrate the urine. The urine is also evaluated for the presence of casts, which, if present, indicate that a region of the kidneys called the tubules has been damaged. Tubule damage is consistent with Rimadyl® toxicity.
  • A urine culture and sensitivity to rule out a bacterial infection in the urine.
  • An abdominal ultrasound is performed to evaluate the kidneys and the liver. An ultrasound-guided biopsy of the liver or kidneys may be necessary to determine the extent of damage to these organs or to confirm that Rimadyl® is the cause of the damage.
  • Treatment of Carprofen Toxicity in Dogs

    Hospitalization is necessary to provide definitive treatment and may require two to five days. Other treatments for dogs may include:

  • Induction of vomiting followed by gastric lavage (pumping the stomach) to remove undigested pills if the pet is known to have accidentally ingested an excessive quantity of pills within the preceding four hours. These steps are not indicated in cases of Rimadyl® toxicity due to chronic Rimadyl® administration or in the case of idiosyncratic reactions.
  • Administration of activated charcoal to prevent absorption of Rimadyl® from the stomach. Charcoal is not administered in cases of Rimadyl® toxicity due to chronic Rimadyl® administration or in the case of idiosyncratic reactions.
  • Placement of an intravenous catheter for administration of intravenous fluids and other medications. Intravenous fluids are administered at high rates (diuresis) to rehydrate pets that are dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and to treat or prevent kidney failure.
  • Administration of antacid medication such as sucralfate (Carafate®), famotidine (Pepcid AC®), or cimetidine (Tagamet®) to prevent or treat ulceration of the stomach.
  • Administration of anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medication such as metoclopramide (Reglan®) or chlorpromazine (Thorazine®).
  • 20 Common House Plants: Are They Dangerous to Your Dog?

    Toxicity of 20 Common House Plants to Dogs

    House plants are popular additions to many rooms. Usually, plants and dogs live together harmoniously, although some curious pets often venture to take a little taste. Listed below are 20 of the most popular houseplants and their levels of toxicity.

  • Philodendron. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Boston Fern. Non-toxic
  • African Violet. Non-toxic
  • Ficus. Mildly toxic. Contact with the plant can result in skin irritation. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Mother-in-Laws Tongue (Snake Plant). Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Schefflera. Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Croton. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Jade. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, depression and staggering.
  • Aloe Vera. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite or muscle tremors.
  • Dieffenbachia. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Poinsettia. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur. Generally over-rated as a toxic plant. Large amounts of the plant need to be ingested for even mild toxic signs to develop.
  • Pothos. Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Corn Plant (Draceana). Mildly toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, drooling and staggering.
  • Spider Plant. Non-toxic. Do not confuse spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) with the toxic spider lily (Crinum species or Hymenocallis species).
  • Ivy. Moderately toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, breathing difficulty, fever or muscle weakness.
  • Norfolk Pine. Moderately toxic. Chewing or ingestion can result in vomiting, depression, pale gums and low body temperature.
  • Palm (Neanthebella). Non-toxic.
  • Chinese Evergreen (Algaonema). Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may occur.
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Antherium. Mildly toxic. Chewing on or ingesting can result in irritation of the mouth and throat. Drooling and vomiting may also occur.
  • Ecstasy (MDMA) Toxicity in Dogs

    Overview of Ecstasy (MDMA) Toxicity in Dogs

    Ecstasy is becoming one of the new fashionable illicit drugs in pop culture. Unfortunately, as the popularity of drugs grows, so does the incidence of dog exposure. If not stored away safely, or better yet avoided, your dog may ingest some of these drugs and may become seriously ill. When ingested in high enough quantities and when medical treatment is delayed or withheld, pets often die of ecstasy ingestion.

    Ecstasy, also known by various street names such as XTC, Adam, MDA, is chemically related to other amphetamines. The chemical name is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Amphetamines, including MDMA, stimulate the central nervous system.

    After ingestion, signs of toxicity generally develop within one to two hours and last longer in dogs than in humans due to the animal’s inability to metabolize the drug.

    What to Watch For

    Signs of ecstasy (MDMA) toxicity in dogs may include:

    • Hyperactivity
    • Restlessness
    • Drooling
    • Tremors
    • Staggering
    • Seizures.
    • If no treatment is given, coma and death ensue

    Diagnosis of Ecstasy (MDMA) Toxicity in Dogs

    Amphetamine products can be detected in the blood, urine and saliva, but these tests may be cost-prohibitive for some people. Typically, diagnosis is made on a history of exposure to MDMA and characteristic physical exam findings of hyperactivity, increased heart rate, elevated temperature and increased blood pressure.

    Your veterinarian may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile to rule out other causes of illness and make sure there has not been any organ damage.

    Treatment of Ecstasy (MDMA) Toxicity in Dogs

    There is no specific antidote to MDMA toxicity. Treatment is supportive and aimed at helping the body recover from the toxicity and treat the problems the drug causes. Expect your veterinarian to recommend hospitalization with intravenous fluids.

    If ingestion was witnessed, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting in an attempt to remove some of the drug. Once at the veterinary hospital, activated charcoal may be given to bind the drug and prevent further absorption in the stomach.

    Animals developing seizures will need to receive diazepam or phenobarbitol for seizure control. Sometimes, chlorpromazine is used to reduce central nervous system excitation. In some instances, acepromazine may be used to treat the nervous system effects.

    Intravenous fluids are an important part of treatment. This treatment will maintain blood flow to the kidneys and help speed elimination of the drug.

    Prognosis of MDMA toxicity depends on the amount of drug ingested, severity of clinical signs and the amount of time between ingestion and veterinary care. Those pets ingesting large amounts and not receiving immediate medical care have a poor chance of recovery. Death occurs due to uncontrolled seizures, excessive body temperature, kidney failure and heart rhythm irregularities.

    Home Care and Prevention

    There is no home care for MDMA toxicity. Do not delay treatment. Few veterinarians care about the illegal aspect of the drug. Their primary purpose is to treat the dog. Do not avoid or hesitate to contact your veterinarian and be honest about exposure to the drug. By withholding information due to a misplaced fear of criminal charges, your dog’s diagnosis and appropriate treatment will be delayed.

     

    Detergents and Soap Toxicity in Dogs

     

    Overview of Toxicity of Detergents and Soap in Dogs

    Dogs can get into all kinds of potentially toxic household items including soaps and detergents. In the past soap and detergent toxicity (or poisoning) in dogs was relatively uncommon as the taste is generally unappealing. However, the risks and number of affected animals have soared with the development of washer-friendly “soap pod” packaging.

    Soap pods are single-use packages of laundry or dishwasher detergent designed for convenience and ease of use. They are typically rectangles or balls of pressed detergent (sometimes with a liquid component) surrounded by a water-soluble wrapper.

    This new packaging is convenient and cleaner than traditional liquids or powders. However, the toy like appearance of the pods can attract a pet’s attention more easily than other detergents. In the course of playing, your dog may ingest some or all of the soap as well as the wrapper.

    Generally speaking, the majority of soaps and detergents are nontoxic. As with any non-food item, you can expect that your dog may experience some vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea after exposure. However, different types of soap may be more or less toxic than the next. The most common forms are soaps, anionic detergents, cationic detergents, and non-ionic detergents. The average home typically contains at least one of each type at any time.

    Types of soap dogs may ingest:

    • Soaps: These include laundry and bar soaps. True soaps are usually not toxic to dogs. Ingestion frequently causes vomiting and/or diarrhea; homemade soaps may cause burns to the mouth and/or esophagus.
    • Non-ionic detergents: This category includes dish-washing detergents, shampoos, and some laundry detergents. This group of detergents can be mildly irritating to sensitive oral and respiratory tissues but are less harmful than cationic and anionic detergents.
    • Anionic detergents: Typical examples include laundry detergents, dish soaps, shampoos, and electric dish-washing detergents. These formulas can be irritating and cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Some stronger versions also contain chemicals that can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus and result in a lack of appetite and abdominal pain. Chemical burns to the mouth and esophagus may also result.
    • Cationic detergents: Fabric softeners, sanitizers, disinfectants, and rust inhibitors in petroleum products fall into this category. These are the most hazardous group of cleaners to dog as they can cause the most damage to the mucous membranes (see more below). Cationic detergents can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, reluctance to eat, drooling, mouth pain, depression, collapse, and seizures. Many of the signs are secondary to ulceration and chemicals burns to the mouth, esophagus and/or stomach.

    As mentioned above, some detergents cause a chemical burn. These physical reactions are the result of a pet ingesting or licking a caustic or corrosive chemical such as bleach or disinfectant. The burns are usually isolated to the tongue and upper esophagus; however, detergent pods can cause irritation to the stomach if they are swallowed whole and disintegrate in the stomach.

    Chemical oral burns may not show up immediately. It may be several hours before you notice any of the following symptoms:

    • lack of interest in eating
    • drooling
    • swollen tongue
    • excessive swallowing
    • pawing at mouth
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea

    Diagnosis of Detergents & Soap Toxicity in Dogs

    The determination of a toxicity diagnosis is most often based on the history of ingestion of a soap or detergent. It may also be based on characteristic changes on the surface of the tongue and a high suspicion of chemical oral burn. There are no specific blood tests or other diagnostics used to identify a chemical burn, although in severe cases sedation and endoscopy may be required to determine the extent of the damage.

    Chemical burns on the tongue usually cause a whitening of the surface skin tissue. The edges of the tongue may become red and raw. The white surface eventually sloughs off, leaving the surface of the tongue raw and the exposed tissue visible.

    Further damage can be assessed with the use of an endoscope, a thin flexible tube which is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach. The endoscope can help visualize internal surfaces of the digestive system without surgery. The extent of the burn can then be determined and the vet can decide appropriate treatment.

    Treatment of Detergents & Soap Toxicity in Dogs

    The treatment for soap or detergent ingestion depends on the type of chemicals ingested and how much of the mouth, esophagus and stomach are involved. There is no specific antidote. The following guidelines are useful for immediate care prior to veterinary attention:

    INGESTION

    • If soap or detergent has been ingested, the best initial treatment is to flush the mouth with large amounts of water to limit the damage. It is important to do this as soon as possible after ingestion; frequently the damage has already been done by the time the pet is brought to the veterinarian.
    • DO NOT induce vomiting. Doing so may cause more harm as sensitive tissues are exposed to caustic or toxic chemicals again. If the product causes a burn when ingested, making a dog vomit can cause additional burning as it is vomited back up.
    • Call your veterinarian to determine the severity of the product ingested.
    • Seek veterinary attention if required.

    DERMAL EXPOSURE

    • If detergent gets on your pet’s skin, the best treatment is flushing or rinsing the area for 10 minutes with cool water.

    EYE EXPOSURE

    • If the detergent gets in your pet’s eyes, flush the area with water or sterile saline solution for 20 minutes. Seek veterinary attention as pets may have a corneal ulceration which needs specialized care.

    ADDITIONAL VETERINARY CARE

    • If the burn is isolated to the mouth, a topical cleaning agent such as Gly-oxide® is used three times daily. This can help remove dead tissue and reduce the risk of infection.
    • Medications such as sucralfate (Carafate®) are used when the esophagus and stomach are affected. Sucralfate is a medication that coats the injured tissues and helps hasten recovery.
    • Some pets with severe chemical oral burns do not have the desire to eat. Maintaining nutrition is important in the healing process. Animals that will not eat on their own will require a temporary feeding tube. Most commonly, a tube is placed through the esophagus or stomach a slurry of food in then fed several times a day to ensure adequate calorie intake.
    • Pain control medication may be necessary.
    • Severe burns in the mouth or esophagus may require hydration with fluid therapy.
    • Most chemical oral burns heal within 1-2 weeks.

    Prevention

    It is crucial to keep all chemicals safely stored away from inquisitive pets. Do not assume that a dog will not ingest something because it has a bad taste. Do not leave household cleaners unattended near your dog and take particular care to store harmful chemicals such as cleaners first when putting away groceries.