Pet Poisons

by Nancy Kay, DVM

The telephone call I hope you never have to make is to a pet poison control center. If the situation does arise, however, I hope you will have the appropriate contact information close at hand.

Two poison control organizations that I strongly recommend, and which are available to you 24/7 are the Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) and the Pet Poison Helpline (1-800-213-6680). If uncertain if your pet has ingested or been exposed to something that is toxic, call one of these organizations right away. You will either be fully reassured or instructed on what course of action to take.

The Pet Poison Helpline recently released their "top ten list" of toxicities based on calls received during 2011. They are ranked below in order of frequency:

Top Ten Toxins Reported in 2011 Helpline Calls
  1. Foods- specifically chocolate, xylitol, grapes, and raisins.
  2. Insecticides- sprays, bait stations, and spot on flea and tick treatments.
  3. Rodenticides (mouse and rat poisons). By the way, rodenticides pose the potential for relay toxicity- pets can be poisoned by eating rodents that have died from the toxin.
  4. Human nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
  5. Household cleaning products (all the more reason I don't like to clean- could be harmful for my pets!).
  6. Antidepressant drugs prescribed for people (Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Effexor).
  7. Fertilizers including bone meal, blood meal, and iron based products.
  8. Acetaminophen which is the active ingredient in Tylenol and many over the counter cough and cold remedies.
  9. Amphetamine based human drugs including Adderall and Concerta.
  10. Veterinary nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications (particularly those that are in tasty chewable tablet form) including Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Previcox.
Just for fun, I will provide you with two other top ten lists created by the Pet Poison Helpline.

Top Ten Breeds Involved in 2011 Helpline Calls
  1. Mixed breeds
  2. Labrador Retrievers (Why am I not surprised!)
  3. Golden Retrievers
  4. Chihuahuas
  5. Yorkshire Terriers
  6. Dachshunds
  7. ShihTzus
  8. Boxers
  9. Beagles
  10. German Shepherds

Top Ten Dog Names Involved in 2011 Helpline Calls
  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Max
  4. Molly
  5. Daisy
  6. Bailey
  7. Charlie
  8. Lily
  9. Maggie
  10. Sadie and Buddy were tied for tenth place!

Have you ever had to call a poison control center for your pet? If so, please tell us about your experience.

Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award

Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
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