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What Should I Do If My Pet Ingests Something Toxic?

By August 10, 2017 No Comments

So…my kitty friend Clint here at the clinic got in trouble last week because he got in the garbage can and ate some cherry pits, which can be harmful because they contain cyanide, and can potentially also cause an intestinal blockage.

Fortunately he is doing fine! But I thought it would be a good idea to mention some important things when it comes to toxic ingestions for pets:

  1. Inducing vomiting within 2 hours of ingestion can be helpful in some, but not all, poison ingestions. There are certain poisons, such as caustic household cleansers, batteries, motor oil, detergents, and antidepressants, which cause even more problems when vomiting is induced. At home, vomiting can be induced with a little hydrogen peroxide given orally in most cases. However, you should always call your vet to be sure this is safe.
  2. Decontamination may be needed for some toxins. In some cases this involves administration of activated charcoal orally to help bind and pass the toxin through the gut. In other cases, gastric lavage (stomach pumping) must be done, which requires anesthesia.
  3. Specific treatment may be required as antidotal therapy. For certain poisonings, your pet may only experience mild symptoms like transient vomiting or diarrhea. For others, life-threatening consequences can develop and these pets need to be hospitalized and treated specifically to rid the body of the poison and block the toxic effects.

It’s important to ALWAYS call a veterinarian when your pet has ingested something that you’re not sure is poisonous. If you can’t reach a veterinarian, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435. A fee is charged for professional consultation with a veterinary toxicologist.

Most importantly – beware of the things that are around your home that can be toxic to your pet – and do your best to decontaminate by keeping potential poisons in locked up areas or stored out of reach of pets.