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Toxicology (Poisons)

Veterinary Toxicology - toxins, animal poisoning, adverse drug reactions.

Potential Pet Problems in my Home
Keeping potentially hazardous things out of my pet's reach would be easy if everything went according to plan and everyone listened to my warnings. Here are things to be on a lookout for on a daily basis at my house.

Top 8 Pet Picnic Poisons
One little potato chip isn’t going to hurt your dog or cat, but there are plenty of other human foods that can. With the help of Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVEC, veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline, here are some treats to avoid, all year round. Also, a list of safe foods that can be used as treats.

Case Report: Vitamin D Toxicity in A Dog
Pets getting into human medications in the home is one of the top causes of poisonings. This is a case report of Barley the Labrador who experienced a life-threatening toxicity of a vitamin D ointment.

Onion Toxicity in Dogs and Cats
The icky things dogs eat is a common topic on this site. Not all of the toxic foods are 'icky,' raisins and grapes, yeast dough, and as many people know, chocolate, all pose a risk to dogs. Here is another human food to add to the list: onions.

Halloween and Fall Safety
Fall is the time when the focus turns indoors. Is your home pet-proofed? Halloween is the first holiday of the winter holiday season, and with that brings additional holiday hazards. Here are some tips and ideas for keeping your pets safe through the fall and winter months.

Warm Weather Toxic Hazards
As the weather improves and people spend more time outside however, the possibility of pets being poisoned increases.

What are the clinical signs seen with antifreeze toxicity in pets?
Acute cases of antifreeze toxicity (when an animal consumes antifreeze) often present as if the animal is intoxicated with alcohol. This is an emergency situation, and life threatening within hours. Please see your veterinarian immediately. Success of treatment depends on quick treatment.

DEET Toxicity in a Cat
DEET is an effective bug repellent for humans, but not recommended for use on pets. At this time (2011), there are no DEET products labeled for use in pets. This toxicology case report details the clinical signs and treatment for a cat sprayed with DEET to protect from insect bites.

Quiz: Top 5 Human Drugs - Toxic to Pets Or Not?
Many of the calls received at Pet Poison Helpline are about pets who have consumed human medications. Sometimes the pets consume the medications on their own, and sometimes owners unknowingly give their pets human medications that are toxic to dogs and cats. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report, released in April...

Chocolate Toxicity

Chocolate toxicity is one of the number one concerns of pet lovers, even though there are other foods and household items that are much more toxic. Here are the top chocolate questions about pets eating chocolate.

Can Ivermectin-Based Heartworm Prevention Medicines Be Used in Collie Breeds?
Ivermectin is commonly used as a heartworm prevention medicine in dogs. However, some breeds of dog such as Collies and similar breeds can have a gene mutation known as MDR1. How safe is ivermectin for collies and similar breeds of dogs?

How Much Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs and Cats?
The answer to "how much chocolate is toxic" varies widely on the type of chocolate, size of dog or cat, and how much they have consumed. Here are some guidelines and calculators to see how much is too much for each situation.

Cats and Aspirin
Cats are not small dogs. Cats metabolize drugs such as aspirin very differently than dogs or humans. It is important to never give medications to your cat unless directed by your veterinarian; accidental toxicity and death are possible when medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen are given to cats. Find out why aspirin should not be given...

How is chocolate toxicity treated?

The Five Minute Consult Clinical Companion: Small Animal Toxicology

Iron Toxicity in Dogs and Cats
Iron toxicosis in pets (usually dogs) is most often seen after eating large quantities of vitamins and mineral supplements especially iron-heavy pre-natal vitamins. These tablets be sugar-coated, making them attractive to dogs. Other possibilities include disposable hand warmers and some types of fertilizers. Learn what signs are seen with iron...

Beware of Batteries
Batteries of all shapes and sizes are in many everyday objects. We know to keep batteries out of reach of pets, but what about the TV remote, cell phone, toys, or other small chewable items that require batteries? Batteries contain acidic or alkaline chemicals, heavy metals, and the lithium button batteries may even pass an electric current to...

Meet Justine A. Lee DVM DACVEC
Meet Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC Guest Author for About.com

Holiday Pets – Safety, Fun and Gifts for Your Pets Holidays
Help ensure that your pets are ready for the holidays. Shopping for pets and their people are just part of the preparations. Learn about keeping your pets safe during the holidays, holiday travel tips, gift ideas for pets, vets and your animal loving friends and family.  The About.com Pet Guides are here to help with a variety of topics on...

Ahna Brutlag DVM - Case Reports and Articles Index
Ahna Brutlag DVM is the Assistant Director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline and a Guest Author on the About.com Veterinary Medicine site. This page is an archive of her veterinary toxicology articles and case reports of emergency pet poisonings.

Case Report: Albuterol Toxicity in a Boxer
Guest author Ahna Brutlag DVM, Assistant Director of Veterinary Services at the Pet Poison Helpline, shares this case of a common poisoning hazard for pets; human medications. In this case report, learn about Rooney the curious Boxer and the dangers of albuterol inhalers for pets.

Poison Proof Your Home
Given the curious and unpredictable nature of our pets, poison proofing your home is important. Taking simple steps such as making sure the plants in your home are non-toxic or storing your medications in secure areas will significantly reduce the chance that your pet will come in contact with a toxic substance. Guest author Ahna Brutlag DVM...

Foods Toxic to Pets - Macadamia nuts are poisonous to pets
Macadamia nuts are toxic to pets, especially dogs. Like raisins and grapes (also toxic), the toxin and mechanism of action are not known at this...

Toxic Foods - Raisins
Raisins and grapes are very toxic to dogs and possibly cats. Some dogs love eating raisins and grapes and will seek them out. Pet owners have used even raisins as a "healthy" treat for their dogs. At this point in time, the toxic factor of raisins and grapes has not been identified. It is thought to be contained in the flesh, not the seed, of...

Foods Toxic to Pets - Yeast Bread Dough
Dough that has yeast in it poses a hazard to pets who consume it in large quantity. The risks are two-fold. The first risk is that the dough may rise after ingestion, causing intestinal obstruction. Secondly, the yeast can ferment sugars, creating a secondary problem of ethanol (alcohol) poisoning in the animal. Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A....

Top 5 most common calls to Pet Poison Helpline for the 2009 h…
I asked veterinary specialists Ahna Brutlag DVM and Justine A. Lee DVM DACVECC at Pet Poison Helpline what are the top 5 calls they receive questions about during the holidays. Here is their list of common pet household hazards that they have received calls about in 2009.

Pet Safety Tips Archive
Keeping our pets safe is a year-round job, with emphasis on holidays and special occasions. Pets chew up and eat things humans never would think of consuming. Sometimes we unknowingly give our pets human foods or medications that are deadly poison. We love taking our pets with us - across town or on a vacation - but caution is advised:...

Icky Things Pets Eat
This range of this topic is almost endless, as pets have (and will) eat almost anything. Sometimes it is the food we unknowingly give them - either recalled pet food, human foods that are toxic to pets, or medications intended for humans. Other times, they find rat bait, stray strings and socks or other household items that leave us scratching...

Nicotine Poisoning in Pets
It has been known for quite some time that second-hand cigarette smoke is dangerous to pets and people. Pets may also find discarded cigarette or cigar butts, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and chewing tobacco and give them a taste test. Especially curious puppies. All of these tobacco products contain nicotine, which can cause illness and even death in fairly small amounts. This quick tips is to…

Scorpions and Pets
A viewer who recently moved to Arizona asked about her pet cats and scorpions. What are the effects of a sting, and what should she do in the event of a scorpion sting? I can't classify this as a "frequently asked question" (FAQ) because this one was a first. I needed to do a little research first.

Adverse reactions - Has your pet experienced an adverse reaction to a…
Has your pet experienced an adverse reaction to a drug or topical medication/product? The first thing to do is call your vet as soon as possible. It is a good idea to write down any details you can remember - the time and method of administration, what signs were noted, and what time(s) those signs appeared. It is important to report these...

Gorilla Glue - Enticing hazard for pets
The popular home improvement glue, Gorilla Glue, is a polyurethane glue that expands and hardens when it cures. It needs water (or similar liquid) to cure. Veterinary Pet Insurance has seen an increase in claims related to pet ingestion of this class of clue (similar product: Elmer's Nano Glue) and this Quick Tip is to alert people to the...

Are Christmas Trees Poisonous To Cats and Dogs?
A viewer of this site asked: "Are Christmas trees poisonous to cats? My cat was chewing on the end of a branch last night and although she appears to be fine, I have had issues in the past with her eating plants and getting very sick." Learn more about Christmas tree hazards and pets in this FAQ.

Well-Intended Pet Owners Unknowingly Poisoning their Pets
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the number one insurance claim by far for poisonings in 2007 was owner-induced; classified as "drug reactions" (3,455 claims). Most of these drug reaction poisonings were caused by pet owners giving their pets drugs intended for human use, such as over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil....

Protect Your Pets From Easter Holiday and Springtime Toxins and Hazards
Ah, spring. It is nice to have a little color after a long winter. Easter and springtime decorations (and edibles) liven the scenery, but also pose a potential hazard to pets. Who knew that plastic Easter grass could be dangerous? Spring is a great time to take an inventory of potential pet hazards. It's better than the alternative of spending...

Poisonous Holiday Plants
Bright ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays and a dreary winter. Pet owners should be aware however, that many of these common plants are poisonous to pets. Gastrointestinal upset is the most common finding, but if enough plant material is ingested, seizures, coma or death is possible. Read this Quick Tip...

Candy and Food Gifts -- Prevent Pet Pilfering
Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to pets, and knowledgeable pet owners would never think of giving their dog an entire box of chocolates to enjoy (and likely become sick). This Quick Tip is a reminder for special occasions and holidays where gifts abound - think twice before leaving gifts and curious pets unattended.

Pet Food Recall Information & Timeline
This is the page to find information, news and a general timeline of the pet food recall events, as reported in the Veterinary Medicine blog since March 17, 2007.

Pet Food Recall -- Latest News Recap
The scope of the pet food recall continues to expand. Now consumers need to be aware of the growing number of human food recalls as well; namely pork and chicken meat known to be contaminated with melamine.

Pet Food Recall Extended to Human Foods
The distinction between the pet foods and human foods being recalled is starting to blur. News of contaminated pork was released late last week from a small, private hog farm in California. Now the FDA has issued warnings for pork in 6 states as well as chicken meat. This article is a collection of the leading headlines regarding the...

Pet Food Recall: Melamine Found in Tainted Food
Melamine is known to many people as a type of dinnerware, the hard plastic material used to make colorful plates and trays for picnics and camping. Now, with recent headlines detailing the pet food recall, the public has learned another thing about melamine -- it is toxic when eaten.

ASPCA Toxic Plant List
Find information about many common poisonous plants. This directory has photos for easy identification of the plant.

Common Household Poisons
The average home contains many possible poisons for pets and children. Properly storing and locking up hazardous items is the first step to preventing accidental poisonings. An additional thing to remember for pet owners is the ability of many pets to chew through child locking caps and "safe" containers.

Are grapes and raisins really poisonous to pets?
Originally thought to be an urban legend, it is now known that raisins and grapes are indeed toxic to dogs. The type of grape and the type of dog doesn't seem to matter, and the toxic amount may be a small serving to several ounces. Read this FAQ to learn what is known about this mystery toxin and to safeguard your pets from accidental posioning.

Common Sugar Substitute Xylitol Can Be Life-Threatening for Pets
Xylitol is a sugar-alcohol sweetener found in many sugar free candies, chewing gums, baked goods and other products. In humans, ingestion of large quantities of xylitol may have a mild laxtive effect. In dogs, ingestion of even small amounts of xylitol can have potentially life-threatening effects. Read this Quick Tip to keep your pet safe.

What should I do if I suspect a poisoning in my pet?
Poisons can be eaten, absorbed through the skin, and inhaled. Poisonings can mimic many things. Some poisons act immediately, some take days to appear, which can make diagnosis difficult. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, time is of the essence! Please call your veterinarian immediately to avoid further injury/damage to your pet. These tips will help your veterinarian help your pet as quick as possible.

Pet Poisoning Prevention Tips
Keep your pet safe by being aware of these common toxins around your house and yard. Pets are unpredictable - prevention is the key to a safe environment for pets (and children).

What Makes Chocolate Toxic To Pets, And What Are The Signs Seen With Toxicity?
Chocolate is a popular treat all year round. Care must be taken when animals are around, though. Chocolate can be toxic, and sometimes even fatal, for animals. Dogs are most commonly affected, due to their ability to find it and the common 'sweet tooth' they seem to have. It is important to remember that cats and other species are susceptible to...

Veterinary Q & A: Poisonings in Pets
Veterinary Q & A about poison and pets. Learn the hazards, how to recognize possible signs of poisoning, and what to do to help your pet as quickly as possible when you suspect a toxin ingestion.

Veterinary Q & A - Poisoning in Pets
How to recognize potential poisoning, what to do in an emergency, and how to poison-proof for your pet.

Chocolate Toxicity
From your About.com guide. Signs of toxicity, how to treat chocolate overdose.

Antifreeze and Other Winter Hazards
From your Guide. Protect your pet from winter hazards, including additional links to antifreeze toxicity information.

Febreze - Urban Myth?
David Emery, Urban Legends Guide at About.com, explores the information available on Febreze deodorizer.

Adverse Drug Experience Reporting
A branch of the FDA where both veterinarians and owners can report adverse drug reactions and product failures.

Meet Ahna Brutlag DVM
Meet Ahna Brutlag DVM Guest Author for About.com

Icky Things Pets Eat - Tell us the worst thing your pet has eaten
Icky Things Pets Eat - Tell us the worst thing your pet has eaten

Lily Toxicity in Cats and Dogs
Lilies are bold, beautiful, fragrant and... poisonous. Especially for cats. Lilies are popular choices for holiday bouquets and are the favorites of many gardeners. What makes lilies poisonous is unknown, but it is known that the toxin deadly. Cats and possibly dogs suffer from kidney failure after ingesting even tiny amounts of this plant and flower. Learn more about this family of flowering plants, and if you have cats in your household, it may just be better to admire this beauty from afar.

(National) Animal Poison Control Center
Advice on how to prevent poisoning, and a hotline to call if you suspect your pet has been poisoned.

Do dogs and cats get poison ivy?
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are found in various combinations in wooded areas throughout North America (except Alaska and Hawaii). All of these plants contain a resin oil that for some individuals is highly allergenic. This oil is absorbed rapidly through the skin, producing intensely itchy and blistered lesions in susceptible individuals. Do dogs and cats get poison ivy? Can they spread poison ivy to humans? Learn more about these plants and pets in this FAQ.

Chocolate Toxicity
Easy-to-follow chart for types / amount of chocolate, and dog's weight to determine toxic amounts. In pounds and kilograms.

Getting Rid Of Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac on Pets
Dogs and cats do not suffer the allergenic effects of poison ivy, sumac or oak like humans do, but they can transmit the oil of these plants to humans on their hair. This means that your pet can bring you poison ivy (and related) even though you haven't been in the woods. The oil responsible for the rashes and blisters that humans get is very hardy and long-lived. Here are some tips for getting rid of it on your pets.

Extension Toxicology Network
Five US universities working in a cooperative effort provide a searchable database for toxicology.

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac - 6 Things You Should Know
The questions of if pets can get poison ivy or if they can spread poison ivy (and related plants) to their human family are common. Here are 5 things you should know about poison ivy, oak and sumac and pets.

Poison Ivy - My Pet's Encounter With Poison Ivy
A common question on this site is if pets can "get" poison ivy. Not in the sense that humans do, with a intensely itchy, blister-filled rash like humans, but dogs and cats can transmit poison ivy, oak and sumac. This happens because the allergenic (toxic) part of these plants is an oil called urushiol and it is easily spread by fur, clothing and other surfaces. Has your pet helped spread poison ivy/oak/sumac to human family members? Please share your story and any poison ivy tips you may have.

Firework Toxicity
Firework and thunder noise phobias and anxieties may cause dogs and cats to tremble, drool and pace. In more serious cases, animals have been known...

Poisonous Plants
The plants and plant parts that are toxic, and what symptoms you can expect to find if the plant is eaten.

Zinc Toxicosis in Dogs and Cats from Eating Pennies and Other Zinc-Containing...
Zinc Toxicosis in Dogs and Cats from Eating Pennies and Other Zinc-Containing Items

Halloween Hazards and Pets - Keep Your Pet Safe
There are many pet hazards related to this October holiday -- some are well-known (i.e. the dangers of chocolate overindulgence), and some aren't. Learn what to be aware of to protect your pet and stay safe this year!

Halloween Costumes and Safety Concerns for Pets
The selection of Halloween costumes for pets gets bigger and better each year. There are definitely some cute and funny costumes, but I always wonder if they are safe - can any buttons or baubles be chewed off and swallowed? What about ribbons or stringy decorations? Cats are well known for suffering from "linear foreign bodies" - when the...

Should Pets Wear Clothes and Costumes?
Pet costumes are everywhere this year, and not just at Halloween. My first thought is always: if it is safe for the pet? Will they get tangled? Will they ingest all or part of the item? Is the piece constructed out of non-toxic material? Maybe I just worry too much, but here are some things to consider for the comfort and safety of your pet.

Canine Alopecia - Joey the Balding Dog
Guest author Richard Young DVM, DABVP, CCRT shares this interesting case report of Joey, a deaf terrier mix who was losing his hair. It was a very symmetrical pattern of baldness (alopecia) in an otherwise very healthy dog. Dr. Young was puzzled about this case, so he referred him to a veterinary dermatologist. What they found was not only...

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac and Pets

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac are common plants throughout the US. Reactions in humans range from none to severe. The questions of if pets can get poison ivy or if they can spread poison ivy (and related plants) to their human family are common. Here are resources and tips about poison ivy, oak and sumac and keeping pets and people safe.


Rat Poison - Signs and Treatment for Rodenticide Poisoning

Sago Palm - Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

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