• Dr. Lyana Buckwold

Pet Toxicity Prevention

In honor of Poison Prevention Week (March 19-25), this month we are focusing on toxins that your pet may be exposed around this time of year. If you at all suspect your pet may have ingested anything potentially hazardous, please call your veterinarian ASAP. For some substances, there is only a small period of time when your pet can be successfully treated.

Ethylene Glycol Toxicity:

Ethylene Glycol is potentially fatal to all mammals when ingested, but especially dogs and cats. It is the main ingredient of antifreeze and tastes very sweet. Once absorbed it rapidly starts to kill an animal’s kidneys and clogs the kidneys ability to filter urine. Early signs of ethylene glycol toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, wobbliness, muscle twitching, head tremors, falling, short and rapid eye ball movements, and increases in urination and drinking. These sings are typically seen in the first half an hour to twelve hours following ingestion. Later signs of indigestion may take up to three days to see. They include belly pain, decreased appetite, inability to urinate, seizures, coma, and death.

Fertilizer Toxicity:

Fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. This can irritate the skin and cause rashes or wounds on paws, and if ingested can cause intestinal blockages or pancreatitis, a very painful abdominal disease. In addition, some fertilizers contain metals (iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese, or molybdenum), herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides which can be toxic to pets. Signs of fertilizer and pesticide toxicity include drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, “muddy colored gums, seizures, and collapse.

The safest lawns for pets are those without fertilizers and pesticides. If you must use one, please read the manufacturer’s instructions, and keep your pets away during application of the fertilizer and during the watering of the lawn.

Easter Lilly Toxicity:

Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum) are toxic to cats and their kidneys. While we do not know what makes Easter Lilies toxic, we do know that eating as little as one leaf can cause kidney failure and even death in cats. Sign of toxicity can appear in as little as 2 hours. Early signs of toxicity include depression and vomiting. With time, the vomiting may decrease, but depression, decreased appetite and tremors may occur. Similar, cat-toxic plants include tiger lilies, rubrum or Japanese showy lilies, and certain day lilies, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Cats need to be treated quickly for Easter Lilly toxicities. If too much time elapses, the kidney damage may be irreversible.

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