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The top 10 toxins that poison pets

The top 10 toxins that poison pets

by SUSAN WYATT / The Pet Dish

Bio

KING5.com

Posted on March 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reports that in 2013, they handled nearly 180,000 cases about pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances. Topping the list for the sixth year in a row are prescription human medications. Nearly 20 percent of all calls were from owners whose pets got into medicines intended for human use.

Here are the top 10 toxins of 2013 ranked in order of call volume:
 
1. Prescription Human Medications
The APCC handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Many of these exposures were due to people dropping their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.

2. Insecticides
Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals. While 15.7% of all calls to the APCC are about insecticides, more than half of the calls involving cats pertain to felines exposed to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
Over-the-counter human products accounted for 14.7% of calls to APCC in 2013. This group contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements). Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.

4. Household Products
There were nearly 17,000 calls to the APCC about household products in 2013. Household toxins can range from fire logs to cleaning products. Some items can be corrosive, while other can cause obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract requiring surgical intervention.

5. People Food
Human foods are especially appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions/garlic, grapes/raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals.

6. Veterinary Products and Medications
Veterinary products slid down two spots this year. Both OTC and prescription veterinary products are included in this group. Flavored tablets make it easy to give your pet pain or joint medication, but it also makes it more likely for them to ingest the entire bottle if given the chance.

7. Chocolate
Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (we received an average of 26 calls a day last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.

8. Rodenticides
When putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Approximately 5.5% of calls to the APCC in 2013 were related to baits. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or seizures.

9. Plants
More than 9,000 cases in 2013 were pet parents calling about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Please see our list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information.

10. Lawn and Garden Products
Fertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, so it is not surprising that we get many calls (over 5,000 in 2013) on lawn and garden items.

Trupanion list of toxins

Trupanion pet insurance also looked into its pet database to compile a list of 8 common substances most toxic to dogs that are very close to home:

• Caffeine—Found in chocolate and certain beverages, ingestion of this substance leads to heart palpitations, rapid breathing, and tremors.
• Xylitol—Found in chewing gum and other artificially sweetened products, this sweetener can lead to a drop in blood sugar and eventually affects the liver and kidneys.
• Raisins and Grapes—Commonly found in a kitchen, this fruit contains a substance that leads to kidney failure.
• Sago Palm—Usually kept in bonsai form, ingestion of this plant can lead to liver failure.
• Medications—From painkillers to antidepressants, human medications can cause a number of problems for pets.
• Household Cleaners—Used throughout the home, these substances have a variety of harmful affects on the body, especially when ingested.
• Antifreeze— Commonly used in the winter, this preventative is sweet, appetizing, and toxic to pets, and ingestion can lead to kidney failure.
• Rodenticide— Used to rid the home of pests, this poison affects the nervous system of pets, leading to paralysis, muscle tremors, and seizures.

In addition, Trupanion looked into its pet database to compile a list of 5 common substances toxic to cats that are found very close to home:

• Lilies—A common staple in the garden, and one of the most harmful plants to cats, the ingestion of even a small amount of this plant leads to kidney failure.
• Caffeine—Found in chocolate and certain beverages, ingestion of this substance leads to heart palpitations, rapid breathing, and tremors.
• Medications—From painkillers to antidepressants, human medications can cause a number of problems for pets.
• Yeast dough—Commonly found in kitchens, yeast dough contains high amounts of ethanol, which can have a very adverse effect when ingested.
• Household Cleaners—Used throughout the home, these substances have a variety of harmful effects on the body, especially when ingested.
 
If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

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