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common pet poisons

Here's a list of some of the most common poisons we see when pets come in to the clinic!!


Chocolate:  This is probably the most common poison that we have to deal with.  Dogs love chocolate.  But chocolate does not love dogs!  Chocolate contains powerful stimulants that do not have a big affect on humans, but have a massive affect on dogs.  Even a small amount of dark chocolate can be enough to cause vomitting, diarrhoea, seizures and even death in dogs.


Lilies:  These are as deadly as they are beautiful.  Lily flowers contain toxins which can cause fatal kidney failure.  Even a small amount of the toxin can be fatal.   All parts of the plant and flower are toxic, but most commonly, we see problems in cats who chew the leaves or lick off pollen that has got onto their fur.  We would strongly recommend not to have lilies in the house if you have pets.


Grapes:  Grapes are a funny one. We know that many dogs appear to eat grapes with no problems, however, there are many reports of kidney failure (sometimes fatal), occurring in dogs that have eaten grapes.  We currently think that, being a natural fruit, some grapes contain the toxin, when other grapes do not.  It is impossible to know which grapes are safe, so they should never be fed to dogs.  Even small amounts of affected grapes can cause fatalities (there is a report of a dog that died after eating only 2 affected grapes).


Anti-freeze (Ethylene Glycol): This is an extremely potent poison that is often used to prevent some of the fluids in cars to stop them freezing in the winter.  We most commonly see it affecting cats who only need to walk in a small puddle of it to absorb a fatal dose through their skin.  It can cause many problems in the body and is very commonly fatal.  Often the first signs are nausea and vomiting which progresses to wobbliness, a drunken appearance when walking and quietness.


Onions: All vegetables and plants in the onion family (Alliums - e.g. leeks, onions, garlic, chives, spring onions etc.) have the potential to be toxic to the blood.  In  fact even if only a small amount is eaten by a dog or cat, there will usually be a measurable affect on the blood cells, causing some of the red blood cells to be damaged so that they cannot carry oxygen (as they are supposed to).  In larger amounts, the breakdown of red blood cells can be severe and fatal.  It is very difficult to know how much can be eaten without causing significant damage.  Therefore, we should make sure to give none at all.


There are lots of other poisons lurking about at home e.g. Xylitol, alcohol, caffeine, avocados, some types of mushrooms.  So unless you know that it is safe to give, better to be safe than sorry.  Of course, if you are ever worried about anything that your pet might have eaten, call us straight away, we will be glad to help.

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