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Toxins and Pets in Saint Cloud

v-20Dr. Nancy Altena of St. Cloud MN discusses toxicities seen at her veterinary hospital.

Many people are familiar with certain toxicities in dogs and cats. Well known toxicities include rat or mouse poison, chocolate and antifreeze. However, new toxicities or less known toxicities have come to the fore front. Here are some other things to keep your pets away from:

Cocoa bean hulls (mulch) – just like chocolate this may cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle contractions, increased drinking, bloating, restlessness, incoordination, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, high body temperature, seizures and death.
Mycotoxins – found in moldy food (especially dairy foods, grains and nuts) – symptoms include varying degrees of muscle tremors or seizures that can last for hours or days and liver toxicity. One more reason to keep your dog out of the garbage and out of the compost!
Xylitol – this ingredient is found in some sugar free candies and gums – animals experience vomiting, lethargy, bleeding in the stomach and intestinal tract, LOW blood sugar, liver cell death that can be fatal EVEN with a very small amount.

Desiccants – these are the little silica gel packets found in shoe boxes, computer packaging, brief cases, medications etc. – may cause mild stomach upset if a small amount is ingested, diarrhea or foreign body intestinal obstruction.

Pennies – US pennies minted since 1983 contain 99.2% zinc – when the stomach acid releases zinc from the pennies it is absorbed into the circulation causing vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, diarrhea, weakness, jaundice and low red blood cell counts (anemia). It can also lead to secondary kidney failure.

Bread dough – raw bread dough made with yeast expands rapidly in the warm environment of the stomach that can be so severe it can lead to difficulty breathing and poor blood flow; the release of alcohol results in weakness, depression, low temperature, coma and death.

Paintballs – dogs that ingest these tend to ingest a large number leading to water being moved from the body into the intestines resulting in concentration of the blood, high salt concentration in the blood, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and seizures.

Raisins and Grapes – The exact toxic mechanism of action is unknown – signs exhibited by dogs range from acute vomiting and loss of appetite to kidney failure.

Ibuprofen – there is a very narrow margin of safety in dogs, cats and ferrets and this is a frequent toxicosis reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding into the stomach or intestinal tract, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and liver toxicity.

We often treat our pets as members of our family. Just remember dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and other critters may be a part of our family but they are not “little people” when it comes to different foods, medications and supplements.

Just because it is safe for you, don’t assume it is safe for them!

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