Dr.’s Corner for Pets | What might poison your pet? | SierraSun.com

Dr.’s Corner for Pets | What might poison your pet?

This handsome guy is 8-year-old Dell, lounging about waiting for his forever home at the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe's incredibly cool cat area.
Courtesy photo |

According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, 180,000 cases of pet toxicities were reported in Urbana, Ill., alone.

About 20 percent of the reports were cases of human prescription and non-prescription medications. The following includes some of the more commonly reported toxins to keep away from your loved ones at home.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol): This medication is extremely toxic to cats because they lack the enzymes to properly break down the medication. Within hours of ingestion, signs can include vomiting, respiratory distress, depression and even death.

Lilies: Cats are known for chewing and eating plants. Unfortunately, plants in the lily family are extremely toxic to cats, causing acute kidney failure. All parts of the plants, including flowers, stems, leaves, and pollen, are considered toxic, and even small amounts can cause kidney damage.

Over the counter flea products: Some owners mistakenly assume flea products that are safe for dogs are also safe for cats. However, flea products containing permethrin are extremely toxic to cats. Signs include seizures, hyperthermia, and muscle twitching. Signs can appear within hours and ultimately cause death.


Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs): Dogs are much more sensitive to NSAIDs, and it is not recommended to give any over the counter medications to your dog without consulting your veterinarian. Dogs have been known to get into whole bottles of Advil (they love the candy coating). Signs can include vomiting and diarrhea, but more serious effects can include acute kidney and liver failure.

Xylitol: Xylitol can be found in many sugar-free products such as chewing gum. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, this additive can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and acute liver failure in dogs. Initial signs of toxicity may include vomiting or decreased energy.

Grapes and raisins: In recent veterinary reports, dogs have developed acute kidney damage after ingesting grapes and/or raisins.

Chocolate: Dogs are sensitive to the caffeine like ingredient, methylxanthines, found in chocolate. Higher concentrations are found in dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate. Signs in dogs can include increased agitation, anxiety and panting. More serious effects can include abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, and sudden death.

If you have suspected that your pet has ingested any toxin, you can call the ASPCA hotline at 1-888-426-4435 or your veterinarian.

For further information, please visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS lives in Truckee and works at the Doctor’s Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way #101, Truckee, CA 96161. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at http://www.doctorsofficeforpets.com or at 530-587-5144.

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