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ABCs Guide to common cat poisonings, A-G

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We want to say thanks to the Pet Place Veterinarians for their lengthy article Your Guide to Common Cat Poisoning, the resource for this series of abridged articles on pet poisoning items that are toxic and can seriously harm cat health. Protect your pet and see if your home has any of these common poisons laying around where your pet can get to them.

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ABCs Guide to Cat Common Poisons- Be cat health aware.

The most frequent cases in veterinary emergency clinics is a pet poisoning. It's sad that nearly every day a cat who has eaten something toxic they shouldn't have eaten is rushed to the hospital for life-saving common poisons treatment.

It shouldn't be like this. A majority of the time pet owners don't even grasp that their homes have so many toxic things harmful to cat health. Be cat health aware.

The Pet Place Veterinarians have given us some important information about common poisons to help you protect your pet. This Fort Worth Cats Examiner article is the first in a series of articles that shares information about common poisons found in the average home. This Examiner ABCs series does not contain all of the information from the article, only some of the high points. Please take a look; it could save your cat's life.

Also be sure and watch the video on Plants That Are Toxic and Poisonous for Animals.. it has info on plants that are ok to grow inside around pets.

What to do first
Always be sure to keep all medications out of your cat's reach and keep trash cans covered.

There are literally hundreds of things your pet can gain access to. Some items are highly toxic and others are non-toxic. These ABCs articles are alphabetical subject guides to help you govern if a specific item is a common poisons problem and provide the ability to expand your access links to more in-depth material for cat health concerns.

The paramount thing to do, should you consider your pet may have experienced a poisioning or been in contact with or ingested a toxic item, is to check the label of the item you think your pet consumed. Read the information about toxicity. Frequently, but not every time, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to cat health and some manufacturers even discuss pet toxicity.

If there is an 800 number on the package – call them! It is also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

The Pet Place Veterinarians suggest:

General Information. There is not much you can do at home for most poisoning. Call or visit your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you think your pet has been poisoned. For some ingested poisons, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting before bringing the pet in for examination and treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic substance should never be done unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. For topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water with a mild dish soap can reduce further toxin absorption before the pet is examined and treated by a veterinarian.

Following is the first in a series of an abbreviated ABC listing of common cat poisoning item discussions. Please refer to the complete article source for an expanded version.

ABCs Guide to Common Cat Poisonings, A-G

Amitraz. Amitraz … insecticide used in … dog tick collars and topical solutions. Toxicity most often affects cats who have a dog tick collar placed on them but can also occur if a cat licks the tick collar on the dog. … symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of ingestion … begin with cat becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation … common. Without treatment, coma may result. …severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in death.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis …a type of poisoning … occurs after ingestion of antifreeze … containing ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the animal's body to several extremely toxic chemicals that are responsible for its potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol poisoning … nervous system abnormalities and severe kidney failure with almost complete cessation of urine output. … can be fatal if not treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8 hours). Cats are more susceptible to ethylene glycol poisoning than dogs (i.e. smaller amounts are required to cause poisoning). … minimum lethal dose for a cat is 1.5 milliliters of antifreeze per kilogram of body weight. … a teaspoonful can be lethal to a 7 pound cat.

Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) … poisoning occurs following ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Cats and young animals are more susceptible to the effects of aspirin than are dogs because they are unable to metabolize the drug as quickly. Aspirin interferes with platelets… responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases amount of time it takes blood to clot after cut. Spontaneous bleeding may occur causing pinpoint bruises in skin and gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. If accidental ingestion… remove remaining pills. Take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment.

Arsenic. Although a common poison in the days of Agatha Christie, arsenic is somewhat difficult to obtain and animal poisonings are rare. Usually, poisoning is due to the ingestion of very old insect traps. Since 1989, the use of arsenic in insect traps has diminished but still some out there. … lethal dose is 1 to 25 mg per kilogram of weight and poisoning signs include severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. If caught early, most pets are treated and recover.

Bathroom Cleaners, Bleach, Lysol and Other Corrosives. Household cleaners can cause very serious "chemical burns." … chemicals are ingested or licked causing a caustic or corrosive burn affecting tongue and upper esophagus. … immediately flush mouth with large amounts of water. . .helps reduce amount of chemical in the mouth and reduces damage. Chemical oral burns may not show up immediately. Call veterinarian for additional treatment. Common signs include: lack of appetite, drooling, pawing at mouth… excessive swallowing.

Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide … odorless, colorless gas … when absorbed into bloodstream, forms compound causes hypoxia (reduced oxygen supply) of the heart and brain. Pets can be exposed by automotive exhaust in a closed garage, faulty exhaust system, non-vented furnace, gas water heater, gas/kerosene space heater and/or smoke inhalation from a fire. Some pets predisposed to toxicity due to preexisting heart or lung disease.Toxicity symptoms include drowsiness, lethargy, weakness, incoordination, bright red color to the skin and gums, difficulty breathing, coma and/or abrupt death. Sometimes, chronic (low-grade, long-term) exposure causes exercise intolerance, changes in gait (walking), and disturbances of reflexes.

Carbamate Insecticides. Carbamates … type of insecticides to treat insects on crops and soils, prevent and treat flea infestations … used in ant and roach baits. Majority of toxicities are due to improper use of the chemical and when different types of insecticides are used. The dog formula should never be used on cats. Carbamates affect nerve-muscle junctions. Muscle function is impaired without normal nerve impulse through muscle. … Various signs seen if pet exposed to toxic levels of this insecticide since muscle tissue present in intestinal tract, heart and skeleton. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, muscles tremors, twitching, weakness and paralysis. Prompt veterinary care is required to survive a toxic exposure.

Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts but is rarely a problem in cats due to their more "discriminating" palate. … levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. … white chocolate has lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have highest concentration. However if enough is eaten and depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. … high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Stimulant effect apparent once toxic levels eaten. May notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, possibly excessive panting. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases.

Cocaine. … rapidly absorbed from stomach, nasal passages and lungs. Following exposure cocaine usually leaves system in four to six hours. Pets exposed to cocaine show signs of intermittent hyperactivity followed by profound lethargy. Some develop seizures. Treatment aimed at supporting body systems. Inducing vomiting not helpful as cocaine rapidly absorbed. Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and sedatives are typical treatments. Depending on the severity of illness, amount ingested and time elapsed before treatment, some pets exposed to cocaine do not survive.

Detergents and Soaps. Most are generally non-toxic. Can expect vomiting and small amount of diarrhea from eating a non-food item. Read container for information. If ingestion is spotted, flush mouth with large amounts of water.

Easter Lily. The Easter lily plant is highly toxic to cats. Chewing on just a few leaves can result in serious illness. Cats first stop eating, begin vomiting and progress to lethargy and coma. Unknown toxic substance in Easter lily ultimately causes kidney failure. Untreated cats often do not survive. Treated early, kidney failure may be reversible, cat can do well if hospitalized on intravenous fluids for 1 to 2 days.

Estrogen Toxicity. … condition in which group of estrogen compounds (female hormones), either produced in excess within body or administered from outside, turn out to be poisonous to the body. Estrogen toxicity is seen most commonly in reproductive-age females and aged males. Symptoms can include: lethargy, pale gums, bleeding, fever, thin hair coat and feminization (female sex characteristics) in males.

Ethanol. … an alcohol used commonly as solvent (liquid that dissolves) in medications and is major component of alcoholic beverages. Common causes of toxicity …direct access to alcoholic beverages or spilled medication, ingestion of fermented products (bread), intentional or malicious administration by human beings, and/or dermal (skin) exposure to these products. Toxicity causes variety of signs, and may lead to death. Signs can include: odor of alcohol on the animal's breath or stomach contents, incoordination, staggering, behavioral change, excitement or depression, excessive urination and/or urinary incontinence, slow respiratory rate, cardiac arrest and death. If you believe pet has ingested form of ethanol, call veterinarian..

Glow Jewelry. … most glow jewelry and other glow-in-the-dark products contain active ingredient dibutyl phthalate. This substance has low toxicity and there has not been a report of an animal poisoned by its ingestion. If pet has ingested dibutyl phthalate, encourage him to drink a small amount of milk, tuna juice or canned cat food. … helps to dilute taste of dibutyl phthalate. …rinsing mouth out with water can reduce signs associated with glow jewelry exposure… after rinsing mouth, may want to bathe pet to remove any dibutyl that may have leaked out of the tooth marks and onto the pet's hair coat.

For more information go to: Your Guide to Common Cat Poisonings

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