March 17-23 marks the 51st anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW). Pet parents can use this special week of emphasis on poison control as an opportunity to assess the items in your home and garden environment that may be hazardous to your pets. Click here to read a previous article on NPPW.
Each year, the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals releases a list of the top ten pet toxins. At the top of the 2012 list for the fifth year in a row are prescription human medications. Third on the list are over-the-counter human medications and fourth on the list are veterinary products and medications. This list is based on the more than 180,000 calls received in 2012 by the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois handles about pets exposed to potentially poisonous substances.
The following information on pet poisoning from medications is from the ASPCA website:
“The APCC handled 25,000 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2012. 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.
More than 18,000 cases that the APCC fielded in 2012 regarded over-the-counter human products. 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.
Veterinary products made up nearly 6% of the APCC’s case volume for 2012. 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.”
If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. The APCC hotline is available to handle both emergency and non-emergency inquiries and is dedicated to helping animals exposed to potentially hazardous substances by providing 24-hour veterinary diagnostic and treatment recommendations.