Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Canine Toxins...

While most people are very cognizant of various materials around the house that might be toxic to young children, you might be surprised to find that many common household items can be extremely toxic to your dog. Here is a list of some of the common items thought to be toxic to your canine. (this information gathered from various internet resources)

Household plants that are toxic:

Broom (Cytisis)
Crown of Thorns
English Holly
English Ivy
Skunk Cabbage

If you believe your DOG has ingested any of these PLANTS and SHRUBS, you SHOULD ATTEMPT TO INDUCE VOMITING …AND…CALL YOUR VET

Mix Hydrogen Peroxide (1 teaspoon) in a cup of water; or 1-2 tablespoons of salt per cup of water; or Syrup of Ipecac - 1/2 mil per pound of the pet.

Alert your vet that your pet may have been poisoned. Try to identify the specific poison so that antidotes can be found.

Household agent showing toxicity to dogs:

Bathroom Cleaners
Drain Cleaners
Fuel (gas, oil, kerosene)
Furniture Polish
Laundry Bleach
Oven Cleaner
Poisons (rat, snail, roach bait)
Rust Removers
Varnish/Paint Removers

Remember, any household pest you eliminate with poisons becomes toxic to your DOG!

For caustic poisons do not induce vomiting. Try to dilute the poison with milk, an egg white in 1 cup of water, or 1-2 teaspoons of Milk of Magnesia in water.

Sugarless candies
Sugarless candies can be toxic to dogs. Candies containing xylitol have been recognized by the National Animal Poison Control Center to be a risk to pets. This information was first published in July 2004. This compound can cause liver damage and death in dogs susceptible to being poisoned with xylitol. If your dog ingests sugarless candy it would be best to contact the NAPCC (1-888-426-4435). It is possible your vet will not be familiar with this source of poisoning as this information is fairly new and candies have not usually been associated with poisonings in dogs if they did not contain chocolate as the major ingredient.

Onion and Garlic toxicity in dogs
Dogs develop hemolytic anemia if they eat enough onions. It doesn't seem to matter whether the onions are cooked or not. The quantity of onions required is high enough that dogs can generally tolerate small doses of onions without any problem and moderate amounts of onion without clinically apparent disease, even though there may be measurable changes on lab test results. There are several case reports of onion toxicity and they involve whole onions or sizable portions of chopped onions (like a cup or more).

Grape and raisin poisonings in Dogs
The grapes and raisins came from varied sources, including being eaten off the vine directly. The dogs exhibited gastrointestinal signs including vomiting and diarrhea and then signs of kidney failure with an onset of severe kidney signs starting about 24 hours after ingestion of the grapes or raisins. The amount of grapes eaten varied between 9oz. and 2 lbs., which worked out to be between 0.41 and 1.1 oz/kg of body weight. Two dogs died directly from the toxicity, three were euthanized due to poor response to treatment and five dogs lived. Due to the severity of the signs and the potential for death, the veterinarians at the poison control center advocate aggressive treatment for any dogs suggested of ingesting excessive amounts of grapes or raisins, including inducing vomiting, stomach lavage (stomach pumping) and administration of activated charcoal, followed by intravenous fluid therapy for at least 48 hours or as indicated based on the results of blood tests for kidney damage.

Chocolate toxicity
The LD50 -- dose at which 1/2 of the dogs exposed to a substance will die --- is about 100mg/kg for chocolate. The dose that causes signs of toxicity, such as excitement, increased urination, muscle tremors and rapid heart rate may occur at a lower dosage. The other problem with dogs eating chocolate is that a lot of formulations of chocolate are high in fat and dogs often get enteritis or pancreatitis following ingestion of a lot of milk chocolate. Typical dosages of 44mg theobromine/oz for milk chocolate, 150mg/oz for semi-sweet chocolate and 390 mg/oz for baking chocolate match the dosages that have been published. Using a dose of 100mg/kg as the toxic dose the toxic dosages per pound of body weight for dogs work out to be roughly:
1 ounce per pound of body weight (2 ounces per kg of body weight) for milk chocolate.
1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight ( 1 ounce per 1.5 kg body weight) for semi-sweet chocolate
1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight ( 1 ounce per 4 kg) for baker's chocolate. Toxic signs may occur at lower dosages. Clinical signs may develop in some dogs with dosages as low as 10% of the LD50 dose.

Blue-green algae
Freshwater ponds, lakes and streams could be deadly to your water dog if they contain toxins borne by blue-green algae. The dangers of a “toxic bloom” of blue-green algae are well known in some states. According to a website published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, certain environmental conditions that generally occur late in summer can trigger a sudden overgrowth of a certain family of algae called cyanobacteria. This type of algae occurs in many aquatic environments year-round, but may thrive to a dangerous degree in during periods of sustained warm, sunny days in shallow, nutrient rich bodies of water. In these conditions, the blue-green algae suddenly “blooms” – that is, reproduces exponentially. The algae produce a powerful toxin – one of the most powerful natural poisons known. The state of Minnesota warns its citizens about this hazard, stating that the blue-green algae blooms are occasionally responsible for the deaths of livestock and dogs who drink contaminated water.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Excessive drooling, vomiting, weakness and abdominal pain. Do not use Tylenol with your dog.

Be careful out there.

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