The Animal Poisons Helpline has recently received a number of calls regarding dogs ingesting COVID-19 rapid antigen test buffer solutions. As millions of these tests are now being dispersed, we anticipate that calls to the Helpline regarding pets ingesting them will continue to rise.

Some TGA approved rapid antigen test buffer solutions contain a chemical known as sodium azide, which is added as a preservative. Whilst sodium azide is highly toxic, the amount contained in each test is very low and therefore unlikely to pose a significant risk in the vast majority of cases.

The actual risk of poisoning in any individual case will depend on the amount of sodium azide ingested and the weight of the animal involved. Very small animals, or those animals that ingest a number of vials of buffer solution could possibly be at risk of poisoning.

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☎ If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice. We can assess your pet’s exposure and determine if they will be at risk of poisoning and if they require urgent veterinary assessment.

This post has been made possible by a grant from Animal Welfare Victoria.