12 Jul Winter Poisons And Your Pet
Winter is upon us and the cold weather brings seasonal pattern changes to potential hazards for your pet. Read on to learn more about hand warmers, winter plants, antifreeze, vitamin D supplements, cold and flu remedies and pesticides.
Hand, foot and body warmers – these disposable products contain iron which can be highly toxic if ingested. Early signs of iron toxicity can include severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which can escalate and become life threatening.
Plants – some daffodils, daphne and Autumn crocus are flowering now. All parts of these plants are poisonous if ingested. Mushrooms are also still actively growing; please be cautious and keep an eye on your pet whilst walking them and where possible remove any mushrooms from your yard before your pet has a chance to play with or eat them. A mycology service to vets and pet owners is available if you would like to have any mushrooms on your property identified to know if you should be concerned: https://animalpoisons.com.au/mushroomidentification
Antifreeze – contain varied concentrations of ethylene glycol or other toxic glycols. Many animals will voluntarily drink antifreeze if spilled or leaks onto garage floors or driveways. Even small ingestions in animals can result in severe or fatal poisoning due to kidney failure.
Vitamin D supplements – ingestion can cause a life-threatening increase in blood calcium levels which can affect every organ in the body and be fatal if treatment is not started promptly.
Cold and flu medications: contain a range of drugs, many of which can be poisonous. Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can cause stimulatory signs such as agitation, hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and tremors. Dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) can cause a range of signs; from lethargy and wobbliness through to stimulatory signs similar to those described for pseudoephedrine. Paracetamol is very dangerous, especially for cats, and may cause liver failure and changes to red blood cells. Ibuprofen may lead to stomach ulcers, vomiting, kidney damage and seizures. Small ingestions of nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline and xylometazoline can cause slowing of the heart, slow breathing, low blood pressure and possibly coma.
Herbal cold and flu remedies: may contain the sweetener xylitol which can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels and liver damage in dogs.
Pesticides – rodents and insects can seek shelter inside our warm homes leading to increased pesticide usage by households. If pesticides must be used, use pet safe options if available or ensure they are put out and stored in areas your pet can not access.
If you think your pet has been exposed to any of these products, call us on 1300 TOX PET (1300 869 738) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for a tailored risk assessment and recommendation, including first aid measures. Our service is free for all pet owners.