Monthly Archives

November 2015

Ethylene Glycol-Based Coolants Are Extremely Toxic to Pets

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Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient of most engine coolants is an extremely toxic chemical which can be deadly if ingested. It takes just a drop or two to kill a cat or small to mid-sized dog. Pets most often come in contact with this deadly chemical through leaks and spills of ethylene glycol-based coolants.

The Risk of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning in Pets

Ethylene glycol-based coolants pose a serious danger to dogs and cats. As mentioned above, they contain a highly toxic chemical and ingestion of even the tiniest amount can be deadly. To make things worse, it has been shown to be very appealing to both dogs and cats due to its sweet taste. This means that they are highly likely to drink or lick it if coming across a spill or leak in your garage, driveway or the road.

Since many people change their car’s engine coolant in fall, the risk of ethylene glycol poisoning increases during the fall season.

Signs and Symptoms of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning in Pets

Ingestion of ethylene glycol-based coolant can quickly become deadly, while signs and symptoms of poisoning often develop within minutes. They include uncoordinated movement, lethargy, vomiting, abnormal thirst or urination, bad breath, muscle spasms and seizures. If left untreated, ethylene glycol poisoning can lead to kidney failure and ultimately death.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested ethylene glycol-based coolant, it is of key importance not to wait for the animal to develop symptoms of poisoning. Instead, take your pet to a vet immediately to neutralize the dangerous chemical and prevent it from causing potentially fatal kidney damage.

Treatment of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning in Pets

Treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning depends greatly on severity of the symptoms but above all, it depends on the amount of time that has passed since ingestion of the chemical. If the pet is taken to a veterinarian within hours after ingesting ethylene glycol, the vet will probably induce vomiting in order to remove the toxin from the body and administer activated charcoal to inhibit further breakdown of the toxin. The vet may also decide to administer an antidote such as intravenous ethanol infusion or fomepizole (4-methylpyrazole).

Ethylene glycol poisoning usually also requires hospitalization and intensive care, especially if the animal has signs of kidney damage. In the latter case, aggressive treatment may be required to save the pet’s life.

Prevention of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning in Pets

Since ingestion of ethylene glycol-based coolant can be deadly for your pet(s), you are highly recommended to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of poisoning to the minimum by:

– Immediately cleaning up any spills and leaks

– Regularly inspecting your garage floor and driveway for coolant leaks

– Making sure that stored/disposed coolant is out of reach to pets

– Keeping your pet away from areas where he can be exposed to ethylene glycol-based coolant like the road, and other people’s garages and driveways

– Consider using less toxic antifreeze/coolant that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol.


And as always you are more than welcome to call.  We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Rodenticides: a Serious Threat to Dogs and Cats

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dog and mouse
As the temperatures get cooler in the fall, rodents such as rats and mice seek shelters in warm areas, with many attempting to move indoors. For obvious reasons, no one wants to share their home with rodents. Various methods are used to keep rodents away including the use of rodenticides or poisons that kill these unwanted pests. Unfortunately, they don’t only kill rodents. They can also kill pets – both dogs and cats, especially during the fall when the use of rodenticides increases.

The Risk of Rodenticide Poisoning for Pets

Rodenticides pose a very serious threat to dogs and cats as well as other domesticated animals. They are not only toxic to rats and mice but are also very toxic to dogs, cats and other mammals as well as birds. If ingested, rodent poison can be lethal. And the risk of ingestion by other animals than rodents is very real. This is because many rodenticides contain food or food-like ingredients which are not only attracting rodents but other animals as well.

In addition to direct poisoning by ingesting rodent poison which is known as primary poisoning, rodenticides can also cause secondary poisoning. The latter occurs through ingestion of a rat or mouse that ate the poison and can be just as dangerous as direct ingestion of the poison.

Symptoms of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Symptoms of rodenticide poisoning in pets and their severity depend greatly on the type of poison that was ingested and its quantity but they also depend greatly on the animal’s age, overall health and some other factors. Some of the most common symptoms include refusal to eat, vomiting, weakness, lethargy, uncoordinated movement, muscle spasm/trembling, increased thirst or urination, blood in urine or stools, and seizures.

Treatment of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

Treatment of rodenticide poisoning in pets depends on several factors including the type of rodent poison that was ingested and severity of symptoms. But regardless of which type of poison was ingested (or is suspected to be ingested) and regardless of the quantity, it is of utmost importance for the pet to receive veterinarian treatment as soon as possible.

To help the veterinarian choose the most effective treatment, you are advised to take the rodenticide package to the vet. If this is not possible, look inside your pet’s mouth, vomit or stool for any unusual color stains which may help the vet determine the type of poison that was eaten.

Prevention of Rodenticide Poisoning in Pets

To reduce the risk of your pet accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly rodent poison, consider non-toxic rodent control measures which don’t foresee the use of rodenticides. And don’t worry, they are just as effective in keeping the rodents away.

Just because you don’t use rodenticides, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t pose a threat to your dog or cat. You are advised to check with your neighbors if they use any rodent poisons. If they do, politely suggest the use of non-toxic alternatives or at least try to find out what kind of poison they are using.

Dangers of Mushrooms

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Dangers of Mushrooms

Edible mushrooms or mushrooms that are non-toxic to humans are generally also non-toxic to pets. However, some can cause gastrointestinal upset or even symptoms of poisoning. This is because dogs and cats don’t digest food the same way as humans. For that reason it is recommended not to give your pet any mushrooms. Even more important is to prevent your pet from eating wild mushrooms. Just like humans, dogs and cats are not particularly good in distinguishing between toxic and non-toxic species which puts them at risk of potentially dangerous mushroom poisoning.

The Risk of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

Unfortunately, mushroom poisoning in pets is not uncommon. This is especially true for dogs although cats are also attracted by the fishy odor that is produced by some of the most toxic mushrooms. In comparison to cats, dogs usually spend more time in areas where they are more likely to encounter mushrooms, both toxic and non-toxic species.

Signs and Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

Signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning in pets depend greatly on the species that was ingested, the quantity that was eaten and some other factors such as the pet’s overall health. Obviously, symptoms are more severe if the ingested mushroom is very toxic. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms, let alone determine the toxicity level. Since the most toxic species can be lethal, any mushroom should be treated as dangerous.

The most common signs and symptoms of mushroom poisoning in pets include gastrointestinal upset including abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Species with higher toxicity may also cause extreme drooling, watery eyes, weakness, lethargy, seizures and coma. Especially dangerous are mushrooms from the so-called category A which can lead to liver and kidney failure. Pets that ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms may develop hallucinations which can manifest themselves in restlessness, uncoordinated movement, depression and unresponsiveness.

Treatment of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

To reduce the risk of potentially fatal complications, mushroom poisoning in pets requires immediate treatment involving removal and/or neutralization of the toxins. This is achieved by inducing vomiting and if necessary, using activated charcoal to get rid of any toxins remaining in the gastrointestinal tract. Only then treatment of mushroom poisoning focuses on treating/relieving the symptoms.

With treatment, death or lasting complications due to ingestion of toxic mushrooms are rare. However, it is crucial for the pet to receive treatment as soon as possible. Also, it is recommended to pick a sample of the mushroom that was ingested or is suspected to be ingested and take it to the vet.

The easiest way to prevent mushroom poisoning in pets is to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially toxic mushrooms. To do that, inspect your backyard or garden for mushrooms and remove them immediately. Not all mushrooms are toxic, however, it is best not to take any chances, especially if you’re not sure if they are dangerous or not. Also, choose your walking routes carefully and avoid areas where mushrooms might thrive, especially moist wooded areas.