On This Page about Poisons:
Introduction to the poisons that are common dangers to our pets.
A few comments about Garbagitis, Food Poisoning, the dangers of household cleaners, Lead, and Zinc.
Also the danger of overheated Teflon
And Links to our pages about rat poison, pesticide poisoning, poisonous plants, medicines and foods that are sometimes poisonous are to your left.
If other vet practices are like mine, a typical small animal practice deals with serious poison cases several times a month. Most of the time, these poisonings are accidental, but ocassionally these are intentional poisonings.
Most adults are aware of the more common household poisons and are suitably careful. But some pets sometimes get loose, get into neighbor's sheds, barns, or shops. Accidents happen. And some pets just happen to be more sensitive to some things than others.
These pages will hopefully make you aware of a few things that are potentially dangerous to your pets that you didn't know about. And of course, each page is a summary of what to expect if your pet ingests these different types of poisons to include emergency treatment.
Speaking of emergency treatment ... if you discover that your pet has ingested a potential poison and less than an hour has gone by, the standard initial treatment in poison cses IS TO GET IT OUT OF THEIR STOMACH ... MAKE THEM VOMIT. The exception to this advice is if the poison is a caustic agent or a petroleum based pesticide that might burn the esophagus or throat on the way back up.
To make your pet vomit, force down orally 1/4th -1 cup (depending on the size of your pet) of either hydrogen peroxide or very salty luke warm water. Or give a bottle of Ipecac syrup. AND THEN PHONE YOUR VET OR NEAREST 24 HOUR VET CARE FACILTIY.
Please check out the pages about the different types of poisons to your left.
Below are a few comments about garbagitis, food poisoning, household cleaners, Lead and Zinc poisoning, and the dangers of overheated Teflon.
And finally a little history and fun.
GARBAGE and FOOD POISONING
Dogs and cats that roam unsupervised or otherwise eat decaying, rotten carcasses or other food that has been contaminated by bacteria and the toxins that bacteria produce are susceptible to this poisoning.
Bacterial toxins tend to cause severe gastrointestinal upset.
Clinical signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and malaise.
Severely affected animals can go into shock and even die as a result of the absorbed bacterial toxins.
Mild cases will probably be okay with time and a little kaopectate, but if symptoms are severe or last more than a couple of days, you should make an appointment with your vet.
Toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, detergents, drain cleaners, and pine oils help keep our homes clean which is a healthy thing, but these products can be highly poisonous to dogs and cats.
The best remedy is prevention. Keep all cleaners tightly closed when not in use to prevent accidental spills and ingestion.
Also, be sure to keep pets out of newly cleaned areas to avoid paw injuries from walking in the newly applied cleaning solution and mouth burns from the animal then licking itself.
Also be aware of the possible dangers of toilet bowl cleaners from dogs and cats who drink out of the toilet.
In case of accidental exposure to cleaning products, it is generally recommended to flush the skin and mouth with water to wash away remaining chemicals, then call in to your veterinary clinic for further instructions. For milder cases, an absorbant like kaopectate or activated charcoal may suffice as treatment...but don't count on it...see your vet if symptoms are severe.
TEFLON Inhalation Poisoning
I've never seen Teflon poisoning in a dog or cat, but I mention it here just for your information; birds are very sensitive to the fumes.
The problem occurs when pots or pans with non-stick surfaces are left on a hot stove and forgotten. If the pan gets hot enough, toxic particles are released into the air that cause lung damage to birds.
Birds are unable to clear the toxic particles by exhaling, coughing, etc. and are therefore more susceptible to this type of poisoning.
Occurs from eating stuff that contains lead such as fishing and other weights, lead shot, lead-containing paint, caulking, and motor oil.
Clinical signs for animal suffering lead poisoning usually include vomiting, constipation diarrhea, painful abdomen as well as depression, blindness, circling, muscle tremors, and seizures. Onset of signs is usually relatively quick but signs can progress more slowly if the animal is slowly being exposed to the poison over time.
There is no specific treatment for lead poisoning so please be careful.
Zinc poisoning occurs most frequently when dogs ingest zinc in the form of pennies. The metal interacts with components of the animal's red blood cells and can cause, weakness, trembling, loss of appetite.
Although not seen frequently, it is interesting to note how such a mundane object can be toxic when ingested.
Again, please be careful.
A Little Historical Intrique including some info about poison:
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to
Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.
The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and
men, then the women and finally the children -- last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in
it-hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice rats, and bugs) lived in the roof.
When it rained it became slippery and sometimes
the animals would slip and fall off the roof -- hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy
beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt,
Hence the saying "dirt poor."
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread
thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway -- hence, a "thresh hold."
They cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for
dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day.
Sometimes the stew had food in it that had
been there for quite a while -- hence the rhyme, "peas porridge hot,
peas porridge cold,
peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their
bacon to show off.
It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon."
They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and
"chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates, but had
trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl.
Often trenchers were made from stale rolls and bread which was so old and hard that they could use them for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got
the top, or "upper crust."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The
combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up -hence the custom of holding a "wake."
England is old and small and they started out running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.
So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and
up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for
the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."
And that's the truth... as best we know...