As we have now entered the summer months, there are several poisons to be aware of that can commonly affect our dogs and cats….
PERMETHRIN is an insecticide commonly used in many over-the-counter spot-on flea treatments for dogs. It is highly toxic to cats, with numerous cases of poisoning seen each year. Poisonings can happen all year round, but there is an increase during the warmer months when flea numbers are at their highest. Cats are most commonly poisoned after their owners mistakenly use a dog product on the cat, but may also show mild signs of toxicity after close contact with a recently treated dog, especially if the cat has groomed the dog and ingested the product. Effects are usually rapid in onset, causing drooling and neurological symptoms such as tremors, twitching and seizures. Any remaining product on the cat’s coat should be washed off with cool water (warm water will increase absorption of the product), or the coat clipped if long-haired. Sadly, many cats die from this type of poisoning, so please be vigilant when using over-the-counter products.
SLUG and SNAIL PELLETS (METALDEHYDE) is a common poison seen in dogs and occasionally cats. Not all slug pellets contain metaldehyde, but only a small amount of pellets are needed to cause significant poisoning. Symptoms can be seen within an hour of ingestion and include incoordination, muscle spasms, twitching, tremors and seizures. Urgent veterinary treatment is required for pets to survive slug pellet poisoning.
RODENTICIDES (mouse and rat poisons) are commonly used in both domestic and commercial environments. The most commonly used rodenticides are anticoagulants, meaning that following ingestion, the body is unable to clot blood, causing internal bleeding. Pets do not show symptoms for the first 3-4 days after ingesting rodenticides, but if a pet is KNOWN to have consumed such products then veterinary treatment should be implemented immediately. After 3-4 days, the following symptoms may be seen:
- Bleeding from the skin, gums, ears, nose, eyes or other locations. Blood may be seen in urine, faeces or saliva.
- Bruising may occur as blood vessels leak easily.
- Weakness, lethargy and a decreased appetite.
- Coughing or breathing difficulties caused by bleeding into the lungs.
- Distended abdomen.
- Pale or white gums.
- Signs of shock, including collapse, loss of consciousness, decreased respiratory rate and decreased heart rate.
TOAD TOXICITY is occasionally seen in the summer months when the toads are spawning. Toads are most active at dusk and dawn, with most toad-related incidents occurring in the evening when cats lick them. The onset of signs of poisoning is rapid and you may see drooling, frothing, foaming, pain around the mouth, vomiting, ataxia (unsteady/wobbly), seizures and collapse in severe cases.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from any type of toxicity, then please call Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital on 01325 380111 immediately for advice.