Hunting Dogs - Beware of Toxins and Poisons
Kimberly Lindamood, DVM
Veterinary Emergency Referral Center
4800 North Davis Highway
Pensacola, Florida 32503
Hunting dogs are curious creatures that can get into lots of trouble on their own. Toxins are a real danger. Being aware of some common household toxins could prevent a trip to your veterinarian. This goes for your pet cats as well as your prized hunting dogs.
- Xylitol Toxicosis: If you haven’t discovered yet, exlitol is a new sugar substitute being used in sugar-free candy and gum. It causes severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs. Dogs may become weak, lethargic, uncoordinated, and experience seizures. Xylitol also causes damage to the liver. Only one or two pieces of gum can be very toxic. There is no antidote for this toxicity and supportive therapy is the only treatment.
- Grapes/Raisins: The fruit of wine can make your dog whine. Too many grapes/raisins can cause renal (kidney) failure in dogs and cats. The exact mechanism of damage to the kidneys is unknown. All dogs and cats are not created equal when it comes to grape toxicity, some can toerate large amounts without clinical signs and others succumb to only a few. Signs of toxicity are vomiting, lethargy, unable to urinate or urinating only a little amount, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
- Tylenol, aka/acetaminophen (Anacin-3, Datril, Excedrin, Tylenol, aspirin-free pain relievers, cold and flu combination medications, and allergy medication): Dogs and cats need pain relief; however, Tylenol is definitely not the answer to your furry friend’s woes. Tylenol causes red blood cell and liver damage. Cats are more vulnerable than dogs, as one dose may kill them.
- Ibuprofen: If your dog or cat has muscle or joint pains, don’t give them a pain in the stomach as well. Ibuprofen causes gastric ulcers and stomach perforations, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage and cats can become comatose. Cats are twice as sensitive to ibuprofen toxicity as dogs are.
- Chocolate Toxicity: OHHHH chocolate can be your best friend; however, it’s definitely not your pet’s. The toxic ingredients are theobromine and caffeine. The more bitter the chocolate the more toxic (dark chocolate). Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, within 6 to 12 hours. It could get worse with hyperactivity, urinating frequently, seizures, and increased heart rate with abnormal rhythm. Some dogs that are susceptible to the high fat in chocolate can develop pancreatitis. If enough is eaten death can occur between 24 and 72 hours from cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory failure.
- Sago Palm, aka/cycad toxicosis: Sago Palms are beautiful, but when a puppy chews on anything and everything it can become a very ugly plant. The toxic substance is cycasin, found in seeds, fruit, and base of a sago palm. Cycasin causes liver failure and death in dogs. Dogs experience pain in the abdomen, may experience seizures, hind limb paresis/paralysis, become depressed and comatose within hours or a few days of ingestion.
- Permethrin toxicity in CATS: Don’t kill your cat along with the fleas and ticks! Permethrin, an active ingredient in many flea and tick products, is in a much higher concentration than what a cat can safely handle. Clinical signs of a permethrin overdose in a cat include: general tremors, seizures, and hypersensitivity to sound and touch. These signs may appear within hours or days of application and may be lethal. It is extremely important to use flea and tick products specifically labeled for CATS!
- Antifreeze, ethylene glycol: The sweet smell and taste of ethylene glycol saves cars, however, kills animals. Only a very small amount needs to be ingested for severe kidney damage. Animals will become very thirsty and urinate often in the early stages, then become depressed, uncoordinated, and collapse leading to death. Treatment must be initiated ASAP for recovery. If the pet lives he/she will have long-term kidney damage.
- Onions! Why would your furry friend like to eat onions? Some pets like onions; however, this should be discouraged due to the toxic effect on red blood cells. Pets will become anemic and weak.
- Rising Bread Dough: Are there any bakers out there? Raw bread dough can be a tempting treat for a pup, but a life threatening treat. Animals’ body temperature is normally higher than humans. Normal body temperature for a dog or cat is 101.5 to 102.5F. After ingesting raw dough, the animal’s body heat will cause the dough to rise in the stomach. Ethanol is produced during this rising process and is toxic causing incoordination and depression. Also, the dough can rise to several times its original size causing bloating, vomiting, and in some deep chested dogs rotation of the stomach which is a life threatening emergency.
So what medications can your hunting dogs and cats have for common problems like pain, parasite control, etc? The best advice is to call your local veterinarian. They are there to help! Dogs and cats are very different than humans – NEVER give them human drugs without consulting a veterinarian first.
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