Poisoning of an animal is always a serious diagnosis, which very often leads to tragic end. Sometimes the cause can be traced back to human malice, or nothing more but an accident - our homes and gardens are full of chemicals starting with drugs and ending with granules against slugs.


Poisoning symptoms are various, always depends on the type of substance, its toxicity and the quantity devoured. The most frequently occurring symptoms are the nervous symptoms (cramps, salivation, incoordination), diarrhea or vomiting.


Summary of the most common poisons


Where it occurs Component of sprays against insects
Symptoms of poisoning

Salivation, vomiting, muscle twitching and cramps, pupils are constricted.
Death occurs due to respiratory failure

Note Antidote can be administered, but if nervous symptoms have already appeared,
the animal cannot be saved



Where it occurs Component of sprays against insects (including anti parasitic means used
on dogs and cats)
Symptoms of poisoning

Salivation, vomiting, muscle twitching, depression, balance disorders,
respiratory failures - Toxic especially for cats

Note Antidote can be administered.
Death occurs rarely, poisoning symptoms disappear after a few hours.



Where it occurs Component of rodent traps, poisoning can be caused by devouring of poisoned rodents!
Symptoms of poisoning Bleeding from body orifices (nose, rectum, blood in excrements, urine and vomit),
anemia, feebleness. Death caused by bleeding in the abdomen
Note Prognosis depends on the amount of devoured poison.
After poisoning it is necessary to administer vitamin K in the long term,
which works as an antidote. It is necessary to protect the animal
from situations that might cause bleeding


Zinc phosphide

Where it occurs Component of rodent traps, poisoning can be caused by devouring of poisoned rodents!
Symptoms of poisoning Vomiting, diarrhea (even bloody), a pain in the stomach
Death within a few hours due to liver, renal and cardiovascular system failure
Note If lethal dose was consumed (with young or small animals even a single mouse can stand for
lethal amount) the animal cannot be saved


Where it occurs Component of rodent traps, no longer used, but can still occur in households - (bought into supply)
Symptoms of poisoning Easily frightened, muscle twitching, tremors and cramps, death caused by respiratory arrest
Note If poisoning was detected only at stage of cramps, the animal cannot be saved



Where it occurs Component of anti-corrosive coatings
Symptoms of poisoning Diarrhea alternating with constipation, vomiting, stomach pain, easily frightened up to hysteria,
aggression, teeth grinding, problems with sight, muscle cramps, even paralysis
Note Can be cured, but if intoxication is detected in an advanced stage, the animal can be left
with permanent neurological consequence



Where it occurs Component of stains, which are used for seed treatment
Poisoning is possible by devouring treated grain or poisoned fish, that are fed with this grain
Symptoms of poisoning Vomiting and bloody diarrhea, ulcers in the mouth, gums black rim, small amounts of urine,
cramps, paralysis, unconsciousness
Note It depends on the chemical form of mercury, if detected early, can be cured



Where it occurs Component of anti-fungal agents used in agriculture
Symptoms of poisoning Vomiting, diarrhea, a pain in the stomach , muscle tremors, paralysis, unconsciousness
Note If detected early, can be cured


Hydrogen cyanide

Where it occurs It is contained in the pits of peaches and apricots, just 10 pips are enough for poisoning
Symptoms of poisoning Rapid breathing, shock, coma, death usually within 40 minutes after devour (very toxic!)
Note Requires special antidotes, when administered at the commencement of poisoning the
animal can be cured.


Caffeine and theobromine

Where it occurs Cocoa and cocoa products (chocolate)
Symptoms of poisoning Rapid breathing and a rapid heart activity, restlessness, muscle twitching, cramps, bleeding
on mucous membranes (depending on the amount devoured and general health)
Note With adequate treatment, the animal can be rescued.



What to do ???

  • Up to 2 hours after the poison devouring, there is still a point in gastric emptying. After this time, the process of vomiting becomes ineffective, since the poison has already advanced from the stomach into the intestines. With dogs it is possible to cause vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide (known oxide), which has to be placed on the root of the tongue in the amount of one tablespoon per every 5 kg of weight.
  • If an animal swallowed some acid, do not induce vomiting, instead try to get into it as much water as possible.
  • No harm can be caused by administration of activated charcoal, which has the ability to neutralize certain poisons. Feel free to use the whole package, you cannot overdose an animal with this drug.
  • If there is a contact with the skin, wash the animal quickly with lukewarm water and a bit of soap, since many poisons are easily absorbed through the skin. In case of contact with eyes, rinse them immediately with clean water.
  • As soon as possible hurry into a veterinary clinic. Beside the animal, you should also take with you, if possible, the container of devoured poison or chemicals.


Useful advice

  • Remove all chemicals and medicines out of reach of the animal. If they have a package that cannot be chewed or devoured, it must be securely closed.
  • Do not administer your pet any medication without the consent of a veterinarian. What is harmless to humans can easily hurt animals. The same applies to a combination of drugs - they can be helpful if used individually, but combined they can kill.
  • Use the poisons against pests prudently. Never put a bait at the place where the animal can eat it, and ask for the same thing even your neighbors. Granules against slugs can be covered by an upturned flowerpot, baits against rodents can work even in a box with two opposite holes just large enough for the mouse, etc. Where it is at least a bit possible, use products that are not dangerous for dogs mammals.
  • When using sold over the counter (OTC) antiparasitic products, read carefully the instructions, especially what kind of animal the product is intended for and since what age. Spot-on must be situated at a place where the animal is unable to lick it.


 © This article was taken from the book "Home veterinarian for owners and breeders of dogs and cats"
and its publication is subject to prior written approval of Grada ©

!!! Further distribution of this article is possible only with the consent of the publisher !!!

Hereby I would like to thank for the consent to publication.

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