Previously, I went over 5 ingestible toxins where vomiting should be induced. This week we explore 5 ingestible toxins where vomiting should NEVER be induced. All of these conditions warrant immediate transport to your doctor or local emergency center.
1.) Acidic and Alkaline Cleansers. Many cleansers routinely found in the home are severely toxic to dogs and cats either because of ingestion or accidental exposure to the skin, eye, GI tract or lungs. Due to their bitter taste, they routinely cause pain on contact. Signs include pawing at the mouth, constant drooling, ulcers on the tongue and abdominal pain. Treatment is flushing the mouth, skin or eyes with a soft but steady stream of water.
2.) Batteries. This is serious and is commonly encountered in puppies and kittens. Typically, we see the small button shaped batteries ingested and the small triple A batteries chewed on. They are dangerous because alkaline or acidic contents of the batteries can leak out. Also, a battery lodged in the esophagus can exert electrical current and put a hole in the esophagus. Signs again include pawing at the mouth, constant drooling, ulcers on the tongue, fever, and abdominal pain.
3.) Detergents. The majority of these poisonings are from cats that walk in spilled detergents and then groom their paws. Dogs commonly get in trouble with these items through biting or swallowing laundry detergent and dishwasher pods. Constant drooling, ulcers on the tongue, abdominal pain andvomiting blood, and even aspiration pneumonia is often seen with these products. What you can do at home is administer water or milk until signs are gone and then go immediately to your emergency center or your general practitioner if open.
4.) Hydrocarbons. These substances are commonly found in residential and commercial garages. Wood-derived products include items such as turpentine and wood stains. Petroleum distillates include kerosene, engine oil, gasoline, tiki-torch fuels and lubricating oils. Antifreeze is the big culprit in this category as it is very sweet and the lethal dose (which causes kidney failure) can be as little as a teaspoon for a 60-pound dog. Prevention is the obvious watchword for these substances: cleaning spilled fuels up and then washing the area with water should be done immediately. Antifreeze is an immediate emergency and you should not hesitate to bring your dog or cat in as soon as you even suspect this. If caught early enough, an antidote for this can be given intravenously and literally save your pet’s life.
5.) Antidepressant Medication. With the increased use of these products in people as well as dogs, these medications are one of the top unintentional poisonings in dogs. Clinical signs include depression, loss of appetite, sedation, or severe changes in behavior. Depending on the quantity ingested, this poisoning can result in tremors and seizures. Inducing vomiting can cause an aspiration pneumonia.
As you see, it’s all about “baby-proofing” your home for your pets. A little forethought can go a long way in preventing tragedies and that is the real antidote to any poisoning.