No list of animal ailment would be complete without mentioning poisoning. However, this is such a vast subject that we decided to give a brief outline of a few poisons which we as a practice see occasionally.

  • Anti-freeze- Ethylene glycol is very toxic, commonly available and attractive to cats and dogs because of its sweet taste. Initially the patient may seem drunk then begin to urinate and drink more, kidney failure follows fairly quickly. This is a difficult one to treat and treatment should be initiated promptly.
  • Chocolate- For a product that we humans find so wonderful and even compelling to eat it is strange to find out how toxic it is for our pets especially dogs. The main toxic principles are the methyl xanthines called theobromine and caffeine. The amount of toxin is greatest in very dark chocolate and least in milk chocolate. The patient may become restless, may drink excessively, may stagger (become ataxic), tremble, have seizures, there may be a rapid and arythmic heartbeat and coma will follow. If possible get an idea of how much chocolate has been eaten and of what type and get to us quickly.
  • Grapes and raisins- Surprisingly grapes and raisins are really quite poisonous to dogs. First signs are vomiting and diarrhoea, weakness and tremors with kidney failure following. Get to us as soon as possible.
  • Household plants-Do not let your pet chew any household plants and flowers. Several of them are toxic.
  • Insecticides- Some flea preparations can be toxic in overdose. Always check that any anti flea preparation that you use on your pet is the correct dose for that animal. This is especially so with cats who can suffer severely if dog sized doses are applied to them.
  • Onions- All types of allium plants are poisonous. They cause loss of appetite, anaemia, collapse and possible death.
  • Slug bait- Metaldehyde is very toxic. It leads to acute nervous signs with muscle spasms and convulsions. If suspected get your pet to us as soon as possible.
  • Warfarin- Warfarin and related anti-coagulant poisons used to control rodent pests are toxic to our pets. The patient usually ingests small cumulative amounts of the poison over several days. This often results in spontaneous bleeding- often first noted as painful joints when there has been bleeding into the joints. Other signs include lethargy, pale mucous membranes, increased rate of breathing and collapse. Warfarin poisoning is treatable especially if treated early. If you are using any rodenticides place them with extreme care.