AHVEC North Hobart After Hours Veterinary Emergency Centre

Poisoning

Chocolate, Tea & Cofee

Affects: Both cats and dogs

Cause: Overstimulation of the heart muscles and central nervous system

Toxic Amount: Less than 20 grams of dark chocolate or coffee grounds per kilo of body weight. Toxic amounts of tea and milk/white chocolate are slightly more

Signs of Intoxication: Hyperactivity, muscle twitching, high heart rate, vomiting and diarrhoea

All these foods contain caffeine, and a chemical called theobromine. These chemicals affect the heart muscles and central nervous system of a dog or cat. In extreme cases, intoxication may result in seizures or coma, and may be fatal without treatment

Rat Bait

Affects: Both cats and dogs

Cause: Blood loses its ability to clot, resulting in bleeding which can be fatal.

Toxic Amount: Ingestion of any amount of bait can cause intoxication

Signs of Intoxication: Off food, coughing, bloody urine or faeces, lethargy, breathing difficulty, bruising.

Snail/Slug Bait

Affects: Both cats and dogs

Cause: Overstimulation of the muscles of the body, causing major tremors, then seizures, overheating, coma and death

Toxic Amount: Ingestion of any amount of bait can cause intoxication

Signs of Intoxication: Muscle tremors, bright green faeces, excessive panting, drooling, seizures

Rat & snail/slug bait is toxic to dogs and cats. It is vital that animals who have ingested these substances be made to vomit by a vet as soon as possible to try and prevent the severe effects of toxicity

Grapes & Raisins

Affects: Dogs. This is an ‘idiosyncrtatic’ toxin, in that some dogs will not be affected at all, and others will be profoundly affected and can die. There is no way of knowing which is your dog.

Cause: Acute kidney injury resulting in failure of the kidneys, can be fatal

Toxic Amount: Any amount of grapes or raisins

Signs of Intoxication: Vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, lethargy and abdominal pain

Onions & Garlic

Affects: Both cats and dogs

Cause: Anaemia

Toxic Amount: Prolonged exposure to small amounts can be harmful

Signs of Intoxication: Weakness or lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting or shortness of breath

Onions and garlic are often included in human food products, and as a result a pet that is fed table scraps may inadvertently have onion or garlic introduced into his/her system. Anaemia makes it difficult for the body to circulate oxygen efficiently, and may be difficult to diagnose as it does not produce many visible symptoms until it is advanced.

Dog Tick/Flea Spot-On treatment

Affects: Cats (any contact), or dogs given spot on treatments orally

Cause: Tremors and seizures, which can be fatal

Toxic Amount: Any skin contact or oral ingestion can cause intoxication

Signs of Intoxication: Salivation, vomiting, hyperactivity, muscle tremors/seizures

Cats are very sensitive to pyrethroids, the active chemical in most dog flea and tick spot-on treatments. Dogs and cats who live together should be kept separated when these products are in use, and owners must read labels carefully. They can be toxic to dogs in overdoses, especially when spot on treatments are accidentally given as oral preparation.

What to do

If you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned, or they are showing any symptoms of intoxication, please contact your vet immediately!

Most examples of intoxication given here are time sensitive, and if treatment is given quickly, the chance of a happy outcome is greatly enhanced.

But most importantly, prevention is the best cure!

Call your vet if you have any questions or queries