Published: Aug 03, 2008 10:12 AM
Modified: Aug 03, 2008 10:12 AM
What should we do if one of our pets eats a household chemical, bait for pests, or a human medicine?A:
Always try to keep emergency numbers for pets in a convenient, easy to find location like the refrigerator door or a drawer by the phone. You want to make sure you have your primary veterinary hospital and your local emergency hospital as well.
The ASPCA animal poison control center number is 888-426-4435. There is a fee associated with a consult. Remember that many products have a number on the package that you can call in case of human or animal consumption.
The first step to take if you suspect your pet has ingested a substance that could be a problem is to call your local hospital or emergency hospital. Try to have the package or label of the substance ready so you can give the name and ingredients. Try to determine how much your pet may have eaten; this can be helpful in deciding if the dose is enough to be toxic.
Try to make a rough estimate of the likely time the substance was ingested. This is often important in deciding whether to induce vomiting. Many people think that the first thing to do in the event of ingestion of a poisonous chemical or medication is to induce vomiting. This is correct for many toxins but some others can actually cause more harm if vomiting is induced. Refrain from initiating any treatments until you can talk to a veterinarian or the poison control center.
Often your veterinarian can guide you through ingestion of common medications or chemicals. Multiple chemical ingestions or ingestion of rare or unusually potent medications sometimes require a veterinarian to contact the animal poison control center on your behalf. They have an extensive data base on animal toxins and treatments.
The main thing to remember is do not initiate any treatment until you can talk to a veterinarian, the company that manufactured the product or the animal poison control center.
Erik Dorsch is a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital in Carrboro.