Q&A with our resident vet.
Question: What are the household poisons that could harm our pets and what should we do if we suspect they’ve been poisoned?
Answer: As a general rule, chemicals that are poisonous to humans are also poisonous to pets. Here’s a list of common chemicals that we see pets being poisoned by most often:
RAT POISON (RATTEX, FINALE, ETC):
Although these are usually kept out of reach of pets, the pellets can still fall or end up within reach of dogs, in particular. You won’t see any symptoms shortly after your dog’s eaten them, but a few days later, they could begin
bleeding internally, since the poison is an anti-coagulant that prevents blood from clotting. If you suspect this has happened, take your pet to a vet immediately to induce vomiting and empty its stomach. The vet may also put
your pet on vitamin K tablets to counter the poison.
SNAIL POISON (SNAILBAN, ETC):
Pets often find this in the garden or eat it straight from the box, if it’s in reach. The effects of poisoning include muscle tremors or spasms, shaking and disorientation. Take the animal to the vet immediately to have their stomach emptied.
They might also be given a muscle relaxant or sedative, or admitted for observation. Most animals recover within a day or two of hospitalisation.
INSECT SPRAY (DOOM, RAID, ETC):
Cats, in particular, may be susceptible to many of these compounds, even if they’ve only been in the vicinity where it’s been sprayed. The ingredient to look out for is permethrin. Many dog flea treatments contain it, but it should never – in any circumstances – be given to cats. Only use products registered for felines. Affected cats will show signs of seizures, such as twitching muscles, salivation and inco-ordination. Take them to the vet immediately for supportive
therapy. Unfortunately, many cats exposed to this substance don’t survive. Fish are also highly susceptible to insecticides, so be careful not to spray them near aquariums.
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The information on this page is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.