Toxins and ASPCA Poison Control

ASPCA Poison Control Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Pets frequently ingest things they should not. There are numerous plants, foods, chemicals, and medications that can be poisonous to pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, or if you are unsure whether it is poisonous, you should evaluate your pet for signs of acute distress and seek emergency medical attention if any signs of distress are present. These may include but are not limited to difficulty breathing, protracted vomiting, severe diarrhea, acute lethargy, pale or blue gums, weakness or collapse, rapid heart rate, or seizure activity. If possible, you should have someone call Animal Poison Control while you are driving to the emergency hospital so that a case can be established. However, your priority is your pet and if you are unable to establish an Animal Poison Control case right away, it can be done after your pet is at the hospital. If your pet is not distressed, you should still plan on a trip to the veterinarian, but you should call Animal Poison Control to establish a case.

Animal Poison Control is a phone-based service staffed with veterinary toxicologists that can make very specific recommendations based on your pet’s size and the amount and type of toxin ingested. In some cases, they will advise emergent evaluation and hospitalization; in other cases, they may consider the risk of toxicity low enough that you can monitor your pet at home. You call them to open a case. You will be assigned a case number, which your veterinarian can then use to speak with a toxicologist at any point in time for the duration of your pet’s toxicity.

There are numerous toxins capable of causing a wide range of symptoms from mild GI upset to life-threatening neurologic or cardiovascular signs or organ failure. It is important that you provide your veterinarian and/or ASPCA Poison Control a list of everything your pet could have been exposed to, as some things that are completely non-toxic to people can cause severe toxicity in dogs and cats (sugar-free gum or grapes, for example). Along those lines, it is important to list any drugs or medications to which your pet could have access.