Common Toxins Found in the Yard and Garage
Knowing the potential toxins commonly found around your home and being able to identify signs and symptoms of pet poisoning can save your pet’s life!
Spring is here; so you and your pet are sure to be spending more time outside. The daffodils and lilies have started blooming, signalling the end of winter, but did you know that these plants are toxic to your pet if ingested? While some plants may cause only minor discomfort, others have the potential to cause severe illness or death. The table below will help you identify a few of the most common toxic plants and the severity of the problems they may cause.
|Species Affected||Part of Plant||Degree of Severity||
Signs & Symptoms
|Azalea||Dogs, Cats||All parts||Mild – severe; depending on amount ingested||Vomiting, diarrhea, transient blindness, seizures, coma|
|Daffodil||Dogs, Cats||All parts; especially the ingestion of bulb may causes severe tissue irritation and drooling.||Mild – moderate||Vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias|
|Oleander||Dogs, Cats, Horses, Cows, Birds||All parts||Moderate – severe||Vomiting, abnormal heart rate, arrhythmias, seizures, death|
|Sago Palm||Dogs, Cats||All parts; the seeds (nuts) in particular are most toxic.||Severe||Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, jaundice, black-tarry stool|
|Foxglove||Dogs, Cats||All parts; even the water in the vase can cause toxicosis.||Moderate – severe||Vomiting, abnormal heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, dilated pupils, seizures, death|
|Lily of the Valley||Dogs, Cats||All parts||Moderate – severe||Vomiting, diarrhea, slowed heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, death|
(Tiger, Day, Easter)
|Cats||All parts; including pollen and water from the vase.||Moderate to severe||Vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, seizures, death|
The ethylene glycol found in most antifreeze is extremely dangerous to dogs and cats. Other common toxins include windshield de-icing agents and hydraulic brake fluid. Be sure to keep them stored safely out of reach of your pet. Ingesting as little as a tablespoon can cause severe kidney failure in dogs. A teaspoon can be fatal in cats.
The Three Stages of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning:
- Within 30 minutes of ingestion, early symptoms similar to alcohol poisoning. Walking “drunk”, drooling, vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, and seizures begin.
- Stage two occurs 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. At this point clinical signs may appear to improve. However, severe damage continues within the body.
- Approximately 36 to 72 hours after ingestion, severe, acute kidney failure, vomiting, seizures, and coma are likely outcomes.
Ethylene glycol poisoning requires immediate treatment. Ideally the antidote should be given within 3 hours of ingestion in cats and within 8 to 12 hours in dogs. As clinical signs develop, the prognosis is very poor. As a result, aggressive treatment is necessary for survival.
Mouse and rat poisons, for example, are very dangerous. Therefore, it is important to keep these toxins safely out of reach of your pet. The four most common types of rodenticides are addressed below.
|Toxin Name||Mechanism of Action||Signs & Symptoms||
|Long-acting Anticoagulants||Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone, Diphenadione, Chlorophacinone & Difethialone||Prevents blood from clotting and causes internal bleeding||Lethargy, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, nosebleeds, bruising, bloody urine, swollen joints||Very young or very old animals, and those with underlying liver and/or gastro-intestinal disease are at higher risk.|
|Bromethalin||Fastrac & Terminantor||Causes swelling of the brain||Lethargy, walking drunk, abnormal pupil size, tremors, seizures, and in some cases, even death.||Unfortunately, there is no antidote for this toxin and there is a low margin of safety. Cats in particular, seem to be more sensitive to this toxin than dogs.|
|Cholecalciferol||Vitamin D3, Calcitriol & Calcipotriene||Causes high calcium and phosphorus levels which can be life threatening.||Lethargy, inappetence, weakness, increased thirst and urination, organ failure||There is no antidote for this toxin and there is a low margin of safety. It is likely that signs may not appear for 1-2 days after ingestion.|
|Phosphides||Rodenticide AG, Gopha-Rid, ZP & Sweeney’s Poisoned Peanuts||As poison mixes with stomach acid, a deadly phosphine gas is released.||Drooling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloat, diarrhea, shock, seizures, liver damage, difficulty breathing, even death.||Gas can be dangerous to humans, hence, vomiting should not be induced!|
If You Know or Suspect That Your Pet Has Ingested Something a Potential Toxin:
Call Whitesburg Animal Hospital immediately at (256) 882-0950.
For After Hours Emergencies: