Common Toxins Found in the Yard and GarageToxins

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!

Poisonous Plants

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.  

Plant

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
Lilies

(Tiger, Day, Easter)

Cats All parts; including pollen and water from the vase. Moderate to severe Vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, seizures, death

Antifreeze

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.

Rodenticides

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. 

Type

Toxin Name Mechanism of Action Signs & Symptoms

Special Precautions

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:

Call the 24/7 Pet Poison Control Center  at (885) 764-7661 or the Animal Emergency Clinic at (256) 533-7600.