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summer toxins...hazards for ur pets

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by gesic, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. gesic

    gesic PetForums VIP

    Feb 19, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Hi a friend forwarded this to me, it is american but holds a lot of relevence for uk and other countries. I especially was not aware of tomatoe plants!


    Summer Toxins Newsletter
    Summer is finally here, and with that comes a myriad of fun outdoor
    activities along with home and garden projects. While summer is meant for
    relaxing at the lake with friends picnicking, watching fireworks, and
    cleaning up and readying yards and gardens for the upcoming growing season,
    it´s potentially fraught with toxic exposure to your pets! Summertime brings
    new opportunities for potential pet exposures to harmful and dangerous
    substances. During the summer months, Pet Poison Helpline (PPH) is inundated
    with calls involving yard and garden products (including bone meal,
    fertilizers, and insecticides), mulch and compost pile ingestions, and
    exposures to outdoor plants and mushrooms.1 As with all poisonings, early
    recognition and decontamination (including emesis induction and activated
    charcoal administration) are keyCompost bins or piles: While we applaud you for composting, make sure to do
    so appropriately - your compost shouldn´t contain any dairy or meat
    products, and should always be fenced off for the sake of your pets and
    wildlife. These piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding
    food products have the potential to contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which
    are toxic to both pets and wildlife. Even small amounts ingested can result
    in clinical signs within 30 minutes to several hours. Clinical signs include
    agitation, hyperthermia, hyper-responsiveness, panting, drooling, and
    vomiting, and can progress to serious CNS signs (including incoordination,
    tremors, and seizures!). Rule outs for this include toxins that cause "shake
    and bake," such as metaldehydes (snail bait), strychnine, organophosphates,
    and methylxanthines. Prompt decontamination is the key if the patient isn´t
    demonstrating clinical signs yet - this includes inducing
    vomiting and giving activated charcoal. Once the patient is symptomatic,
    aggressive supportive care includes the use of IV fluids, temperature
    regulation, cooling methods (cooling down to a temperature of 103.5° F/39.7°
    C), IV muscle relaxants (i.e., methocarbamol), and anti-convulsants (i.e.,
    diazepam, phenobarbital).

    Slug and Snail Baits: Slug and snail baits are commonly used on the West
    coast and in warm weather conditions, and are available in a variety of
    forms (pellets, granular, powder, and liquid). The active ingredient is
    typically metaldehyde, which is toxic to all species (particularly dogs).2
    When ingested, metaldehyde results in clinical signs that result in the
    nickname "shake and bake." Within 1 to 2 hours of ingestion, clinical signs
    of salivation, restlessness, vomiting, and incoordination are seen, which
    then progress to tremors, seizures, and secondary severe hyperthermia.
    Treatment consists of early decontamination, supportive care, temperature
    regulation (cooling down to a temperature of 103.5° F/39.7° C),
    anti-convulsants, and muscle relaxants. Generally, the prognosis is
    favorable if treatment is quickly and aggressively implemented. to a successful outcome. Here is some basic
    information for you to know about when dealing with these exposures.
    Mole and Gopher Bait: Surprisingly, most veterinary professionals aren´t
    very familiar with mole and gopher baits, which typically contain zinc
    phosphide. Other types may contain bromethalin. Neither of these active
    ingredients have an antidote and both can result in rapidly developing,
    life-threatening symptoms. Zinc phosphide is often manufactured in a
    poisoned "peanut" form but can also be found in a pelleted or powdered form.
    When zinc phosphide combines with gastric acid, it results in rapid
    phosphine gas formation within the stomach. This toxin is made worse by the
    presence of food in the stomach, so make sure acutely poisoned pets aren´t
    fed anything when this toxicity occurs! This gas causes severe
    gastrointestinal inflammation, abdominal distension, and cardiovascular
    insufficiency (similar to symptoms of a GDV or bloat). Pulmonary congestion
    and edema may also occur.1 Clinical signs develop rapidly within 15 minutes
    to several hours and include vomiting, salivation, abdominal discomfort,
    bloating, depression, labored breathing, tremors, and weakness.1 Once
    clinical signs have developed, the prognosis is guarded.2 A word of caution
    to veterinary staff: second hand phosphine gas exposure can result in
    significant health risks to healthcare providers working in unventilated
    areas. By the time the phosphine gas odor has been recognized (which smells
    like rotten fish and garlic), there has already been significant exposure to
    staff.2 So, whenever inducing emesis in a patient with this toxicity, do so
    in a well ventilated, outdoor area, and contact Pet Poison Helpline for
    more information on treatment.

    The other toxin is bromethalin, a neurotoxin, which is found in a pelleted
    grain or as a gummy worm-shaped strip. These lanced gummy worms are placed
    underground as mole bait. Dogs can readily dig this product up and ingest
    it. Because cats aren´t typically digging outside, there are fewer exposures
    to cats - that said, cats are very sensitive to bromethalin also.
    Bromethalin results in signs of cerebral edema (mentally obtunded, seizures,
    abnormal pupils, etc.), incoordination, and paralysis. As no antidote is
    available, treatment is centered around aggressive decontamination to limit
    absorption, supportive care, and drugs to decrease cerebral edema (i.e.,
    mannitol). The prognosis is based on the amount ingested and the severity of
    clinical signs. The more severe the symptoms, the more guarded the prognosis

    Plants: Most garden and food producing plants are non-toxic to pets, and
    only result in mild gastrointestinal upset when ingested. That said, here
    are a few common summer plants that can cause concerns when eaten by pets:

    Tomato plants are in the Nightshade family and contain tomatine. Tomatine is
    found in concentrations of up to 5% in the leafy greens, the fruit blossoms,
    and in small green tomatoes; this concentration rapidly decreases as the
    tomato ripens. When stems, vines and green fruit are ingested, clinical
    signs can include gastrointestinal irritation, ataxia, and weakness.
    Treatment is purely supportive with an overall good prognosis.

    Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, calcium oxalate and potassium oxalate
    and can result in oral and gastrointestinal irritation causing vomiting and
    diarrhea.4 Treatment includes symptomatic and supportive care.

    Onions and garlic, when ingested in large amounts, can result in Heinz body
    formation and anemia. Cats are more sensitive than dogs to Allium
    toxiciosis.5 Clinical signs are generally secondary to the anemia, with
    resultant weakness, lethargy and pale mucous membranes.

    Grapes (or raisins) grown in home gardens can present significant concerns
    when dogs ingest them. Although the mechanism of action is not clearly
    understood at this time, grapes can result in anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea,
    and potentially severe acute renal failure. The toxicity is not necessarily
    dose dependent, and symptoms can occur with even small ingestions.
    Decontamination, aggressive supportive care, IV fluid therapy, and
    BUN/creatinine monitoring is recommended.

    Mushrooms: There are various types of mushrooms located throughout the
    United States that may be non-toxic; however, other types of mushrooms may
    be gastric irritants, hallucinogenic, or hepatotoxic (from cyclopeptides,
    hydrazine toxins, isoxazoles, or psilocybin compounds).5 The frequency of
    mushroom toxicity is low, but the lack of readily available identification
    of mushrooms lands all ingestions in the category of toxic until proven
    otherwise. With ingestion of any mushroom, immediate emesis is recommended,
    provided the animal is alert, asymptomatic, and able to adequately protect
    his or her upper airway. Gastric lavage may be necessary for animals already
    exhibiting clinical signs. Clinical symptoms are dependent on the species of
    mushroom ingested, the specific toxin within that mushroom, and the
    individual´s own susceptibility. Early clinical signs include vomiting,
    diarrhea, abdominal pain, ataxia, CNS depression, tremors, and seizures,
    with liver and renal damage occurring later. One can collect all the pieces
    of the mushroom in a paper towel, place them in a labeled (DO NOT EAT!
    POISONOUS) paper bag, and refrigerate the sample for future possible

    Mulch Products: Cocoa bean mulch, a byproduct of chocolate production, is
    the discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean. This mulch is frequently
    used for home landscaping and is often very fragrant, especially when first
    placed in the yard and warmed by the sun. This tempting smell of warm
    chocolate often attracts and encourages dogs (Labradors!) to ingest the
    mulch. Through the processing procedure of creating cocoa bean mulch, much
    of the methylxanthine poison is removed, but still potentially contains
    0.19% to 2.98% theobromine and 0.5% to 0.85% caffeine.2 All animals can be
    affected by methy-xanthylates, but dogs tend to have more frequent exposure
    opportunities to the chocolates, coffee beans and cocoa mulch that contain
    them. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors,
    tachycardia, tachypnea, and potential seizures.1,2 Symptoms are
    dose-dependent and an accurate dose is very difficult to determine because
    of the
    variation of the concentration of methyxanthylates from one mulch product to
    the next.
    There have been anecdotal reports of a dog dying after ingesting
    cocoa bean shell mulch, and this has been rapidly circulating on the
    Internet. That said, how toxic is this stuff, really? The first report of
    this poisoning was actually reported by Pet Poison Helpline's Drs. Lynn
    Hovda and R. Kingston at the 1993 International Congress of Clinical
    Toxicology. Dr. Steve Hansen from ASPCA published this again 10 years later
    (Clin Tox 2003; 41:5). Recently, Dr. Hansen stated that the cause of the
    one fatality (a young Labrador) was "highly suspect." While theobromine and
    caffeine (methylxanthines) can be toxic, clinical signs are usually more
    PROGRESSIVE such as vomiting, diarrhea, more vomiting, trembling, a racing
    heart rate, and then seizures in very high doses. Cocoa bean mulch is very
    unlikely to result in sudden death without showing other signs.
    Nevertheless, play it safe and don´t allow pets to ingest this
    product! Typically, after a first rain, the smell dissipates, making the
    mulch less attractive to pets.

    Salt water toxicity: While it´s probably not at the top of your toxin
    lists, salt water is a dangerous poison, particularly if you take your dog
    to the beach! If your dog loves to play on the ocean beach, heed caution.
    Dogs don´t realize that salt water is dangerous, and excessive intake can
    result in severe hypernatremia, or salt poisoning. While initial signs of
    hypernatremia include vomiting and diarrhea, salt poisoning can progress
    quickly to neurologic signs like walking drunk, seizures, progressive
    depression, and ultimately, severe brain swelling. Hypernatremia needs to be
    treated very carefully with IV fluids and aggressive sodium monitoring. Pet
    owners can help avoid this problem by carrying a fresh bottle of tap water
    and offering it frequently to their pet while they are playing on the beach.

    Fertilizers: Fertilizers come in a variety of forms from granular to water
    soluble - and are soil amendment products routinely used in lawn, garden and
    farming. There are virtually hundreds of products and product formulations
    or mixes out there, and most contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in
    various concentrations. The three numbers that you see listed behind a
    fertilizer name (i.e., 10:20:10) represent the concentration of these three
    elements. Typically, limited ingestions of these ingredients generally do
    not result in significant concerns and are a relatively low level toxicity
    risk. With most cases of fertilizer ingestion, clinical signs are limited to
    gastrointestinal irritation and foreign body obstruction risk (particularly
    if organic compounds such as bone meal are mixed in, adding in a risk for
    pancreatitis). Keep in mind that there are some fertilizers that contain
    iron, along with other herbicide and pesticide additives, and
    these pose additional concerns and can result in significant health

    Herbicides: Herbicides rarely result in concerns when used and applied
    according to the label directions, provided pets have been kept off the
    treated surfaces until the applied product has dried completely. However,
    when applied inappropriately, or when pets chew containers of concentrated
    product, there is a significant increase in the likelihood of potential
    toxicity. Clinical signs are dose and product dependent. Glyphosate and
    2,4-D are two of the most commonly used herbicides.3 Ingestions of
    glyphosate concentrates can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea,
    anorexia and lethargy.1,2 With ingestion of concentrated 2,4-D, clinical
    signs include vomiting and weakness.3 While there are no antidotes for these
    products, prompt, supportive care (including IV or SC fluids and
    anti-emetics) generally provide a good prognosis.

    Pesticides: Today´s pesticides are much safer than products used 30 years
    ago. Examples of newer pesticides include fipronil, imidicloprid,
    sulfuramide and hydramethylnon. Many of these products have very low
    percentages of the active ingredient and are poorly absorbed systemically in
    mammalian species. Pesticides typically have wide margins of safety and are
    relatively low risk to pets. Like herbicides, when these products are
    applied appropriately and according to the label directions, these are
    minimal concern to pets. That said, these products often are mixed with bone
    meal, which makes it attractive and palatable to dogs. While the bone meal
    does not pose a significant toxicity concern, it can result in
    gastrointestinal irritation, severe pancreatitis and a possible foreign body
    obstruction (as it creates a big "ball of bone" in the stomach). More
    importantly, this increase in palatability can greatly increase the amount
    of the pesticide

    Organophosphates and carbamates are dangerous pesticide exposures because
    they are competitive inhibitors of acetylcholinesterae. These pesticides are
    easily and rapidly absorbed from a variety of routes.4 The
    anticholinesterase properties result in clinical signs with an
    easy-to-remember acronym SLUDGE: salivation, lacrimation, urination,
    defecation, and gastroenteritis. Other clinical signs include weakness,
    bradycardia, mydriasis or miosis, ataxia, paralysis, and respiratory
    depression. Death typically occurs from severe bronchial secretions,
    resulting in the patient drowning in their lungs and secondary, severe
    hypoxemia. The two antidotes are pralidoxime chloride (2-PAM) and high dose
    atropine.2 These antidotes must be given rapidly for the best prognosis.
    Rapid decontamination in asymptomatic animals includes inducing emesis,
    gastric lavage, and activated charcoal. Once patients are clinically
    symptomatic, aggressive supportive care, oxygen saturation monitoring,
    anti-convulsant therapy, diphenhydramine for tremors, IV fluid therapy, and
    intensive monitoring is necessary.

    Fireworks: These can result in burns; injury to the mouth, eyes, or paws;
    and possible heavy metal toxicity if ingestion. Fireworks can contain iron,
    copper, barium, mercury, phosphorus and magnesium in the coloring agents.1
    The amount of heavy metal varies widely, depending on the type of fireworks,
    quantity ingested, and coloring agent used.1 Clinical symptoms seen with
    fireworks ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, tremors and
    seizures. Induction of emesis and activated charcoal are not recommended and
    animals should be immediately evaluated at a veterinary clinic for injury.

    Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria: Growth of toxic algae can be found in
    both fresh and salt water throughout the warm regions of the world.
    Blue-green algae becomes concerning when algae accumulates on the surface
    of the water during hot, dry weather with wind that can shift concentrated
    algae mats along the shorelines.1 Affected water may have the appearance of
    pea soup with thick layers of algae on the surface. Blooms of blue-green
    algae can contain hepatoxins and/or neurotoxins, depending on the species.
    Exposures occur when dogs ingest or swim in water that contains the
    cyanobateria. Clinical signs with the hepatoxin variety are vomiting,
    diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, shock, icterus, and potentially death within
    24 hours to several days. Clinical signs seen with ingestion of the
    neurotoxic species occur acutely with onset of tremors, lethargy, seizures
    and respiratory distress and death within a hour.3

    Spring and summer preventative wellness visits to the clinic are the perfect
    time for client education - these visits also serve as an opportunity to
    reminder pet owners about potential hazards that may have been out of sight
    during the colder months of the year. Education of staff and pet owners has
    proven to be the best method of preventing exposures to potentially harmful
    substances in animals. This coupled with information on when to seek prompt
    veterinary intervention and care will help keep your patients happy and
    healthy through the busy summer months ahead!

    Resources: Pet Poison Helpline (PPH) is an Animal Poison Control that
    provides treatment advice and recommendations relating to exposures to
    potential dangerous plants, products, medications, and substances, to
    veterinarians, veterinary staff and pet owners 24 hours a day, 7 days a
    week. Please be aware there is a $35.00/per case consultation fee. Pet
    Poison Helpline is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Helpline number
    is 1-800-213-6680. For further information regarding services, visit the PPH
    website at Pet Poison Helpline.
    SeaThreePeeO likes this.
  2. SeaThreePeeO

    SeaThreePeeO PetForums VIP

    Sep 15, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Fantastic post!

    Please also be aware that Cyanobacteria (blue/green algae) can also grow in cold water and can be found in many stagnant puddles, pond and ditches in the UK.

    Its that green slimy carpet like stuff you see in puddles that have been in fields for a long time.
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