Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Top Pet Poisons and How to Avoid Them -A Guest Blog by Heather Reynolds, Trupanion Pet Insurance
Heather Reynolds is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion, North America’s fastest growing pet insurance company. Trupanion offers a simple, customizable pet insurance policy with no payout limits and 90% coverage of veterinary bills. Enrolled pets receive lifetime coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if they get sick or are injured, with no incident, annual or lifetime limit.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals releases a list every year of the top pet toxins. For the fourth time in a row, human medications topped the list. Almost 25 percent of the calls received to the poison control center were in response to pets accidentally ingesting these drugs.
The most common offenders were ibuprofen, antidepressants and ADHD medications. Here is a little more about each of these toxins:
· Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter drug used to reduce fever and relieve pain from headaches, muscle aches, backaches, and the common cold. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, and dehydration. If not treated, kidney failure may result.
· Antidepressants include a wide variety of medications such as imipramine, desimipramine, and trimipramine. Even in humans these medications cause side effects like diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and weight gain. In pets, symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, disorientation, anxiety, aggression, seizures, change in body temperature, weakness, tremors, and rash. If not treated, the pet could die.
· Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavioral disorder. Medications for this condition include Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin. In only takes a small dose of these medications to cause life-threatening health problems in pets, including tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures, and heart problems.
Pet insurance can help with the cost associated with treatment for these poisonings, but the main goal would be to avoid it in the first place. If you have medications in your home, even over-the-counter drugs, it’s important to keep them locked up or otherwise out of reach of pets at all times.
If you think your pet may have ingested human medication, call your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at 888-426-4435.