What to do when your pet is poisoned

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Whether it be due to bite from a venomous snake or accidental inhalation or ingestion something toxic, poisoning is a dangerous condition. The life of your furry or feathered friend depends upon your immediate response. Do you know what to do if your pet has been poisoned?

  1. Identify the symptoms
    If your pet has inhaled or ingested poison, the symptoms manifested would include any or all of the following:
    • Breathing difficulties, coughing,
    • Vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, changes in frequency of urination or voiding, blood in stools, urine or vomit,
    • Change in heart rates,
    • Disorientation, lethargy or restlessness, loss of mobility, seizures and loss of consciousness.

    Contact poisons can result in swelling, reddening, bleeding, itching, sensitivity or pain in the area. Your pet may respond by continuously licking or scratching the skin.

  2. Identify the source of poisoning
    Stay calm and collected. Nothing can be achieved by panicking. Remove your pet from the vicinity of the toxin, but only after ensuring your own safety. If possible, collect all details regarding the source and extent of poisoning. What was the toxin that your pet was exposed to? Is it a plant, venomous animal, contaminated food, toxic substance or medicine? With more details, the vet would be in a better position to help your pet and it would improve the chances of a full recovery.
  3. Get help
    Contact your vet or the local pet emergency helpline as soon as possible. While talking to the vet, it is critical that you provide all the necessary information correctly and clearly. Points to convey include symptoms, details of the suspected toxin, and vital information regarding your pet such as age, gender, breed, weight, and medical history.
  4. Collect samples
    If possible without jeopardizing your own safety, try to collect the samples of the suspected source of poisoning. It is best if stool, vomit or discharge samples are also be collected as evidence to aid the vet in testing for the toxin.
  5. Give first aid; but only if a trained medical professional has instructed you to
    Some home remedies such as inducing vomiting or giving the animal anything else to eat may in fact be more harmful than helpful. Do not try out anything unless under the specific instructions of a pet poison expert.
  6. Rush the poisoned animal to the nearest facility
    As instructed by the pet poison expert contacted, transport your pet to the nearest vet or emergency clinic as soon as possible. Keep your pet company while someone else drives the vehicle. However, if the toxin that poisoned your pet is harmful to humans, make sure that you do not come into direct contact with it by exposure to the bodily secretions of your pet.

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