Dog and Puppy Health

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Dog Health Advice - Dangerous Household Chemicals

Here's some dog health advice for you...beware of common household chemicals your dog may come in contact with that could have lethal effects.

Antifreeze, due to its sweet taste, poses an extreme danger of poisoning to a dog (or cat) that either drinks from a spill or even licks it off its fur. The antifreeze itself is not toxic, but is metabolized in the liver to a compound which causes kidney failure, and eventual seizures, and death. By the time symptoms are observed, the kidneys are usually too damaged for the dog to survive so acting quickly is important. Immediate treatment is to administer apomorphine or peroxide solution in an effort to get the animal to vomit up as much of the antifreeze as possible. Next, it is critical to immediately getting the animal to a veterinarian.

Fomepizole (Antizol Vet® by Orphan Medical) is considered the preferred treatment for treating ethylene glycol toxicoses in dogs. Ethanol can also be used in cats and dogs, however it does have several unfavorable side effects. Ethanol occupies the enzymes in the dog's liver, long enough for the unmetabolized antifreeze to be passed out harmlessly through the kidneys.

Dogs should not be allowed access to any place in which an antifreeze leak or spill has happened until the spill is completely cleaned out. Even a very small amount such as a tablespoon can easily prove fatal. Some brands of antifreeze that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol are marketed as being less harmful or less attractive to animals.

Mouse and rat poison is commonly found in the house or garage. Dogs readily eat these poisons, which look like small green blocks, and are very susceptible to them. They work by depleting stores of Vitamin K in the body. Without Vitamin K, the blood can not clot properly. Symptoms include depression, weakness, difficulty breathing, bruising, and bleeding from any part of the body. These symptoms often take 3 to 4 days to show up. A blood test will show that the blood is not clotting properly.

If the poison has only recently been ingested (within 2 to 3 hours), the dog should be given apomorphine or hydrogen peroxide to make it vomit. Activated charcoal can be given to absorb any remaining poison in the gastrointestinal tract. Then the dog is given Vitamin K supplementation for 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of poison. At the end of treatment, the clotting times should be tested again. The prognosis is good in these cases. However, if the dog is already showing signs of poisoning, it is too late to try and remove the poison from the body. A whole blood transfusion or plasma is given to treat the anemia and to try and control bleeding. Vitamin K is also given. The prognosis is poor in these cases.

There also mouse and rat poisons that contain cholecalciferol which in dogs cause hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, vomiting blood, weakness, and shock. Treatment is as above for recent exposure. When hypercalcemia occurs (which can take 1 to 2 weeks), treatment is with intravenous fluids (saline), diuretics, corticosteroids, and calcitonin. Long term prognosis is good once the dog is stabilized.

Over the counter medications should not be given without consulting with a veterinarian. Dog poisoning with pain medications is common and usually not intentional, many people just don't realize the devastating affects these drugs may have on a dog.

Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) can all cause severe symptoms in dogs, including vomiting blood, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Specifically, aspirin can cause metabolic acidosis, acetaminophen can cause liver disease, ibuprofen can cause kidney disease, and naproxen can cause ulcers in the stomach, which can perforate. Treatment depends on the symptoms. For the best Dog health advice contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in case of possible exposure.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"America is a large friendly dog in a small room.
Every time it wags it's tail it knocks over a chair." 
~ Arnold Toynbee



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