Nova Scotia woman's dogs put down after inhaling toxic material: Signs of pet poisoning
Read on for the signs and symptoms of pet poisoning, and how you can prevent it.
A Nova Scotia woman's dogs had to be put down after they ingested a toxic substance.
Sonia German owned a five-year-old Alaskan malamute and a two-year-old Shiba Inu, who soon experienced kidney failure after someone likely poisoned them.
In late December, German's home security camera captured a theft outside her house in Greenwood. The assailant also spray painted her garage door and slashed her car tires.
Around the same time as the attack, German let her dogs outside. Until she checked the footage later, she didn't realize the vandalism was taking place.
Upon reflection, German believes the attackers could have poisoned the dogs at the same time. Nova Scotia RCMP are investigating the incident.
Since the event, German wants to warn other pet owners of the dangers associated with pet poisoning.
She said her pups first had an upset stomach for a few days, followed by them refusing to eat or drink. By the third day, German explained her dog's symptoms rapidly declined.
"I was like OK, something is very wrong," German said to CBC after taking her dogs to the vet.
A urine sample later revealed kidney failure in both dogs.
After an unsuccessful attempt at fluid therapy, German had to put her both of her dogs down.
A necropsy report conducted by Nova Scotia's Animal Health Laboratory stated the dogs ingested ethylene glycol, which is commonly found in antifreeze.
German said she had no antifreeze in the house and the pups didn't leave her backyard all day.
She added that if she knew the early signs of pet poisoning, such as lethargy, nausea and inability to eat or drink, she would have seen a vet sooner.
"If your dog is vomiting more than a couple of times in a day, you should definitely go get them checked out right away," German said, as delayed treatment is often not effective.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about pet poisoning.
What is pet poisoning?
In general, pet poisoning occurs due to swallowing, inhaling, ingesting, touching or injecting certain toxins, drugs, chemicals or gases. This can result in injury or death.
Commonly, an unintentional accident causes pets to be poisoned, such as pets getting into things they shouldn't — especially around the holiday season.
In other cases, pets have been exposed to toxic substances with malicious intent, such as what could have happened to German's dogs.
What are the signs and symptoms of pet poisoning?
Early warning signs and symptoms of poisoning in pets can vary depending on the type, severity and amount of poison. Generally, symptoms fall into a few categories:
Symptoms caused by swallowed poisons: vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to eat or drink, agitation and heart issues
Symptoms caused by inhaled toxins: breathing difficulties or loss of consciousness
Symptoms caused by touching poisons: irritation and pain
Like German's case, some symptoms can take a number of days to appear, so it's important to always monitor your pet for changes in behaviour.
What do I do if I suspect my pet has been poisoned?
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society first urges pet owners to stay calm.
If your pet is not showing immediate signs of illness, remain as relaxed as possible and contact your local veterinarian, veterinary hospital, or 24-hour emergency poison hotline such as the 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center at 855-764-7661.
The center may help to determine if the substance your animal has been exposed to is harmful, as not all toxins mean your furry friend needs to be seen by a vet.
On the other hand, your pet requires immediate treatment if they show unusual symptoms such as difficulty breathing, seizures, profuse vomiting or loss of consciousness. Do not try to perform any first aid yourself — wait for a professional.
If your veterinary clinic is closed, you must find a pet hospital that is open after hours. The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society recommends having this information on hand at all times in case of emergencies.
Moreover, if you suspect poisoning, it is helpful to veterinarians if you can provide the symptoms you observed, as well as the toxin ingested, the amount of it, and how long ago they were exposed to the substance.
What are common substances that cause pet poisoning?
Your home, garden and garage are filled with substances that are toxic to pets. It's important to know where your pet is at all times, and keep them out of reach of potential poisons.
As per the Ontario Humane Society, some common household substances that are poisonous to pets are:
Any prescription or OTC drugs such as painkiller and cold medications
Insecticides and insect control products
Certain household plants like like poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, pine and amaryllis
Chemical baits for mice and other small rodents
Cleaning products such as disinfectants, bleaches and detergents
Other potentially toxic items include tobacco, alcohol, xylitol, acorns and furniture polish.
How can I prevent pet poisoning?
As always, preventing harm to your animal is essential to it's overall well-being.
Make sure to keep chemicals, cleaning products, certain foods and other substances safely stored in areas where your pet won’t find them.
Additionally, it's important to be aware of any containers or packaging that may leak the chemical or substance it contains.
Lastly, educate yourself and other pet owners on the signs and symptoms of pet poisoning, so immediate action can take place.
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