Clients need to know that when an animal comes into contact with a poisonous substance of any kind, the outcome could be fatal. Offer your clients these 5 tips to help them in the event their pet has been poisoned.
#1. Decide if the substance is a poison
In order to get the animal the right type of therapy, it is important to try to find out what was ingested.
When the substance is known, information regarding the type of treatment needed or for obtaining an appropriate antidote may be quickly available. If unknown, it is imperative to try to quickly determine if the ingested substance was a poison, and if so, what type.
For example, if the substance was in a container, were its contents identified?
- Is there a label that categorizes any active ingredients?
- Are there directions on the container for steps to take in case of accidental poisoning?
- Is there a phone number to call for safety information?
If no information is available, determine if there are any remnants of what the animal was seen chewing on, and without touching it with bare hands, collect it in a bag.
#2. Poisoning is an emergency that requires immediate treatment
No time should be wasted when seeking help for a poisoned pet; the animal is in an urgent emergency situation.
To initiate help and shorten the time spent waiting, immediate phone contact should be made with a person trained to treat a poisoning, for example:
Once contact has been made, be prepared to answer the following information:
- Description of the animal
- Name and description of the substance, including the label information. If possible, send the contact a picture of the container and label.
- Time when the animal was exposed to or ingested the substance
- Amount of substance that the animal was exposed to or ingested
- Description of symptoms, for example:
- Has the animal vomited?
- Is it bleeding? From where?
- Does the animal show neurological involvement?
- Is the animal having breathing difficulties or convulsions, or is it unconscious?
#3. Take the pet in for veterinary treatment
If at any point the animal shows signs that the poison is progressing, do not wait, it is absolutely necessary to get it in for emergency veterinary care.
When heading for care, anything associated with the poisoning may provide the veterinarian with important information. Make sure to bring along:
- The substance container, along with all of its packaging and labels
- What the animal was chewing on when the poisoning occurred
- A sample of the animal’s vomit in a plastic bag if it vomited
#4. Transporting the Animal
Transporting an animal that has been poisoned requires special care. To ensure the safety of the owner and animal, it is advised to have a second person drive the vehicle.
Calm, sedate, or comatose animals can be wrapped loosely in a blanket and placed in vehicle for transport.
Remember: Animals in pain will be scared or confused, and even the gentlest pet may bite or scratch. To prevent the people in the vehicle from being harmed, take the following precautions:
- Stay away from its mouth
- Do not attempt to hug pet
- Stay calm, move slow, be gentle
- Stop touching the animal if it becomes agitated
- If the animal is in pain, care must be taken to:
- Keep it from moving around in the vehicle while avoiding further injury
- Place the animal in a pet carrier or crate to reduce the risk of additional injuries
Muzzling an animal may help reduce the chance of being bitten, but a muzzle should never be used if the animal is vomiting or experiencing breathing distress.
In an emergency, time is of the essence. Clients need to know that there are things they can take care of ahead of time that will help to eliminate lost minutes.
Advise your clients to gather the following and locate it in a place for instant, easy access:
- Contact information, including phone and address for:
- Emergency veterinary clinic
- Poison control
- Local emergency room
- Contact information of family, friends, or neighbors to call in case of an emergency
- First aid kit
- Transport kit comprised of traveling crate, leash, collar, blankets
When an animal ingests a poisonous substance, there is no time to waste. Informed clients are better prepared to quickly get their pet the help it needs.
For further information related to pets and poisons, please contact your Henry Schein representative at: 855.SCHEIN.1 (724-3461)