Poison Prevention Awareness Month.

by Dr. Shelby

The concerned voice I was hearing through my headset wasn’t unusual.  Many pet parents call every day with concerns about their beloved furry children. However, this particular call reminded me of one of my greatest pet peeves.

The question was easy to answer.  Daisy, a domestic medium hair cat, had been to see her veterinarian earlier in the day and had received three vaccines.  Now she was lethargic and not eating, acting as if she was in pain, and felt feverish.  The owner was thinking of giving her some Advil, but had decided to check with us first to see if that was the correct thing to do.  Even after all the years I have been a veterinarian, the very thought of giving a cat something like Advil struck terror to my heart.  A small dosage of it, along with many other over the counter and prescription medications, can kill a cat or dog. 

I’m particularly bothered by cases like this because of the lack of public awareness about the toxicity to our pets of many everyday items, including medications, food, household chemicals, and plants.  This pet parent did the right thing and checked with a veterinarian first.  I have sadly seen far too many cases involving animals whose owners did not check first and instead, just gave the toxin in question.  Antifreeze, rat poison, chocolate, many household plants …. even onions and garlic are all hazardous to your pet’s health.  Sometimes, the exposure is accidental.  Sometimes, it is deliberate, resulting from a desire to help the pet and a lack of knowledge about toxins.  In either case, it is very sad. 

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month for Pets and March 20-26 is National Poison Prevention week.   Please, won’t you put it on your calendar to learn as much as possible about the many everyday substances that can harm your precious pet.  Your newly gained knowledge can literally save your pet’s life.  It saved Daisy’s.