Have you ever had your cat eat something she shouldn’t have? What about dropping one of your birth control pills on the floor and that quick Fido swallows it? Or maybe Fluffy got into the batch of brownies you just baked? Chances are you ended up at the veterinary hospital after such an event. As veterinarians, we get asked all kinds of questions as to possible toxicities. It is difficult to have all the answers sometimes, especially with more obscure medication ingestion. We turn to a service called “Pet Poison Helpline”. Pet Poison Helpline (http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/) is a wonderful service offered to any pet owner or veterinarian for a small fee of $49 per case. They have toxicologists available 24/7 to help owners and vets determine if an ingestion was toxic, what clinical signs may show up, and how to treat and monitor the patient through their toxicity.
Tonight, we utilized this service. Sneaky Sandra came into our office on emergency basis after ingesting her owners’ medications. Sandra slurped 4 different pills off of the table while her owner was grabbing a glass of water. A little while later, Sneaky Sandra had vomited and began to tremble. Her owners did the right thing in bringing her in to be seen. We examined Sandra and called Pet Poison Helpline on behalf of the owners. Sandra’s toxicity case was entered into their database. A veterinary toxicologist then led our veterinary team through determining if a poisoning had occurred, what treatments are necessary, and signs to watch for. Luckily, Sneaky Sandra ingested 4 different medications that were ALL basically benign since she only ate one of each medication. The toxicologist determined Sandra had not been poisoned more than possible having some excitement followed by sedation.
As a veterinarian, I really appreciate the help Pet Poison Helpline’s toxicologists can give us. Poisonings are so different from patient to patient that it is hard to know all the details about each one. Also, if not treated correctly from start to finish, they can be deadly. Another good thing about Pet Poison Helpline is that as an owner, if your cat eats a plant at 4am in the morning, you can call and talk with a toxicologist to determine if you need to hop in the car to the emergency veterinarian. Let’s hope as a pet owner you never have to use it, but if you do…please know Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661 is always available for your assistance.