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March is National Poison Prevention Month

Toxin ingestion is a regular fright in emergency veterinary medicine, especially with our canine friends! In previous years, the most common toxins ingested by pets were human prescription medications. In 2015, prescription medications were surpassed by over-the-counter medications (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and nasal decongestants). Here are a few pointers to help you avoid and address accidental intoxications with your furry family members:

Ensure all medications (over-the-counter, prescription, and veterinary) are stored in a secure location. If given the chance, dogs can easily chew through “child-proof” medication bottles.

Become familiar with toxic foods, plants, and household items. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has many lists of common toxins to get you started: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

In case of an accidental intoxication, the two numbers to call are your family veterinarian and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435). The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is equipped with trained medical professionals who are able to help you and your veterinarian promptly and effectively address the intoxication. A $65 consultation fee is associated with the phone call to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Your veterinarian is able to repeatedly call to consult with the toxin experts while managing your pet’s care, at no additional charge, once the consultation has been started.

Rapid response is critical for a positive outcome in toxin cases, so don’t delay in seeking veterinary care and poison control assistance if you ever experience this scare with your four-legged family members.