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May 2008

Monthly Archive

First Aid: Poisoning in Pets

Posted by admin @ 4:27 AM, Friday May 9th, 2008

All owners of dogs on Nevis should be aware that dogs are routinely poisoned-for a variety of reasons.
It is against the Nevis “Protection of Animals Act” a law first enacted in 1935-yet the law is not enforced today. Usually, the reason given is that dogs are poisoned by angered goat or sheep herders who have had their herds attacked. The goat owner might not know the specific dog that attacked their animal so will set out poison in the village- perhaps poisoning all the dogs (and cats) along a road for example. This poison is usually bits of fish or meat laced with poison, wrapped in a small piece of tin foil, left on the ground for a hungry animal to find, be it cat, dog and even mongoose. Many animals here are hungry as they are not fed but are left to rummage in garbage bins-thus the local term “Dung bin dogs.”
Often times, dogs are poisoned while in their yards-for no apparent reason. Be sure your dog is properly contained in your yard, but also be extremely alert if you walk your dog as poison can be placed anywhere at any time-even on the beach. It is also against the law in Nevis for goats and sheep to roam free. Years ago when there was more farming done on the Island the laws were enforced more often. If you see roaming animals you might report it to the police and suggest they enforce the law.
There is a very fast acting poison that is being smuggled into Nevis and causes death within 20 minutes. If you find any unusual foil packets in your yard be very cautious on handling it and report it to the police. You might suggest that the laws be enforced here as well.
The best and perhaps only thing you can do against this lethal substance is to prevent your dog from ever eating it by training the dog to never drink or eat anything except what is placed in their bowl. You can do this by having other people offer the dog pieces of meat with hot pepper outside the bowl and placing plain meat in the bowl. Also do the same with their water. Do this repeatedly until you are satisfied that the dog will not be tempted by any food or liquid source outside its bowl.
What should I do if I suspect that my pet has been poisoned?

First - call your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-800-548-2423 or 1-900-680-0000. In Nevis you can call Dr. Barlette at 469-0878, if it is during working hours during the week, or Ross University has a vet on call at all times. Their community practice number is 466-3056. If it is after hours there will be a message with the number of the person on call.

Have the following information available if possible:

  • Exact name of the plant or poison.
  • How much the animal ate or came in contact with.
  • How long ago exposure or ingestion occurred.
  • The animal’s vital signs (temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, capillary refill time, and mucous membrane color.
  • The animal’s weight.

Specific home therapy is based on ridding the pets’ body of the toxin.
Topical poisons: Wash the animal with large volumes of water. If your pet is having a reaction to a flea product a mild hand soap or shampoo can be used. If an oil-based toxin (such as petroleum products), use dishwashing liquids. If the poison is in the eye, flush with large volumes of water. If the poison is a powder, you need to dust or vacuum it off.
Inhaled poisons
Take the animal to fresh air as fast as possible.
Ingested Poisons: It may or may not be ok to induce vomiting, always check with your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control Center first. With some caustic substances it may be appropriate to administer milk, but this needs to be decided on a case to case basis. Do not induce vomiting in the following circumstances.

  • The animal is having difficulty breathing
  • The animal is seizuring, depressed or abnormally excited.
  • The animal is unconscious.
  • The toxin is a caustic like drain opener, an acid (battery) or a petroleum-based product.
  • The heart rate is very slow. 
Cat Normal Rate = 160-220 beats/minute   
Dog Normal Rate =
    Small less than 30 lbs. 100-160 bpm 
    Medium to large. 60-100 bpm 
    Puppy 120-160 bpm
  • The object eaten was pointed or sharp.
  • When the poison container says not to.

How to induce vomiting: Give household hydrogen peroxide 3% orally at a dose of one teaspoon (5ml) per 10 pounds (5kg) of body weight. This may be repeated every 15 to 20 minutes up to three times.  No peroxide?    Place 1 teaspoon of table salt into the animals’ mouth.
Always save the vomitus to show your veterinarian.
Warning!    Never use Ipecac syrup which may be toxic to dogs and cats.

Some plants that are poisonous to pets…

Aloe Vera (Medicine Plant)
Andromeda japonica
Apple (Seeds)
Apple Leaf Croton
Asparagus Fern
Autumn Crocus
Avocado (fruit & pit)
Baby’s Breath
Bird of Paradise
Birdsnest sansovioria
Branching Ivy
Buddhist Pine
Calla Lily
Castor Bean
Cherry (seeds & wilting leaves)
Chinaberry Tree (berries, bark, leaves, flowers)
Chinese Evergreen
Christmas Cactus
Christmas Rose
Corn Plant
Cornstalk Plant
Cuban Laurel
Day Lily (cats)
Dragon Tree
Dumb Cane (all types)
Easter Lily (especially cats)
Elephant Ears
Emerald Feather
English Ivy
Fiddle-leaf Fig
Flamingo Plant
Florida Beauty
German Ivy
Glacier Ivy
Glory Lily
Golden Pothos
Hahn’s Self-Branching
Heavenly Bamboo
Hurricane Plant
Indian Laurel
Indian Rubber Plant
Japanese Show Lily (sepecially cats)
Jade Plant
Jerusalem Cherry
Kalanchoe (Panda Bear Plant)
Lily of the Valley
Macadamia Nut
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Marble Queen
Minature Croton
Morning Glory
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
Needlepoint Ivy
Norfolk Pine
Oriental Lily (especially cats)
Peace Lily
Peach (wilting leaves & pits)
Pencil Cactus
Philodendron (all types)
Plum (wilting leaves and seeds)
Plumosa Fern
Poinsetta (low toxicity)
Poison Ivy
Poison Oak
Precatory Bean
Primrose (Primula)
Red Emerald
Red Princess
Ribbon Plant
Sago Palm
Satin Pothos
Silver Pothos
String of Pearls/Beads
Sweetheart Ivy
Swiss Cheese Plant
Taro Vine
Tiger Lily (especially cats)
Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem & leaves)
Varigated Rubber Plant
Wandering Jew
Weeping Fig
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
This list only represents the more common toxic plants. 
For a more complete list you may contact the National Animal Poison Control Center at
1-800-548-2423 or 1-900-680-0000

Always assume a plant can be harmful unless you know that it isn’t.

Preparing your animals before a storm

Posted by admin @ 4:26 AM, Friday May 9th, 2008

All pet owners should have a kit for their pets, which should include:

  • Supply of food for 7 days in an airtight, water proof container
  • Drinking water
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Vaccination records and physical description for each pet
  • For dogs include–leash, collar and a sturdy carrier
  • For cats include–litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier

It is also recommended that you:

  • Keep your animals with you; if you must leave an animal outside, do not leave him tethered.
  • Place the pet emergency supply kit by the door so it is ready to go if you need to evacuate quickly
  • Make sure your pet has visible identification on right now
  • Talk with a trusted neighbor who can care for your pets if you are away

Owners of livestock animals including goats, cows, chickens and pigs should remember:

  • Livestock especially goats should not be tied during storms as it prevents them from seeking shelter from high water and blowing debris.
  • Ensure that poultry have access to high areas in which to perch, if they are in a flood-prone area, as well as to food and clean water.
  • Remove all barbed wire, and consider rerouting permanent fencing so that animals may move to high ground in a flood and to low-lying areas during high winds.
  • Obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week as water supplies are often contaminated during a disaster.
  • Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris, if you have boats, feed troughs, or other large containers, fill them with water before the hurricane. This prevents them from blowing around and also gives you an additional supply of water.
  • The leading causes of death of large animals in hurricanes and similar events are collapsed barns, dehydration, electrocution, and accidents resulting from fencing failure. If you own farm animals, you should take precautions to protect them from these hazards.