The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL handled more than 167,000 calls involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Nearly 16% of those calls were from pet parents whose pets got into medicines intended for human use, putting this category at the top of the toxin list for the seventh year in a row.
Here are the 10 most common pet toxins of 2014 ranked in order of call volume:
- Human prescription medications are most often exposed to pets, as mentioned above. The prescriptions that caused the most concern correlated with the most popular medications prescribed to humans.
- Over-the-counter medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, attracted greater concern this year than in previous years resulting in approximately 25,000 calls. This category is exceptionally large, encompassing more than 6,900 different products.
- Insecticides dropped to the third slot this year, comprising 9.1% of calls to the APCC (15,000 cases). These products can be very dangerous, especially if the label directions are not followed.
- Household items were the cause for concern in more than 13,500 cases, especially paints and cleaning products.
- Human foods are appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals. Approximately 13,200 cases involved human foods in 2014.
- Veterinary medications made up 7% of total cases in 2014. Pet parents should be aware that chewable medications are very tasty and pets might ingest an entire bottle if it is not kept out of their reach.
- Chocolate ingestion is very common. At the APCC, chocolate calls make up 6% of the total call volume—more than 30 calls a day! The darker the chocolate, the more potential it has to do harm.
- Plants represent approximately 5% of the calls to the APCC and moved up a spot since 2014. Most of these calls involve cats and houseplants.
- Rodenticides are made to kill mice and rats, but they can also kill pets if ingested. APCC handled more than 7,500 calls about rodenticides last year.
- Lawn and garden products round out the top ten, accounting for about 2.7% of all calls. Many of these exposures occurred because people did not store lawn and garden products out of the reach of pets.
If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.
Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.