Be Prepared for Emergencies

It is important to remember to stay calm when a pet has ingested something potentially harmful. For pet owners, this may be difficult because of being scared about what may happen to the pet. For veterinary professionals, pet owners may need your assistance to calmly guide them in what to do. In these stressful and scary situations, it may be helpful for you to know what information will be asked to perform an evaluation a potential accidental poisoning.

Pet Information:

  1. Species and breed
  2. Sex of animal
  3. Age
  4. Weight
  5. Underlying medical conditions (if present) and medications
  6. Animal’s name (may be multiple animals involved) and owner/s’ last name
  7. Environmental information [Indoor? Exclusively outdoor?]

Medication:

  1. What is the exact name of the drug?
  2. Is there any formula information? [Extended release (XR), long-acting]
  3. What is the milligram strength?
  4. How many tablets are potentially missing?
  5. If the container is destroyed rendering identification impossible and a pill is found, what is the pill code printed on the tablet or capsule?

Plant:

  1. What is the exact name of the plant? Try to find out the scientific and common name of the plant. If it is unknown what kind of a plant it is, it should be taken to the nearest greenhouse for identification.
  2. Is it a houseplant, outdoor plant, or weed?
  3. Which part was ingested – bulb, leaves, flowers, berries, stems, fruit?
  4. Approximately how much was ingested?

Household or garden chemical:

  1. What is the exact name of product with the brand name?
  2. What are the active ingredients?
  3. Is there an EPA register number? If the product can’t be identified by name, this number will serve as identification.
  4. What are the label warnings?

Rodenticides:

  1. What is the active ingredient and the concentration?
  2. What was the net weight of the product to begin with and how much remains?
  3. What is the exact name of the product, with the brand name?
  4. If the package is destroyed? Again, is there a visible EPA register number?

Scenario: What exactly has transpired?

  1. How long ago did this ingestion occur? If it happened while the owner was away, how long was the dog or cat alone?
  2. Is the pet showing any behavioral or physical abnormalities at this time?
    What are the vitals and physical exam findings?
  3. Is there any CNS depression or stimulation?
  4. Is there evidence of burns to the mouth, drooling, pawing at the face, etc?
  5. Have any at-home or in clinic treatments been performed?

If you need assistance evaluating a potentially toxicity, please do not hesitate to contact Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680.