Poisoning in a puppy. Yes, the vet’s puppy.

Updated November 29, 2020

sick puppy

Just to to prove it happens to us all, here is Loki’s recent health emergency and some advice on how to identify and avoid pet poisons.
Four days ago Andrew’s 9 week Jack Russell Terrier was doing his usual morning routine of running around the garden seeing what could be destroyed or eaten. He was of course under supervision but all the same was darting in and out of sight among the bushes. All seemed fine but only ten minutes later he suddenly looked extremely unwell, vomited and passed diarrhoea. It was obvious something was terribly wrong so he was immediately rushed to the surgery.

During the ten minute trip his condition rapidly worsened until he became so weak he could not stand and seemed to be only semi-conscious. Once arrived, it was obvious on a physical exam that he was experiencing a life-threatening poisoning and it was assumed to be via something he had ingested.

Supportive care was instituted and his condition stabilised. Two hours later, he began to show signs of recovery and after four hours as the second picture shows he was almost back to normal. Note the chewed drip line.

During the day, a pile of his vomit was examined, revealing some seeds. A thorough search of the garden and cross-matching with our resources came up with an answer: English Ivy (Hedera helix).

The lessons from this episode are:

  1. You can’t be too careful with a puppy. They seem to almost be trying to poison themselves at this age. Read about the most common pet poisons in Adelaide. Also note the common food toxins at Dangerous foods for pets
  2. The faster they receive help the better. If they have ingested a poison, the faster we can treat them the less they will absorb. Under 30 minutes is ideal.
  3. Find out in advance what the threats are in your garden (there are always some). A good resource is the ASPCA database
  4. Get to know in advance where to find your nearest after hours emergency vet. Our recommendation is the AEC. Their details and map are at Emergency vet care

Have something to add? Comments (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

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