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Poison prevention means keep out of reach for pets, too

Doctors from Michigan Veterinary Specialists are encouraging people to also remember their pets during National Poison Prevention Week.

National Poison Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday. The purpose is to create awareness and prevent injury or death due to poisoning.

“While many precautions are taken to prevent humans from being exposed to toxins, it is equally important to remember to take precautions for pets,” said Dr. Sayra Reyes, senior emergency clinician at Michigan Veterinary Specialists. “A good way to do this is to know what types of items can be toxic to pets.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the top 10 pet toxins of 2012 were:

Prescription human medications

Insecticides

Over-the-counter human medications

Veterinary products and medications

Household products

People food

Chocolate

Plants

Rodenticides

Lawn and garden products

Additionally, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, the sugar substitute xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets.

While rodenticides may not be intended for pets, they are designed to attract animals. Should pets encounter these indiscriminate poisons, the condition is life-threatening and the pet must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Antifreeze is another toxic substance pets are often attracted to due to its sweet taste. If ingested, pets can almost certainly die if the condition is left untreated.

If a pet does ingest something that may be toxic, make sure to bring the label or packaging of the substance with you to your veterinarian. For example, there are different types of rodenticides with different forms of treatment. It’s important for veterinarians to know what substance they are treating for.

“Most importantly, if you believe your pet has gotten into something that may be toxic, get him or her to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Reyes. “Time can ultimately be the difference between life and death.”

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