Common Poisons

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Common Poisons 2017-03-22T21:57:07+00:00

If you think your dog may have eaten any of the following contact the surgery immediately for advice.

Rat Bait

Accidental rat bait ingestion is the most common poisoning we see. Rat baits are usually warfarin derivatives and cause uncontrolled haemorrhage. Signs are not usually apparent for 5-7 days after ingestion and they include lethargy, pale gums, respiratory distress and haemorrhage which may be invisible i.e. bleeding into abdominal cavity. Treatment depends upon the time after ingestion. If the bait has been eaten in the last 2 hours we can give the dog an injection to induce vomiting. After the first few hours treatment with large doses of Vitamin K can prevent the dog becoming symptomatic. If the animal is presented when it is showing clinical signs of anaemia a blood transfusion is usually required.


The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. The highest levels are found in dark and cooking chocolate. As little as 5grams can be toxic for the average Jack Russell. Common signs include vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and poor coordination.


Most types of automotive antifreeze contain ethylene glycol. Ingestion causes acute renal failure

Blue Green Algae

There are many different species of blue green algae and only some are toxic. They are found in fresh, brackish and sea water throughout the UK. Warm waters and sunny weather can produce algal blooms which can be extremely toxic. Preventing exposure is very difficult, but as a general rule be wary of still water in summer particularly if there is a ‘scum’ around the water margins.

Other common toxins of varying importance include:

  • Horse Chestnut Trees (bark/leaves and flowers)
  • Peanuts, groundnuts, monkey nuts
  • Caffeine
  • Some herbicides e.g. Diquat Dibromide, Glyphosphate
  • Bluebells
  • Slug Bait
  • Paracetamol
  • Pot pourri
  • Grapes
  • Bulbs