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Monday, October 15, 2012

Household toxins - cats

I was reading an interesting article, here are some highlights.

NSAIDs top the lists, these are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like acetominopphen and aspirin.  Some anti-depressants seem to attract cats also.  The cat doesn't handle these drugs well, and all ingestions are considered toxic.  Treatment is aimed at removing the offending stubstance and diluting it in the blood with fluids.   Sometimes a specific anti-toxin is available (n-acetylcysteine for acetominophen), but charcoal may be the only thing available.  Kidney and liver damage and failure are the usual outcome, but many do well for years after if they are caught early enough and treated aggressively.

I already talked about plants and a link to APHIS, but lilies are on the worst plants ever list.  The flowers can drop petals and they are just as toxic as the leaves, stamen, etc.  True lilies are the culprits, while Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies cause less severe issues.  Assume all lilies are toxic and get rid of it or lock it away from touch and chew.  Again treatment is aimed at detoxifying and diluting, hospital stays are mandatory.

Bug toxicants (either for the yard and house or dogs) claim the next spot.  The usual detoxify and dilute are used here, but we add WASH IT OFF.  Most insecticides are on the surface (even the flea and tick stuff for dogs), so they can be decreased just by washing the cat with a safe detergent.  Getting the cat into your ER vet is still necessary for all the other treatments.

Surface chemicals - this includes anything you use to clean that the cat can touch (feet, hair), lick, spill, or inhale.  If they can get it into or on them, they can react to it.  Depending on the chemical (bleach, cleaners, perfumes, etc) the signs can be local (mouth burn) to systemic (vomiting, kidney failure) and will require the above detoxify and dilute again.  The best way to keep chemicals away from a cat is to keep the door closed when using them, letting them dry completely before allowing access, and keeping the SEALED bottles put away.

Everything else that cats can ingest, spill on themselves, or come in contact with may be a toxin or allergen.  The more odd it is, the more likely it will cause harm.  Even "safe" items for dogs and humans can intoxicate your cat.  A list is available at most vet sites (CSU, Cornell, MSU, AVDC, etc) of toxins and other interesting things cat owners should know.  I prefer the vet school sites because their stuff has been checked and rechecked.  The other more commercial sites have some misinformation in them that can lead to more problems.  Just google vet school owner info to find good links.

Thanks for reading, and keepp your kitties safe.

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