UK pet owners are being urged to prevent access to medications following a large increase in pet poisoning reports according to Marks and Spencer pet insurance.
The growing problem of pet poisonings has resulted in a 34% year-on-year increase in reported cases to Vetfone, a 24-hour advice line available to M&S Pet Insurance policy holders.
One of the major increases of poisonings has been caused by nicotine based products, such as patches, chewing gum and inhalers. Nictoine becomes toxic to dogs at five milligrams per pound pet bodyweight and a 10mg/lb dose can be fatal.
An indication of the strength of nicotine products is seen when comparing a cigarette which contains 15-25 milligrams of nicotine to nicotine patches which can
contain far more at between 8-114 milligrams of nicotine. Even nicotine inhalers contain around 10 milligrams of nicotine. Symptoms of toxicity are dose-dependent and include tremors, weakness, depression and vomiting.
Louise O’Dwyer, Vetfone Operations Manager & Senior Emergency Vet Nurse, commented... "It's very concerning that there has been such a large increase in reported pet poisonings. Nicotine poisoning can be particularly serious. Remember prevention is better than cure, so ensure products such as cigarettes, nicotine patches and gums and even ashtrays containing cigarette butts are kept away from your pets reach."
If you suspect that your pet has swallowed household medication, you should first try and identify what’s been eaten, by recovering packaging such as blister packs or boxes and then seek immediate veterinary advice.