It’s not like in the movies. A person ingests vial of poison and almost instantly the results are fatal. According to Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, “you need to act fast if you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous substance, however, most toxins won’t activate immediately.”
Depending on the toxin, it could take up to 20 minutes or more for a reaction. The best plan of action is to call your pet’s veterinarian immediately. If it is a weekend or after hours and your veterinarian’s practice is closed, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435. The call is toll-free, however, a $65 consultation fee may be charged to your credit card. Based in Urbana, IL, the Center will put you in touch with an emergency veterinary clinic near your home. You can also look up the number for a veterinary emergency clinic in your area.
You won’t have to break any speeding laws to get your pet to the emergency veterinarian. “Still, you should act quickly,” said Dr. Wismer. “To save time, have the number of a nearby emergency veterinary clinic close by in case of an emergency.”
Awareness about poison prevention is in the news because March 18-24th, 2018 is National Animal Poison Prevention Week. It’s possibly due to the fact that when the weather is warmer the number of calls to the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center rises. “We usually get about 600 calls a day in the winter,” said Dr. Wismer. “That number increases in the summer; we get up to 800 calls a day then.”
Dr. Wismer suspects the increase of calls results from our being outdoors and around plants, herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides. “Our exposure is increased then and our dogs spend more time outside,” she says. “We also do more hiking then. So, it’s important to note which plants to watch out for.”
If you come across a plant that you can’t identify, Dr. Wismer recommends using the camera on your cell phone to take a photo of it and upload it to a Facebook group that identifies plants.
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