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Poison prevention means 'keep out of reach' for pets, too

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Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners referral medicine hospitals here are encouraging people to also remember their pets during National Poison Prevention Week.

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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 poisons, it is equally important to remember to take precautions for pets," said Dr. Annie Wright, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine with BluePearl here. "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:

1. Prescription human medications

2. Insecticides

3. Over-the-counter human medications

4. Veterinary products and medications

5. Household products

6. People food

7. Chocolate

8. Plants

9. Rodenticides

10. 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.

Furthermore, with Easter just around the corner, it's important to recognize that lilies are deadly to cats.

Antifreeze is another toxic substance pets are often attracted to. 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 two different types of rodenticides with two 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 poisonous, get him or her to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately," said Wright. "Time can ultimately be the difference between life and death."

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