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Toxins or Ingestions in Pets

Ingestion of foreign substances such as medications, plants or other non-food items is a common reason that pets require a visit to the emergency room.  


Many types of ingestions are benign and are not expected to cause problems, while others can be life-threatening.  Some ingestions are dangerous based on the dose of the substance ingested.  


It can be very difficult to determine whether or not an ingestion is expected to be a problem for your pet, but there are resources available that can help!  

  • Doctors and technicians within our emergency department can help you determine if there is a possible toxicity based on an exposure for your pet.  Please call us at 352-225-3501 for guidance. 




  • Pet Poison Helpline is a 24/7 support center staffed by toxicologists and veterinarians that can determine whether an exposure provides a threat to your pet (855-764-7661).  If veterinary care is indicated based on exposure, they can also provide guidance to the veterinary care team.  They charge an $85 fee for this service (per exposure). The ASPCA also provides a 24 hour fee-based helpline: 888-426-4435.

Treatment for Toxins in Pets

Treatment that may be rendered for your pet depends on the type and amount of exposure, the timing of exposure, as well as the size and overall health status of your pet.  


Some exposures may not require any treatment at all, while others may require intensive therapy to avoid or mitigate serious complications. 


Examples of some treatments that can be used to treat toxin ingestions include: 

  • Induced vomiting 

  • Gastric lavage (stomach pumping)

  • Activated charcoal therapy to prevent absorption of toxins from the intestines

  • IV or subcutaneous fluid therapy to help the body eliminate toxins

  • Lipid therapy or dialysis to remove toxins from the bloodstream 

  • Surgery or endoscopy to remove items that are too large to pass through the intestines on their own

  • Pain medications or supportive care to help alleviate pain or discomfort associated with toxin ingestion

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