Acute or unexpected (sudden) poisoning of pets is one of the urgent problems that concern owners, although they are not so common in veterinary practice (1-2% of all cases of the disease). When the symptoms that accompany the poisoning occur, pet owners often begin to succumb to excessive emotionality and assume that their pets have been poisoned by either neighbors or ill-wishers. Although, most often, the cause of such sad incidents is negligence, carelessness of people, which results in the availability of substances that can lead to poisoning. Since the nature of the dog is a very curious creature, when examining the world around it, it can easily meet with poisonous substances, poisonous plants, the corpses of animals (mice, rats) killed by poisoning, etc. It should also be remembered that they are most prone to poisoning underfed, emaciated animals, whose food is systematically lacking not only vitamins and minerals, but simply nutrients. Poisons, getting into the gastrointestinal tract, dissolve in the digestive juices (enzymes). Of course, the severity of poisoning depends on:
a) the amount of poison affecting the body;
b) the degree of dissolution of the poison.
If the poisonous substance is well soluble in enzymes, then it is absorbed into the blood faster and with its current spreads throughout the body, often catastrophically affecting all systems and organs, moreover, quickly and actively. Therefore, even emergency assistance is not always effective when ingested well-soluble poisons. Otherwise, the situation is with poorly soluble poisons, which are absorbed by the body much more slowly and their destructive effect is not so vast and fast. However, in the first and second cases, the most emergency measures should be taken to provide first aid and subsequent veterinary care;
c) toxicity of the poison
If the poisons are super-toxic, their ingestion in an amount of up to 5 mg / kg of the animal’s weight causes its inevitable death. Substances that are very toxic when they enter the body in an amount of 5 mg to 0.5 g per 1 kg of animal weight cause its death. Moderately toxic substances, when! ingestion of 0.5-2 g per 1 kg of body weight; animal cause death. Low toxic substances – from 2 g or more per 1 kg of animal weight.
Symptoms of poisoning may vary. Depending on the chemical structure of the toxic substance, poisoning can manifest itself in different ways. Acute cases of poisoning are usually characterized by a sudden onset and clearly expressed clinical manifestations. Chronic poisoning, on the contrary, develops gradually, without a clear clinical picture, therefore it is difficult to recognize it not only to the owner of the animal, but also to the veterinarian. Once in the body, the poison affects the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, skin, etc. The main picture of acute damage to various systems and organs occurs immediately after poisoning. The animal cannot stand on its feet, falls, its head twitches, it can gnash its teeth. Repeated vomiting, profuse salivation and body cramps appear. With the “darkening” of consciousness, the animal can be excited and aggressive. In some cases of poisoning, on the contrary, the animal is depressed, clogs into a dark corner, listlessly, does not respond to external stimuli. In these cases, damage to vital organs develops within a few hours and death occurs.
General principles of first aid
Helping a poisoned animal is a very difficult task even for an experienced veterinarian, not to mention the owner of the animal, since it is usually very difficult to determine what kind of poison the pet poisoned. Nevertheless, first aid should be provided as soon as possible. With an obvious picture of poisoning, and with suspicion of it, first of all, you should try to find out the nature of the poisonous substance and its penetration into the body: through the respiratory system, skin or mouth. Any information and trifles found at the place of poisoning can help with this: packaging from any chemicals or drugs; leftover food; odors of volatile substances, vomit with a characteristic odor, etc. Naturally, accurate identification of a poisonous substance will help to properly and efficiently fight poisoning. The provision of assistance consists of certain non-phased actions aimed at detoxification:
a) to stop the flow of poison into the body, i.e., prevent further absorption through the gastrointestinal tract or skin. In the latter case, it is necessary to remove the poison from the skin surface as quickly as possible: wash off the poison with ordinary cool water, preferably with soap, and cut off areas of the hair with poison. Water-soluble poisons are washed off with a large amount of water, fat-soluble poisons, for example, chlorophos, are removed with a large amount of vegetable or liquid mineral oil.