This book contains brief summaries of information relating to poisoning of cats and dogs by commonly encountered substances. For each agent, information is given on toxicology, clinical effects, appropriate first aid and subsequent management and prognosis. This enables veterinary professionals to give appropriate guidance to clients that suspect their animals may have been poisoned. A traffic light system indicates the level of concern and urgency (see How to use this guide).

These summaries are written with the aim of providing comprehensive advice about the management of any case. Many factors can influence how a case progresses and may affect management recommendations (dose, route(s) of exposure, time since exposure, duration of exposure, past medical history, breed or species susceptibility, environment, location, etc.).

The inclusion of substances was determined by a review of enquiries made to VPIS and their case outcomes (where known).

  • We have included substances of low or negligible toxicity about which VPIS receives many enquiries and for which presentation to a veterinary surgery is unlikely to be necessary.
  • Other agents have been included owing to the number of exposures in the past and where the outcome has been variable.
  • A few agents have also been included where exposures are relatively rare but toxicity is high and for which management may need to be speedy, complex or intensive, and where prognosis should be guarded. These latter categories are instances where reference to a veterinary poisons information service is strongly advised.

A bibliography of useful references, including case reports and case series, on the toxic effects of the substances summarized in this book is available on the VPIS website (www.vpisglobal.com).

A simple checklist is provided at the back of this book to guide veterinary staff of the type of information that is useful to gather about a possible poisoning case. The checklist can also be accessed online via VPIS website. This can help ensure that the management advice provided will be specific to the individual case. This checklist can be used to help complete case follow-up questionnaires or the case submission form.

VPIS exists to provide specific advice, compliant with UK veterinary medicine legislation, for each and every case referred to it on its own individual merits. The information given in this book has been compiled by VPIS in line with these considerations.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information within these summaries is both accurate and current. Please be aware that online information may be updated or changed in the light of any relevant publications, VPIS cases and systematic revisions.

The VPIS is always keen to receive feedback on poisoning cases even if not consulted, to build on its extensive internal database of past referrals. Of particular interest are complex, serious and unusual cases, or where toxicity information was limited. Even if the animal remained asymptomatic this information is still useful. To submit information on a poisoning case to VPIS, please visit www.vpisglobal.com. VPIS follows up some cases using a postal questionnaire, in an attempt to determine treatments given, clinical course and outcome.

This resource is the result of an exciting collaborative venture between BSAVA and VPIS. We hope that it will provide a valuable resource and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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