Pet Poisons from A-Z: Avocados and Amphetamines!

Pet Poisons: Avocados and AmphetaminesKicking off 26 days of MADNESS (I’m sure by day Q, I’ll be rethinking this whole alphabetical thing), we’re going to start with our A’savocados and amphetamines!

Each day I will try to cover one well-known poison, and one with which everyone might not be familiar.  Please don’t hold me to this on day Q.  Without further blathering from me….

Avocados!

Avocado toxicity in pets

An avocado in its natural, pre-guacamole stage.  That is totally a scientific term.

By far, my favorite tasty treat.  Avocados are high in the good types of fat, and when you mix them with salsa, they make a darn good guacamole.

Generally, they’ve gotten a pretty bad reputation as one of the top foods you shouldn’t feed to your pet.  For many animals excluding the dog and cat, this is true.

This delicious fruit (did you know they were a fruit?) contains a chemical called “persin”.  It resides mostly in the pit and skin, but it also travels into the “meat” of the fruit. The avocado plant produces persin naturally to help kill off fungus that would otherwise harm it.

Persin is toxic to birds, horses, rabbits, and some grazing animals like cattle and goats.  While the individual signs differ from species to species, in general, it causes the space around their lungs and heart to fill up with fluid, leading to respiratory failure, heart failure, and death.

Dogs and cats aren’t nearly as sensitive to avocados as these other species.  The amount of persin it would take to harm a dog or cat is far more than any dog or cat could ingest.  It may cause them some mild stomach upset like vomiting or diarrhea, though.

What about the pit?!

I’m glad I asked myself that question, because it’s a good question!  While there are high concentrations of persin in the pit of an avocado, it has to be thoroughly chewed in order to release the chemical (much like a cow would do!).  A dog or cat also can’t chew the pit down enough to release the persin contained inside the pit.

However, pits do pose the risk of creating a foreign body, which occurs when something gets stuck in the GI tract and cannot pass.  Dogs tend to swallow pits whole, (usually they are too big for cats, but there are always exceptions), and when it get stuck, it can create a life-threatening emergency for your pet.

 

Amphetamine toxicity in pets!

 

 

 

This post needs its own theme song!

“Amphetamine” is the fancy drug class for medications aimed at treating conditions like ADHD.  Common amphetamines on the market include: Adderall©, Desoxyn©, Dexedrine©, and are extremely similar to Ritalin©, Concerta©, Vyvanse©, and Focalin©.

Anyone who watched “Breaking Bad” might be eerily familiar with the production of methamphetamine, the central topic of the show.

All of these are awful for an animal.  Amphetamines are stimulants, and any amount of amphetamine has the potential to cause some pretty serious signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Aggression
  • Crying or whining
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Stumbling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Increased temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Death

Most of us are familiar with the YouTube video of the cat heading to the vet after getting into Adderall©, and apparently this particular kitty was okay.  But really, this is no laughing matter, as you can see the poor cat is already showing several of the above signs.

Animal deaths have been reported at 0.59 mg per pound (this is roughly 1/2 of a 5 mg pill in a 10 pound dog or cat).  This may not include the life-threatening complications that can occur after an exposure.

Take any exposure to an amphetamine product very seriously.  As always, contact the animal poison control or a local vet clinic for further advice.  If your pet is already showing signs, head to the clinic and call poison control once you’ve arrived, as time is of the essence!

Tune in tomorrow for our Bs!

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