Thursday, March 30, 2017



In 2016, the ASPCA had over 180,000 reports of pet toxicoses to it's Animal Poison Control Center.


Here are 5 of Zuku's 20 top toxicoses.


5 of Zuku's Top Veterinary Toxicoses To Know For NAVLE® Success:

  1. Lead

    Hypersalivation in a cow as seen in lead toxicosis

    • Classic case: Usually dogs or cattle
      • Ruminants:
        • Acute (esp. young cows):
          • Ataxia, blindness, eyelid twitching
          • Salivation
          • Jaw chomping, bruxism
          • Muscle tremors, convulsions
        • Subacute (esp. sheep, older cows):
          • Anorexia, rumen stasis, colic
          • Constipation then diarrhea
          • Blindness, head pressing, hyperesthesia, incoordination
          • Bruxism
        • Chronic:
          • Dysphagia
          • Aspiration pneumonia
      • Dogs:
        • Anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation
        • Anxiety, barking
        • Salivation
        • Blindness, ataxia
        • Muscle spasms
        • Opisthotonus, convulsions
      • Horses:
        • Chronic weight loss
        • Dysphagia, diarrhea
        • Roaring
    • Dx:
      • Blood lead concentration > 0.05-0.10 ppm
      • CBC: Anemia, anisocytosis, poikilocytosis, polychromasia, basophilic stippling, metarubricytosis, hypochromia
    • Rx:
      • All animals:
        • Calcium disodium edetate
        • Thiamine
      • Dogs:
        • D-penicillamine or succimer
    • Pearls:
      • Pathophysiology:
        • Capillary damage/edema
        • Irritation
        • Immune suppression
        • Nephrotoxic
        • Toxic to hematopoietic system
        • Teratogenic

  2. Selenium

    Severe laminitis can be seen in horses with selenium toxicosis

    • Classic case: Grazing animals are most affected, but all animals are suseptible
      • Acute:
        • Weird behavior
        • Respiratory trouble and tachycardia
        • Frothy nasal discharge
        • GI upset
        • Sudden death
      • Subchronic (pigs):
        • Ataxia
        • Paraparesis followed by tetraplegia
        • Poor hooves
        • Alopecia
      • Chronic:
        • Rough/brittle haircoat
        • Poor hooves/laminitis
        • Weakness, anorexia
    • Dx:
      • High selenium concentration in feed
      • High selenium concentration in blood/tissues
    • Rx:
      • Acute: N-acetylcysteine to improve systemic glutathione levels
      • Chronic: High protein diet (to bind selenium) or add arsenic salt (enhances biliary excretion)
    • Pearls:
      • Pathophysiology:
        • Directly inhibits cellular oxidation/reduction reactions
        • Increases oxygen free radicals causing tissue damage
        • Alters protein formations/cellular bonds, affecting their function
      • Narrow margin of safety
      • Selenium can be in pasture, hay, grains, supplements

  3. Copper

    Bedlington terriers can have inherited copper toxicosis sensitivity

    • Classic case: Especially sheep and dogs, but others can be affected
      • Acute (less common):
        • Gastroenteritis with diarrhea, vomiting
        • Pain
        • Shock
      • Chronic:
        • Acute hemolytic crisis
        • Weakness
        • Icterus, hemoglobinuria
        • Colic
        • +/- Renal failure
    • Dx: Affects hematopoietic system, liver, and GI
      • High copper levels in blood, liver, and kidney
      • Necropsy:
        • Gun metal-colored kidneys
        • Blue-green ingesta
    • Rx:
      • Penicillamine or ammonium tetrathiomolybdate to increase copper excretion
      • Vitamin C as antioxidant
    • Pearls:
      • Pathophysiology:
        • Lipid peroxidation
        • Intravascular hemolysis
        • GI irritation
      • Poor prognosis
      • Bedlington terriers can have an inherited sensitivity to increased copper levels
      • Low dietary sulfur or molybdenum leads to increased copper absorption and decreased copper excretion

  4. Zinc

    Ingestion of zinc-coated pennies can cause zinc toxicosis

    • Classic case: Any species
      • Anorexia
      • Vomiting, diarrhea
      • Lethargy
      • Icterus and hemoglobinuria (due to intravascular hemolysis)
      • Cardiac arrhythmias
      • Seizures
      • Foals may have epiphyseal swelling and lameness
    • Dx: Affects GI tract, hematopoietic system, cardiac, and CNS
      • Radiographs: Radiodense foreign bodies
      • CBC: Anemia, spherocytosis, Heinz body formation
      • Blood zinc concentration
    • Rx:
      • Remove zinc source
      • Diuresis
      • Supportive care
      • Chelation therapy with Ca-EDTA is controversial
    • Pearls:
      • Pathophysiology:
        • Low gastric pH causes release of caustic zinc salts which irritate and interfere with cellular metabolism
        • Zinc is an essential trace mineral
        • In household coatings, supplements, batteries, paints, creams
        • Usually good outcome if properly addressed

  5. Fluoride

    Exostoses in a cow with chronic fluorosis

    • Classic case: Most often in livestock, poultry
      • Acute:
        • Salivation, sweating
        • Restlessness
        • Anorexia, gastroenteritis
        • Muscle weakness, stiffness
        • Dyspnea
        • Ventricular tachycardia
        • Clonic convulsions, depression, death
      • Chronic:
        • Poor weight gain, unthrifty
        • Dental: Mottled, chalky, pitted, and stained enamel with excessive and uneven wear
        • Skeletal: Stiffness, severe lameness, abnormal hoof growth, exostoses, periosteal hyperostosis on ribs
    • Dx: Affects GI tract, dental, skeletal systems
      • History of exposure and typical clinical signs
      • Urinary and serum fluoride concentrations (tricky because of rapid elimination)
      • Radiography: Periosteal hyperostosis, exostoses
    • Rx:
      • Acute: Decrease absorption via IV calcium gluconate -or- oral magnesium hydroxide or milk
      • Chronic: None
    • Pearls:
      • Pathophysiology:
        • Fluoride alters intracellular metabolism of essential metals such as Mg, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn
      • Prevention:
        • Supplement with calcium carbonate, aluminum salts, magnesium metasilicate, or boron to decrease absorption and increase excretion

owl    Zuku-certified bodacious websites on toxicology:

Animal Poison Control

A plethora of clinical information!

See top Easter toxins, spring-blooming bulbs, and sago palm.

Courtesy of ASPCA.

Veterinary Poisons Information Service

London-based toxicology hotline website has lots of clinical articles.

Read about alcohol poisoning, dangers of glow sticks and fireworks, and tea tree oil.

Pet Poison Helpline: Poison List

Comprehensive list of veterinary toxins with images and clinical signs.

Courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline.

"The dose makes the poison."

- Paracelsus

"I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake………..which I also keep handy."

- WC Fields

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

- Mark Twain


Example of NAVLE®-format toxicology question:

Which one of the following treatments is indicated for lead poisoning in cattle?

   A. EDTA

   B. Vitamin B6

   C. Zinc protoporphyrin

   D. Vitamin E

   E. Copper sulfate

Click here for the answer and explanatory text…




Images courtesy of Pava, Milano (puppy chewing), Lucyin (cow hypersalivation), Dr. Christoph von Horst (laminitis), Elyssa Albert (Bedlington Terrier), L. Mahin (fluorosis), Alex Ranaldi (stray dog in trash), and John Haslam (goat eating ribbon) .