On our June cover we featured poodle-mix Marlowe Sun (9 months) and her big brother Slevin (age 6). On the day of the shoot Marlowe was in fine fettle, trotting about, posing, and eating treats. However mom Coleen Sun told us that just one month before Marlowe had been seriously ill: poisoned by insecticide pellets that had been carelessly distributed along the pathways around her Park Avenue home. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that the most dangerous months for poisonings are July and August, and half of the reported cases involve pesticides such as insecticides and herbicides.
Marlowe thankfully made a full and speedy recovery, as she was diagnosed and treated in time. We spoke to Dr Rosie Furlong, from Doctors Beck and Stone about accidental animal poisoning: how to prevent it, and what do if your dog or cat is poisoned.
Furlong is from Ireland and studied veterinary medicine at University College Dublin before going on to work with large and small animals in Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia and has worked at Doctors Beck and Stone’s branch in Chaowai SOHO for the past two years.
Animal poisoning is not something they see every day at the clinic; rather something they deal with it from time to time. Furlong says the most commonly pet poisonings in Beijing are caused by owners feeding their animals their own medications and foods, in the belief that they are also ok for pets. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, chocolate, grapes, onions, and garlic are among the most common causes of accidental poisoning. She advises that owners should never give human medications to their pets without seeking advice from their vet first, and they should keep medications and other chemicals where pets can’t access them.
“In general, stick to feeding your pet appropriate food and drink, such as a complete dog or cat food and water,” says Furlong. “If you want to add something different to their diet, check with your vet first that it’s suitable for your pet, as common substances can be harmful. For example, the artificial food sweetener xylitol is extremely poisonous for pets.”
She also advises owners to maintain a watchful eye on their animals around houseplants and outdoors. “Don’t allow your pet to eat plants, either in the home or outside. Certain plants such as lilies are poisonous, and pesticides recently sprayed on plants may also be harmful,” Furlong advises. It can be hard to restrain dogs with sensitive noses and ravenous bellies, but she also cautions owners to try to prevent their pets from eating food or drink on the street while out for walks.
If your pet begins vomiting, has diarrhea, seems lethargic, goes off their food, or has seizures call your vet as soon as possible, as these are all signs of poisoning. Keep details of what you’ve observed your pet eating and when, as well as any symptoms you’ve noticed since. An animal’s chances of surviving a poisoning are maximized by prompt action. “The likelihood of survival also depends on the toxin involved and the amount of time between ingestion and treatment,” says Furlong, as well as on the severity of the toxicity and whether or not organ damage has occurred. Recuperation can range from a day to weeks depending on the severity of the incident, and costs also vary a lot depending on the duration of the treatment needed.
Photos: Courtesy of Dr Rosie Furlong