Oral exposure to toxicants among small animals (pets) is the most common. Biological activities are graded, and, are based
on toxicants reaching their sites of action (effectors) in biological system at a sufficient concentration and duration. Intensity
of a biological effect is dose related. Basic pharmacokinetic/toxicokinetic principles of toxicants become essential in addressing
Toxicant concentrations at effector sites are based on absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of individual toxicants.
This presentation addresses prevention, patient stabilization, diagnostic measures, diagnosis and management of toxic exposures.
Toxicology is the study of adverse effects of poisons (toxins, toxicants, xenobiotics) on living organisms.
"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy"
Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim-Paracelcus 1493-1541
Educating clients and animal handlers alike on the need to control the animals' environment (reduce risk of exposure to toxicants)
is a must.
All cases of reported possible toxicant (s) exposures should be regarded as, and handled as an emergency. Assuming toxicity
from limited initial information received from clients without a complete case work-up is wrong. Most often, animals are presented
to the veterinarian already showing clinical signs.
Check for and treat all life threatening conditions – airway, breathing, temperature, hemorrhaging, cardiovascular, state
of consciousness etc. Prior to administering any medication, collect specimens (un-clotted/clotted blood, vomitus, stomach
contents etc.) for later analysis.
The important thing is to first stabilize the patient (treat the patient not the toxin). A complete history, thorough physical
examination, collecting and analyzing the appropriate specimens, interpreting analytical results, and, evaluating all relevant
facets in the case at hand, determines patient management with possible diagnoses, a workable effective treatment plan (subjected
to modifications as new information permits) should be in place.
General Approaches to Treatment/Management of Poison Cases
Prevents Further Toxin Exposure and Absorption
• Ocular exposure – Flush eyes with tepid water or Saline solution for 20-30 minutes.
• Dermal Exposure – Repeated baths in warm water with mild liquid dishwashing detergent (Dawn is frequently recommended)
• Oral Exposure – Dilution (milk or water), induce emesis, gastric lavage, endoscopic and/or surgical intervention, adsorbent, and/or cathartics
Prevent Further Toxin Absorption; Promote removal of absorbed toxin; Administered appropriate antidotal therapy, and Supportive