Something to Bark About: Pet Poisonings from Prescriptions Rising

A growing number of pets are being accidentally poisoned by prescription medicines according to a new study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The ASPCA reports it received more than 180,000 calls about poisonous substances last year, up 7 percent from 2011. Since many pet owners rush poisoned pets to their veterinarian instead of calling a hotline, the number of accidental poisonings may be higher, the article notes. Prescription medications for humans have accounted for the majority of calls about accidental poisonings for the past five years, increasing 2 percent last year to more than 25,200 calls. Pet owners made almost 18,500 calls about over-the-counter medications and supplements, up 2.8 percent from the previous year. While insecticides and rodenticides are the most deadly household items for pets, common human medicines can also be fatal, depending on the pet’s weight, how much the pet consumes, and the strength of the medicine. Last year, calls about prescription painkillers increased 63 percent, while calls about antidepressants rose 47.5 percent. Dogs are more likely than cats to be accidentally poisoned. To limit pets’ access to dangerous substances, keep medications in a secure location. See Put Your Medicines Up & Away and Out of Sight at http://www.upandaway.org
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