Our sister publication, dvm360, recently published an article on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reporting an increase in calls for pets experiencing potential cannabis toxicity.
In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Prevention Center (APPC) announced its top toxins for pets. The findings showed that recreational drugs such as cannabis-based substances, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and cocaine knocked off gardening products to claim the 10th spot on the list.
Since its founding 45 years ago, the APCC has been a 24/7 hotline that is a resource for both pet owners and veterinarians across the United States. According to an organizational release (1), the APCC team assisted 278,364 animals from all 50 states, resulting in a nearly 5% increase in call volume when compared to 2021, and fielded 11% more calls about potential cannabis ingestion than in 2021. The APCC also disclosed the cases most seen involved cannabis-laced baked goods, which can cause ataxia, stomach upset, and urinary incontinence in pets.
"Over the last few years, the experts at the APCC have continued to see a gradual increase in call volume related to potential pet toxicity," said Tina Wismer, DVM, DABVT, DABT, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center senior director, in the release (1). "The changes in the top toxins list from the past year reflect not only pet owners' continued awareness of toxins lurking in their homes but also the need to continue protecting our pets against dangers that can cause life-threatening issues."
Among the findings from the list was, for the first time in almost 10 years, human medication held only one of the top two spots. Over-the-counter human drug products leads the list, making up nearly 17% of APCC's call volume, while human prescription medications dropped down to third on the list. According to the ASPCA, pet owners are now more aware of the dangers of human medication exposure in pets which can lead to signs from gastrointestinal upset to kidney failure in severe cases.
Food products replaced human prescription medication as second-highest on the list. Protein bars, products with xylitol, and grapes and raisins remain the most popular items in the food category.