EPIC Vets Toxicity Library

Common Toxicities for Pets

Xylitol

This is a substance found in many sugar-free foods, candies, gum, and beverages and even toothpaste. This is HIGHLY toxic to both dogs and cats. Symptoms can start as soon as 20 minutes after ingestion. Seek treatment right away. 

How it affects a pet: Can lead to liver failure as it releases insulin and can cause hypoglycemia.   

Symptoms: Vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, difficulty walking or standing, coma, bleeding problems, elevated liver enzymes and liver failure. 

Sources: ASPCA, FDA 

Lillies

These common plants are highly toxic to cats and can be toxic to dogs. Lily of the Valley, Gloriosa and the Flame Lilly are highly dangerous for both cats and dogs. Seek treatment right away.  

How it affects a pet: Can lead to kidney failure within 24 to 72 hours leading to death if it’s not treated. Early treatment greatly improves the prognosis, but a delay of 18 or more hours may lead to irreversible kidney failure. 

Symptoms: Decreased activity level, drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Signs of kidney damage includes increased urination and dehydration. 

Sources: FDA, ASPCA 

Rat/Mouse Bait

Rat and mouse poison can be made of several different ingredients. The most toxic ingredients include Long-Acting Anticoagulants (LAACS), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D), Bromethalin, and Zinc and Aluminum Phosphides. 

How it affects a pet: Rat and mouse bait works by preventing blood from clotting. Symptoms of Ingestion may not show up for several days. 

Symptoms: Depending on the type of main ingredient in the rat/mouse bait, symptoms can vary. 

  • Long-Acting Anticoagulants – lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing, difficulty breathing, weakness, pale gums, vomiting, nose bleeds, bloody diarrhea, and gum bleeding.  
  • Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D) – increased urination, thirst, weakness, lethargy, decreased appetite, bad breath. Acute kidney failure develops within 2-3 days. 
  • Bromethalin – incoordination, tremors, seizures, paralysis, and eventually death. 
  • Zinc and Aluminum Phosphides – stomach bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, shock, collapse, seizures, liver damage, and eventually death. Owners should be careful not to inhale fumes from the vomit, as it contains phosphine gas, which is also harmful to humans. 

Source: Pet Poison Helpline