Treating Poisoning in Dogs: Apomorphine and Hydrogen Peroxide Safe?

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Hydrogen Peroxide can be safely used to induce vomiting in poisoned dogs. Photo Credit: Kari Sullivan

When a dog has ingested poison, is inducing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine a safe and effective treatment option?

A 2012 study from the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found both substances to be reasonably safe and effective when used correctly either by, or under the guidance of, experienced veterinary personnel.

Dr. Safdar Kahn, Senior Director of Toxicology Research at the APCC and lead author on the study, told Decoded Science that, in the right circumstances, inducing vomiting has the potential to change the prognosis from major damage to minor.

He cited the example of a dog who ingests 10 ibuprofen tablets. If inducing emesis results in six or seven tablets being brought up, the risk of kidney damage is greatly decreased and at worst, there may be minor stomach irritation.

Accidental Poisoning in Dogs: Substances Commonly Consumed

Dogs tend to explore novel items with their mouths, so the list is nearly endless. But some types of poisoning are more common than others, with human medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin, and foods, particularly chocolates and products sweetened with xylitol, found high on the list. Other items such as antifreeze products containing ethylene glycol, ice-melting products, rodent baits, slug/ snail baits and mothballs are also common sources of accidental poisoning in canines.

Ingestion of Substances Poisonous to Dogs: When Inducing Vomiting is Not Safe

Dr. Khan told Decoded Science that there are some clear-cut cases where inducing vomiting is contraindicated. If the dog has ingested a hydrocarbon, there is a high risk of inhalation when vomiting is induced. Caustic substances are likely to burn the esophagus and mouth and if any poison has been in the system more than two hours, or if the animal is showing clinical signs of poisoning, inducing vomiting is often not the right choice.

Given that there are many variables to consider before deciding to induce vomiting, pet owners are strongly advised to take their dog to a veterinarian if at all possible.

Click to Read Page Two: Hydrogen Peroxide and Apomorphine in Canine Poisoning

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© Copyright 2012 Dawn M. Smith, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science

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