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Dog and Cat Exposures to Hazardous Substances Reported to the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory: 2009–2012


Pet dogs and cats in the USA are commonly exposed to potentially hazardous substances found in domestic environments. Requests for assistance and advice received by the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory regarding exposures in dogs and cats to substances perceived by their caretakers to be potentially harmful included 1,616 phone calls, over a 3-year period covering 2009–2012. Enquiries occurred more often during summer. Dogs were involved in 84.7 % of calls and cats in 15.3 %. Oral exposures were reported in 95.5 % of calls, dermal exposures in 3.7 % of calls, inhalation exposures in 0.6 % of calls, and parenteral exposures in 0.2 % of calls. Therapeutic drugs were the most frequently reported substances, accounting for 35.4 % of calls, followed by household chemicals (15.5 %); foods (14.8 %); pesticides (13.9 %); plants (12 %), industrial chemicals and fertilizers (3.6 %); cosmetics and personal care products (2.8 %); and animal, insect, and microorganism toxins (2.1 %). Although requests for information or assistance are not a measure of poisoning incidence, it can provide insight regarding relative exposure rates, help to identify changing exposure trends and emerging exposures, and reflect the public concern regarding actual or apparent harmful exposures in pets.

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Correspondence to Deon Van der Merwe.

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Mahdi, A., Van der Merwe, D. Dog and Cat Exposures to Hazardous Substances Reported to the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory: 2009–2012. J. Med. Toxicol. 9, 207–211 (2013).

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  • Veterinary
  • Poisoning
  • Toxicology
  • Dogs
  • Cat
  • Pet