Category Archives: Toxicology

Copperhead Snakebite

Snake Bite (Envenomation) of Dog or Cat by Copperhead

(Alt Copperhead Snake Bite)

With the turn of Veterinary Medicine towards ‘not using steroids’ in animals, I’ve watched delayed-type-hypersensitivity reactions, and Addisonian-crises dogs die in the care of knowledgeable Emergency Clinic and Specialty Hospital clinicians. I’ve seen Copperhead bites cause unnecessary damage, and take weeks to heal. Continue reading Copperhead Snakebite

Bromethalin Poisoning in Dogs, Cats – Neurotoxin for Rats

Download:  Bromethalin – Toxicology – Merck Veterinary Manual

Bromethalin, a nonanticoagulant, single-dose rodenticide, is a neurotoxin available as bars (blocks), pellets, seed, and a fake worm you can give to Moles.
The net result is cerebral and spinal edema and increased CSF pressure, leading to neurologic dysfunction.
Bromethalin can cause either an acute or a subacute/chronic syndrome, depending on the dose ingested. At doses equivalent to or more than the average lethal dose, dogs may develop an acute convulsant (or high-dose) syndrome resulting in clinical signs within 4–36 hr of exposure; such signs include hyperexcitability, muscle tremors, grand mal seizures, hindlimb hyperreflexia, CNS depression, hyperthermia, and death. The paralytic (subacute or chronic) syndrome is seen at lower doses, and clinical signs may not appear for several days (up to 7 days) after exposure. Initial signs may include depression, hindlimb weakness or paresis, decreased propioception, ataxia, and possible tremors. Muscle weakness often progresses from posterior to anterior muscles. Cats typically develop paralytic syndrome irrespective of dose of bromethalin.


Based on the history of exposure, bromethalin toxicosis should be considered when there is moderate to acute onset of weakness, hindlimb paralysis, tremors, and seizures. Some other toxicologic and nontoxicologic differential diagnoses should include ethylene glycol toxicosis, marijuana ingestion, 2,4-D and other phenoxyacetic acid herbicide toxicosis, copper head snake envenomation (cats), intervertebral disc problems, spinal cord and CNS trauma, and tick paralysis.

The following can be used as a guideline to treat bromethalin exposure in dogs and cats:

At a bromethalin dosage of 0.1–0.49 mg/kg in dogs, or 0.05-0.1 mg/kg in cats, emesis alone within 4 hr of exposure may be adequate. If emesis is not successful, or if > 4 hr have elapsed since ingestion, a single dose of activated charcoal at 1–2 g/kg body wt is indicated. Whenever administering activated charcoal, the clinician must remain aware of the risk of aspiration or hypernatremia secondary to fluid shift into the gut. The clinical signs of acute hypernatremia may mimic those seen with bromethalin toxicosis.

Diazepam, barbiturates, and other anticonvulsant medications should be used to control seizures and other CNS signs. Full recovery may require days to weeks of treatment.

At a bromethalin dosage of 0.5–0.75 mg/kg in dogs, or 0.1–0.3 mg/kg in cats, an initial dose of activated charcoal at 1–2 g/kg body wt should be considered. A repeat dose at half the original dose at 8-hr intervals for a total of three doses can be administered, again being aware of and monitoring for possible hypernatremia.

At a bromethalin dosage of ≥0.75 mg/kg in dogs, or ≥0.3 mg/kg in cats, administration of six doses of activated charcoal over 48 hr (repeat every 8 hr) can be considered to reduce the body burden by interrupting enterohepatic recirculation.

Use of mannitol and corticosteroids has been suggested to treat clinical signs, because they may help manage cerebral edema due to other causes. However, this has not been shown to be very helpful, likely because of the presence of intra-myelin edema. Diazepam, barbiturates, and other anticonvulsant medications should be used to control seizures and other CNS signs. Full recovery may require days to weeks of treatment.

Why We’re Not Giving ProHeart 6 or 12* To Our Patients.

Why Won’t I Prescribe ProHeart 6/12?

It’s not because of money!

I’d *double* my preventative revenues recommending and giving that product!

It’s not because of effectiveness!

It works just fine! In fact, fully 1% (one percent) better than monthlies.

Not because of convenience!

What could be easier than a shot every year to prevent heartworms?


It’s because nobody’s dog dies from heartworm pills. But people’s dogs die every year from ProHeart 6 and ProHeart 12 injections.

Liver disease: Once ProHeart’s in the dog, that’s “it” …there’s no ‘stopping it’ if it starts to ruin the liver. It’s a 12 month decline you can watch with your hand over your mouth. Oops.

And more: If the dog starts to mysteriously lose weight after the first injection, and nobody pays attention or remembers that’s “A Thing”, the second injection ^will^ kill it.

Anaphylaxis: While a chewable is available, and that chewable literally can’t kill your dog, why would you use an injection that has been known to (rarely) kill dogs?

Forgetting a dose?

As long as you’ve got receipts for 12 doses a year of the chewable pills directly from your Vet, *IF* your dog contracts heartworms, the preventative manufacturer will pay for the diagnosis and adulticide treatment. So the fear of ‘missing a dose’ is just marketing.

So my position is: “Why risk it?”

You would KICK yourself if you killed your dog for nothing but convenience.

The monthly chewables are guaranteed*, taste like a tail wagging treat, cost considerably less, (especially with rebates), and they CAN’T jack up your dog like ProHeart can.

To close:

What dog *WOULD* you give ProHeart to?

Three types of dog should get ProHeart:

•Any dog that bites women and children without provocation.

•Any dog that routinely gets out and kills people’s cats.

•Any dog that just won’t get preventative any other way.

*ProHeart 6 and 12 are injections that form a small reservoir of preventative in the body which is absorbed over 6, or 12 months respectively.

Facts:  proheart-6-prescribing-information

How Much Chocolate is Poisonous For Dogs?

In case you did not know, if the chocolate was ingested within 2 hours, you may benefit the dog by inducing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. You need to give 1 cup per 50 pounds and the dog will vomit within about 5 minutes and will vomit FOR about 15 minutes, at which time you may offer water to help stop the process. They may or may not drink.