Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Toxicology Tuesday, June 12

This week’s “Toxic or Not?” concerns one species more than another. See if you can guess which.

Toxic or Not?

Answer: Toxic to cats in any dose, toxic for dogs at higher levels.

Tylenol (acetaminophen} is highly toxic to cats. Just 46mg/kg body weight is enough for a cat to show signs and one 325mg pill may kill an average 10 lb. cat, if not treated quickly. While dogs may be able to tolerate doses of up to 50 to 100mg/kg body weight, acetaminophen should only be given to dogs under veterinary supervision, and dosed cautiously in dogs with underlying liver disease or who are on any other medications that affect their livers. Doses of 200mg/kg (4 extra-strength 500mg tablets in a 20 lb. dog) or higher are definitely toxic to dogs.

Signs of acetaminophen poisoning are blue or brown gum color from lack of oxygen and methemoglobin formation, difficulty breathing, facial swelling (a hallmark sign), lethargy, low body temperature, and vomiting. May progress to weakness, coma, and death from liver failure if untreated.

While dogs may accidentally consume human medications, acetaminophen toxicity in most pets is usually caused by well-meaning owners giving over the counter medications to their pets. Remember that acetaminophen can be found in many over the counter (OTC) medications, both those bearing the Tylenol brand name and in many other brands and generics. Never give any OTC human medications to your pet without consulting with your vet first.


nina said...

A guess--could be bad for dogs--even worse for cats?
Isn't a good rule of thumb to not assume that what is safe for humans can be used on your pets?

Liza Lee Miller said...


Mary said...

Toxic for pets (and some people, too).

I've given buffered baby aspirin to my dogs on rare occasions. Safe?

Susan Gets Native said...

If I can be a show-off for a minute:
It's toxic to both dogs and cats, but dogs have to ingest more to reach toxic levels. One tablet can kill a cat.
Tylenol causes hemolysis and formation of Heinz bodies in red blood cells.

Mary Ann said...

It's scary to think that one tablet would kill a cat. But would they want to eat it? My cats are partial to kitty food and little else, so I can't picture it unless it is attractive to them for some reason. Still, I'll have to keep a closer watch to make sure I don't leave the pills around. Good info!

Lynne said...

Susan- you lab-girl show off!! You beat me to it! PBDBPBDsststst !!(raspberry)

Susan Gets Native said...

Lynne: You have to get up PRETTY early to beat me!
: )
I wasn't sure about the Heinz bodies....I kept thinking, "Wait. That's ketchup."

KGMom said...

I know Tylenol is toxic for dogs & cats. And a touch of aspirin is OK for dogs--but have no idea if it is OK for cats.

KatDoc said...

Wow, you guys are GOOD! I can see that Toxicology Tuesdays will have to get more difficult if I am going to stump this panel.

To clear up some questions: Dogs might voluntarily eat pills, cats usually have been given Tylenol by well-meaning owners. (Even a children's liquid dose is a no-no in cats!) Heinz body anemia does occur in some poisonings, just not this one, and as for the aspirin question, stay tuned. We will cover NSAIDs like aspirin in another post.

Thanks for playing our game,