Categories: poison

Vets issue e-cigarette alert after rise in pet poisonings

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) in the UK have issued a report indicating a steep rise in poisonings of pets by e-cigarette devices. I suspect that most of the poisonings relate to dogs but I am unable at this time to find the actual report. My source is the Times newspaper.

Pets are falling ill after chewing on e-cigarette and refills. The number poisoned has increased from 17 in 2013 to 113 in 2016.

In addition, we are seeing poisonings from the now infamous jerky treats. These are made from dried meat and they are causing concern amongst veterinarians who are also seeing an increase in poisonings from this product. Pets contract Fanconi syndrome which is a rare disorder resulting in kidney damage. There is an ongoing issue with jerky treats manufactured in China in America where a large number of dogs have allegedly been killed through poisoning by the treats. The American authorities have failed to tackle the problem.

In the UK there were 22 cases reported last year and VPIS is investigating whether jerky treats made in China are to blame.

VPIS’s annual report found that lilies, chocolate and painkillers were the biggest cause of pets becoming unwell. There is also a rise in poisoning from vitamin D supplements.

Other less common products which poison pets are contraceptive pills, raisins and artificial sweeteners. VPIS received 10,956 reports of poisoning in 2016. This is up slightly on 2015 when there were 10,893 reported cases.

The president of the British Veterinary Association, has warned that there could be sufficient quantities of nicotine in e-cigarettes to kill a small animal. E-cigarettes and refills contain large doses of nicotine. Refill bottles may be swallowed whole and leak over a period of time inside the gut presenting a genuine health hazard.

VPIS say that the amount of nicotine to be toxic to a pet is unclear but they suggest that 1 mg/kilogram of ingested nicotine is potentially toxic. Nicotine can be absorbed through skin and mucous membranes.

A previous post on this topic:

Are electronic cigarettes safer for your cat at home?

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • The answer for this concern is proper handling of e-liquid. Don't leave your e-liquid lying around where your pets can get a hold of them. Be responsible enough to store them in a secure place.

  • Most people who use E-cigarettes may not realize that the cartridges (even if empty) have the potential to poison a pet, if ingested or chewed on. This would most likely apply to puppies and dogs, but would be especially dangerous to kittens who chew on everything. Cannabis cartridges may have the same potential.

    I suspect it would also apply to toddlers or young children that might put these in their mouth while teething, or out of curiosity.

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