Asthma Inhalers and Other Hidden Pet Poisons
If your pet gets its paws on your trusty asthma inhaler, the overdose of medication can lead to a potentially life-threatening reaction.
By Jaimie Dalessio Clayton
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TUESDAY, March 20, 2012— Pets can be nosy. They peek into pockets and purses, closets and drawers, silently sniffing around for something interesting to chew. Most of the time, they retrieve a slipper or a sock, a napkin or an old receipt. But the objects our furry friends find aren’t always so harmless.
Just in time for National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24), PetMD is revealing the source of the top five pet poisons found in homes — a women’s purse. In a , they warn that the typical purse is a bagful of items potentially poisonous to pets, from breath mints and hand sanitizer to asthma inhalers.
Are you doing everything you can to manage your asthma? Find out with our interactive checkup.
According to , asthma inhalers contain 200 doses of beta-agonist drugs, such as albuterol, and steroids. That’s a lot for your dog or cat to ingest, which they can easily do if they chew on an inhaler enough to puncture it. An inhaler overdose can cause heart problems, vomiting, and even death.
"It’s important to note that since inhalers are under pressure, if a pet manages to puncture the inhaler they often get a large exposure to the medicine by inhaling it, in addition to what is absorbed orally," says Camille DeClementi, VMD, DABT, DABVT, senior toxicologist at the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. "This can lead to signs of exposure developing very quickly, often within a matter of minutes."
If you do keep an asthma inhaler, or any medication, in your purse, stash your bag somewhere out of your pet’s reach instead of throwing it on the floor — which is a germy habit anyway — and ask guests to do the same.
Notice teeth marks on your inhaler despite your best efforts to hide it? Get your pet medical attention immediately. And get yourself a new inhaler.
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