Autumn is the time of year when plants produce their fruit, including berries, acorns and conkers. Although the days are shorter the weather is still mild and dogs in particular may be exposed to plants and fungi while out walking. There are also potential hazards associated with Halloween and Bonfire Night. This leaflet describes some of the potential hazards associated with this time of year.

Acorns from oaks (Quercus species) may cause vomiting and diarrhoea. Occasionally an itchy rash and swelling of the lips or around the eyes occurs. There is also a risk that the acorns may block the gut.

There are many diff erent types of fruit produced by plants and although many cause only gastrointestinal signs some can cause more signifi cant toxic eff ects. If your pet has eaten some plant material, call Animal PoisonLine and take a sample (leaves and fruit) along with your pet to your vet if you are advised to go.

Spring bulbs such as daff odil, tulips and snowdrops are planted in the autumn. These can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats and dogs if eaten. Ensure they are stored safely and keep pets out of the way when planting.

Conkers from the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) can cause gastrointestinal signs. If swallowed whole or in a large chunks there is also a risk that the conkers may obstruct the gut.

Fireworks contain several components, including fuel and colouring agents. Ingestion of an unused firework may cause gastrointestinal upset and, although there is a potential risk of toxicity from
some of the components, this is very rare. Ingestion of a used firework is unlikely to result in any significant signs as the chemical components will have been burnt or dispersed during the explosion.

These toys and other glow-in-the-dark novelties are often available around Halloween and Bonfire night. The fluid inside has a bitter taste and can cause distress, hypersalivation and vomiting in pets that chew the toy. These signs usually settle quickly; washing the mouth and giving a tasty treat to take the taste away may help.

Fungi produce their fruit bodies (mushrooms and toadstools) in the autumn when the weather is wet and mild. Some fungi cause gastrointestinal signs, while others can cause hallucinations and
behavioural changes. However some are extremely toxic and can cause delayed kidney and liver failure. There are thousands of species and they can be difficult to identify without expert knowledge. If your pet has eaten a mushroom and there is some left, take photos of it (including photos showing where it is growing and the underneath of the mushroom, as there are features on the underside that are important for identification) and then dig it up and take it with your pet to your vet. If your pet vomits then any remnants in the vomit might be useful – collect this, taking care to protect yourself. If you handle any suspect fungi, ensure you wash your hands.

Sparklers generally only cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested but a burning sparkler has a very high temperature and will cause burns if chewed or touched. It may also set clothing alight.

Call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 even if your pet is showing no signs to find out whether a trip to the vet is required.
• Remove your pet from the source of poison.
• Do not try to make your pet vomit –NEVER give salt water.
• Collect the poison and take a sample/container with you if you are advised to take your pet to the vet practice