As we head into the Autumn and Winter months, we see a rise in calls involving ethanol and associated products. Alcohol soaked fruits, or using fruits to make/flavour alcohol are very popular at this time of year, and it is very important to keep these treats away from our pets!
Firstly, the alcohol. Ethanol is a central nervous system depressant, and the signs we see in animals are often similar to those displayed in humans- ataxia, lethargy, vomiting and recumbency.
Then, the fruit. Cherries, plums and sloes are all Prunus species. These contain cyanogenic glycosides. The concentration of cyanogenic glycosides, and therefore cyanide, in plants varies. Most cases of cyanogenic glycoside poisoning occur in ruminants, but dogs have also been poisoned occasionally. Most dogs and cats that ingest plants containing cyanogenic glycoside develop gastrointestinal signs with vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort. Signs of cyanide poisoning are uncommon in cats and dogs.
Owners can call Animal Poisonline on 01202 509000 for advice if they are concerned their pet has ingested something toxic. We will be able to advise whether the animal needs to see a vet. Veterinary professionals can call VPIS for treatment advice for any poisons case – 02073055055