Chocolate and Lilium plants are the most commonly reported potentially poisonous exposures of dogs and cats respectively. Fluorouracil (chemotherapy medication) and bifenthrin (insecticide) were found to have the highest case fatality ratio for dogs and cats, respectively
Journal citation

Alexandra, L., Swirski, David. L., Pearl, Olaf Berke et al (2020)
Companion animal exposures to potentially poisonous substances reported to a national poison control center in the United States in 2005 through 2014
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; 257 (5) 517-530
Abstract

Published September 2020

Type of study
  • Retrospective study of phone calls made to APCC in USA for suspected poisoning events in dogs and cats
  • n = 207,492 phone calls regarding dogs and 33,869 phone calls regarding cats
Key points
  • Seasonal increase in call volume over the summer months in dogs and cats
  • Peak in December in dogs
  • More suspected poisoning events (SPE’s) were reported in dogs, thought to be due to indiscriminate eating habits and their increased likelihood to display sickness behaviours
  • More cats had severe outcomes which is thought to be due to the fact that this species has fewer biotransformation enzymes leading to delayed clearance. Furthermore, cats have highly concentrated urine which may put them at an increased risk from toxins with active urinary metabolites e.g. lilies
  • The most common human medicines implicated in SPE’s in dogs and cats reflects their availability i.e. drugs to treat CNS disorders, analgesics and cardiovascular drugs
  • The top 5 foods reported in dogs were chocolate, sucrose, sorbitol, xylitol and raisins/grapes
  • The top 5 foods reported in cats were onions/garlic, chocolate, raisins/grapes, avocado and sucrose

 Limitations

  • Based on telephone calls, not witnessed events
  • Likely substantial under-reporting of cases due to collection method (reliance upon phone calls to the Animal Poison Control Centre in USA)
Conclusions
  • Calls for SPE’s have a seasonal pattern and are much more common in dogs than in cats
  • Chocolate and Lilium plants are the most commonly reported potentially poisonous exposures for dogs and cats respectively
  • Fluorouracil (chemotherapy medication) and bifenthrin (insecticide) were found to have the highest case fatality ratio for dogs and cats, respectively