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Inducing vomiting for the potentially poisoned pet

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Monday, November 14, 2011

While veterinarians are constantly treating vomiting in their patients, they seem to love to induce it too! One common “error” seen at Pet Poison Helpline is not knowing when not to induce emesis. Remember, if the patient is already symptomatic (e.g., ataxic, depressed, seizuring, etc.), emesis induction is likely too late (but check with a poison control first, as sometimes gastric lavage is still recommended!). If a product contains a hydrocarbon (like gasoline, kerosene, brake fluid), emesis is typically contraindicated due to the high risks of aspiration pneumonia. Finally, corrosive agents (like drain cleaners, lime-away agents, etc.) cause corrosive damage going down - and coming back up - and patients who ingested these shouldn’t have emesis induced. When in doubt, check with Pet Poison Helpline to make sure it’s warranted before you reach for that bottle of hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine!

Here are a few contraindications for inducing vomiting (this list is not all-inclusive, and appropriate medical assessment must be made of the patient):

  1. Symptomatic from toxicosis
  2. Hydrocarbon ingestion
  3. Corrosive product ingestion
  4. Unable to adequately protect the airway (e.g., megaesophagus, laryngeal paralysis, sedation, etc.)
  5. Patient is already vomiting
  6. Severe brachycephalic syndrome or disease
When in doubt, check with Pet Poison Helpline to see if emesis induction is warranted!

Veterinarians: Learn more about treating pet poison victims

Pet Poison Helpline has many critical resources on pet poisonings, some of which we've worked with Wedgewood Pharmacy to compile for you in one eBook. Download the eBook from the Resources for Veterinarians section of WedgewoodPetRx. Additionally, you can attend webinars for CE credit. Register for the next online presentation at PetPoisonHelpline.com. Pet Poison Helpline will be guest blogging here for a few weeks to share with you this important information on treating pet poisonings.

Michael Brown, DVM, MS
Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services
Pet Poison Helpline

About Justine Lee, DVM:
Dr. Justine Lee is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist, and is currently the Associate Director of Veterinary Services for Pet Poison Helpline. For the previous five years, she was on faculty as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Lee graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Animal Sciences, and then obtained her veterinary degree at Cornell University. She pursued her internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, which is affiliated with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). In addition, she has also completed an emergency fellowship and residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, she is 1 of approximately 450 board-certified veterinary specialists world wide in emergency and critical care, and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (DACVECC).

Dr. Lee has been published in numerous veterinary journals, including the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, the Journal of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care, and the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is also the author of two humorous pet reference books entitled “It’s a Dog’s Life... but It’s Your Carpet” and “It’s a Cat’s World... You Just Live In It.” Dr. Lee lectures throughout the world on emergency and critical care, and recently was honored with the North American Veterinary Conference Small Animal Speaker of the Year award for 2011.

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Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC 11/14/2011 9:11:00 AM

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