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For poisons advice (veterinary professionals only) please call:

 

020 7188 0200

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Pet owners should contact their local veterinarian.

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News/ press releases

Please click one of the links below to be taken to the relevant story.

  1. E-cigarettes or ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems)
  2. VPIS and RVC are now working together!
  3. New moves to tackle seasonal dog illness
  4. Your new first-stop guid to suspected poisonings in dogs and cats (30/03/11)
  5. Veterinary Poisons Information Service partners with Vets Now to launch 24/7 life saving service (21/03/11)
  6. Remember to include vet care in Christmas planning (03/12/10)
  7. Protect your pet from accidental poisoning with new RSPCA advice (10/11/10)
  8. Veterinary Poisons Information Service engages the service of new Emergency and Critical Care diplomate as new consultant (04/08/10)
  9. Vets warn dog onwers of dangers of artificial sweeteners (15/07/10)  

 

 

 

E-Cigarettes or ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems)

There are reports in the media of serious or fatal cases of exposure to the liquid in e-cigarettes, both in dogs and humans. Although the numbers of cases so far are small, VPIS has already received a few enquiries and vets and the public should be aware that nicotine in all its forms is highly toxic. Exposure to nicotine-containing products (tobacco, nicotine replacement gums and patches, agricultural pesticides and e-cigarettes or ENDS) is potentially hazardous. A typical ‘natural’ cigarette could yield, at most, 30mg of nicotine (most have less) and the ‘butts’ and filters of used cigarettes remain toxic. The toxic dose of nicotine is unclear and most of the data is from human exposures[1]  - VPIS suggest that 1mg/kg of ingested nicotine or its equivalent in tobacco products is potentially toxic. Nicotine in the correct formulation is also well absorbed through skin and mucous membranes.

E-cigarettes and their refills contain large doses of nicotine (up to 36mg per ml). How well absorbed or how ‘available’ this is for oral or mucosal absorption is not known, but it is reasonable to take any exposure seriously. Ingestion of refill bottles/vials may present a particular hazard as the nicotine may leak over a period of time or may suddenly be released after a variable period in the gut. 
 
Nicotine is an alkaloid from the tobacco plant (Nicotiana species); it causes cholinergic effects with brief CNS stimulation followed by CNS depression.  It initially stimulates the autonomic nervous system causing brief excitation of the adrenal medulla, CNS, CVS (due to the release of catecholamines), gastrointestinal tract (parasympathetic stimulation), salivary and bronchial glands and the medullary vomiting centre.  This is followed by blockade of the autonomic nervous system, inhibition of catecholamine release from the adrenal medulla and CNS depression.
 
Absorption of nicotine is rapid.  Urinary elimination depends on the urine pH; excretion decreases as the urine becomes more alkaline – however forced alkaline diuresis is not recommended due to the risk of fluid overload.
 
We would encourage vets to report any nicotine-related poisoning cases via VPIS’ online tool ‘Report a Case’ found here
 
Click here for the PDF version of this statement.
 

References

[1]Smolinske, S. C., Spoerke, D. G., Spiller, S. K., Wruk, K. M., Kulig, K., & Rumack, B. H. (1988). Cigarette and nicotine chewing gum toxicity in children. Human Toxicology, 7(1), 27–31. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3346035

 

Useful links

 

 

                                                                                                           

VPIS and RVC are now working together!

In addition to offering the best poisons advice to its members, VPIS can now provide a seamless referral to the RVC’s Emergency & Critical Care (ECC) team based at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (QMHA) for additional expert clinical advice. The QMHA is Europe’s largest small animal referral hospital handling over 12,000 referral and non-referral (first opinion) cases per year, providing expertise in Neurology & Neurosurgery, Anaesthesia & Analgesia, Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Soft Tissue/Orthopaedic Surgery and more.
 
Eugene Hill, Head of VPIS said:
We are very proud to be working with RVC. VPIS has provided referral onto Clinical Experts for many years; however this marks an important step in ensuring that VPIS members have access to the absolute best services for onward critical care
 
As the largest ECC service in Europe, we are very pleased to be developing this new working relationship with VPIS. Our ECC specialists and specialists-in-training are available 24/7/365 both to offer advice about the management of clinical cases, poisoned or otherwise, and to see any case in which specialist care is considered necessary. We can also offer advanced therapies such as mechanical ventilation or renal replacement therapy in appropriate cases. As such we are very well placed to offer clinical support to the VPIS”.
 
 
 
                                       
 

New moves to tackle Seasonal Canine Illness

Agencies and landowners are stepping up their efforts to find out why some dogs have fallen ill while on countryside walks.

Cases of so called Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) occurred during the Autumn of 2009 and 2010 in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Warwickshire, although there have been reports from further afield.

Symptoms include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking and trembling and high temperature and have generally been displayed by animals within 24 hours of walking in the countryside, especially in woodlands. A small number of dogs have died, but the cause remains unknown.

Jo Atkinson, from the Forestry Commission, said:

"Although no cases have yet been reported this year, we are working with our many partners to get a clearer picture of the distribution and reasons behind this upsetting sickness. Both dog owners and vets can play their part too in helping protect cherished pets."

Developments include:

• Agencies including the Forestry Commission and Notts County Council have teamed up to ensure that data collection on incidents is co-ordinated to achieve a much better picture of any outbreaks. It is likely that cases have gone unreported in previous years.

• The Animal Health Trust is asking dog owners who have walked in affected areas to fill in a questionnaire here even if dogs did not fall ill.

• Nottingham University Veterinary School is to carry out two research projects to try and develop a test for a possible toxin which may be to blame.

• Landowners are seeking to work with vets to learn about cases more rapidly so they can inform people using their sites for dog walking.

• The Veterinary Poisons Information Service will monitor reports for unusual cases which could be SCI.


WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

Everyone concerned with animal welfare can help.

Dog owners
1) Be vigilant for signs of illness and contact a vet immediately if concerned.
2) Be aware of where your dog is walking and what it may be eating and drinking.
3) Think about keeping your dog on a lead.
4) Tell other pet owners about the project to spread the word.

Vets
1) Report suspected cases in Nottinghamshire to enquiries.sherwood@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
2) Collect and store samples for possible use by Nottingham University.
3) Encourage pet owners to complete the Animal Health Trust questionnaire.
4) Display the questionnaire prominently in surgeries.

Note to Editor
Questionnaires so far collated by the Animal Health Trust in 2010 revealed six cases of SCI in the Sherwood Forest/Clumber Park area of Nottinghamshire and 47 cases on the Sandringham Estate and in Thetford Forest. Other cases have been reported over the past two years, including incidents in Lincolnshire in the Market Rasen area and Laughton Forest, near Scunthorpre.

Research plans by Nottingham University are at an early stage, but are likely to focus on toxins naturally occurring in plants, fungi and algae blooms in woodland areas. Studies led by two third-year veterinary science students will begin this Autumn aiming to establish and validate a test for one such toxin and to determine the best way of storing and analysing batches of samples taken from affected pets. This will help in any further studies to pinpoint the exact cause of this illness. Researchers will not be testing water, plant or soil samples. Please email details of samples stored to Peter.Brown@nottingham.ac.uk

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.

 

                                                                                    

Your new first-stop guide to suspected poisonings in dogs and cats (30/03/11)

Congress sees the launch of a new resource for BSAVA Members which is the result of an exciting collaboration between BSAVA and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service


The BSAVA/VPIS Poisons Triage Tool provides summaries of the pertinent information relating to the poisoning of small animals by commonly encountered plants, chemical substances and food items. The aim of the Triage Tool is to provide members with a first-stop guide to suspected poisonings in dogs and cats.

For each agent, information is given on toxicology, clinical effects, appropriate first aid and subsequent management and prognosis. This is to enable veterinary surgeons and their staff to give appropriate guidance to clients that suspect their animals may have been poisoned. A 'Traffic Light' system indicates the level of concern and urgency.

The inclusion of substances in the listing was determined by review of enquiries made to the VPIS and their case outcomes, where known, over the past decade. Further agents will be added over time and a printed booklet is envisaged for 2012.

Please click here to visit the BSAVA/VPIS Triage Tool login page.

 


Notes for Editors
BSAVA Congress, 31 March - 3 April 2011, ICC/NIA Birmingham, UK
Pictures: screen shots of the BSAVA/VPIS Poisons Triage Tool
For more information or for picture requests contact Ian Mellor – i.mellor@bsava.com
 

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Veterinary Poisons Information Service partners with Vets Now to launch 24/7 life saving service (21/03/11)

ToxBox’ of toxicity treatments to save pets lives


Ahead of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association congress next week, Vets Now, the UK’s leading provider of Out of Hours Emergency vet care, has today (21 March) announced a new partnership with Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). Vets Now, in cooperation with their host practices and VPIS are launching a new ‘ToxBox’ service giving vets 24 hour direct access to the treatments that they are most likely to need, and least likely to stock, in a poisoning emergency. Together with the case specific advice offered by VPIS, this new service represents a significant step forward in the ease and availability of care for the intoxicated patient.

Through ToxBox any vet calling the VPIS advice line will be able to access the drugs required in a poisoning emergency at selected Vets Now clinics and their host practices across the UK. Vets tend not to stock some toxicity treatments as a matter of course; and while previously VPIS was only able to advise vets on diagnosis and appropriate treatment, through the new enhanced service they can now also direct vets to the nearest Vets Now clinic where the treatment can be sourced at cost straight away.

The ToxBox service will be effective from 31 March. Vets do not need to be Vets Now Member Practices to benefit from the ToxBox service – it is open to all veterinary practices across the country.

Vets can phone VPIS at any time, day or night, on 020 7188 0200 for advice and access to drugs.

Amanda Boag, Clinical Director at Vets Now, commenting on ToxBox said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with VPIS to offer vets this life saving service for pets across the UK.

“As emergency and critical care practitioners we frequently deal with poisoning cases and are pleased to be able to use our clinics to allow vets access to the treatments they need in a hurry.

ToxBox is a service which has been designed to help enhance the current VPIS advice service whereby vets can now easily gain access to those drugs they are most likely to need to treat toxicities, but not stock internally, such as plasma and Adder anti-venom. The service VPIS provides is very important for vets, and we hope that this additional provision will greatly benefit them and the pets they are caring for.”

Alex Campbell, Head of Services at VPIS, adds, “We are looking forward to working in partnership with Vets Now to improve outcomes for poisoned animals and their owners.

“Poisons can have deadly affects on animals if not treated quickly. Previously vets may have had to call round several hospitals or practices to source the recommended drug whilst their patient’s health deteriorates. Through ToxBox we can help them access the drug without delay and provide case-specific guidance to ensure the animal receives optimum care.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Lorraine Alonzi or Sam Nickerson on 0131 561 0422 or email firstname.surname@smarts.co.uk


Notes to editors

• Drugs will be supplied at cost, with a small handling charge. Standard VPIS consult fee will apply.

• Eight required and readily available drugs are:

European Viper Venom antiserum; Vitamin K1; Fresh frozen or frozen plasma; Apomorphine; N-acetylcysteine; Methocarbamol; Activated charcoal; Intralipid

NB. This list may be added to in the future.

About the Veterinary Poisons Information Service
1. The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) was launched in 1992 and provides 24-hour telephone advice for veterinary professionals on the diagnosis and management of poisoned animals. It is a subscription-based service and does not take enquiries from members of the public or pet owners, who are encouraged to call their local veterinary practice for advice.
2. The VPIS also publishes reviews and reports using data collected from poisons enquiries in scientific journals and magazines, monitors trends in poisoning and teaches at various universities and veterinary colleges.
3. The VPIS also provides veterinary medicines information.
4. The VPIS is available to veterinarians from within the UK.
5. The VPIS is part of Medical Toxicology and Information Services Ltd.
6. For further information about VPIS, please visit www.vpisuk.co.uk

About Vets Now
1. Launched in December 2001, Vets Now works in partnership with local veterinary practices to provide a dedicated out of hours emergency veterinary service.
2. The organisation has 47 emergency clinics across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and has treats around 86,000 small animal emergencies a year.
3. Vets Now employs over 350 veterinary professionals who work only nights, weekends and public holidays, ensuring they are fresh and ready to treat small animal emergencies.
4. In 2007, Vets Now launched Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk), the UK’s first national canine blood donation charity which to date has collected blood from over 2000 volunteer donors from all across the UK.
5. The most common emergencies which Vets Now sees are vomiting puppies, RTAs, wounds eg stick injuries, whelping problems, blocked cats, lameness, collapsed dogs and chocolate poisonings in dogs.
6. For further information about Vets Now, please visit www.vets-now.com
7. For further information about Pet Blood Bank, visit www.petbloodbankuk.org
 

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Remember to include vet care in Christmas Planning (03/12/10)

 

If you are a pet owner, remember to check your vet’s opening hours in the run up to Christmas. In particular, you should ensure you know what the arrangements are for veterinary emergencies when the practice is closed.

“Despite owners’ best efforts, emergencies can arise over Christmas, so it’s best to be prepared,” says RCVS Vice-President Jerry Davies.
 

“Pets sometimes take a fancy to Christmas decorations – tinsel, for example, can cause serious intestinal injuries if ingested, and broken glass baubles can cause foot injuries. Whatever the emergency though, pets deserve prompt veterinary attention.”
 

Veterinary surgeons across the UK are required under our guidelines to make provision for out-of-hours emergency veterinary treatment, even at Christmas.
 

However, animal owners are responsible for knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency, including over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, when many practices will have reduced opening hours.
 

“The arrangements for providing emergency care when practices are shut do vary, but practices should always be able to explain clearly what these are,” says Jerry.
 

“Some practices may provide emergency cover themselves, others will team up with different practices to look after a bigger area, or contract out to dedicated emergency service providers. Be prepared to travel a little bit further if you are diverted to an on-call service.”
 

There can be other festive hazards too. “This season often brings a lot of poisoning emergencies” says Alexander Campbell of the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, an organisation that advises veterinary professionals about suspected poisoning cases.
 

“Last Christmas, we handled over 50 telephone calls a day from veterinary practices. Some cases were serious and a few had fatal outcomes.
 

"Wherever possible, pets should be kept away from Christmas trees and decorations, festive plants, presents, batteries, foods and snacks,” he warns, adding, “The ‘Pets and Poisons’ leaflet we produced with the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation contains helpful advice for animal owners.”
 

For more information please click here to view the full press release

 

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Protect your pet from accidental poisoning with new RSPCA advice

 

Owners are being warned via new poisoning advice pages on the Society's official website that even common items such as chocolate, grapes and paracetamol could accidentally harm their beloved pets.

The RSPCA has teamed up with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) to offer detailed information and advice on common poisons for different species, what to do if you suspect your pet has been poisoned, and how to avoid the problem in the first place.

 New figures show the number of annual calls about animal poisoning received by the RSPCA have reached their highest level in five years, increasing from 1,493 calls in 2005 to 2,027 last year." 

 

For more information, please click here to view the full press release. 

To view the animal specific poisoning advice webpages please click here.

 

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Veterinary Poisons Information Service engages the services of new Emergency and Critical Care Diplomate as new consultant (04/08/10) 

 

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS), based at Guy’s Hospital in London, is pleased to announce the establishment of a formalized closer relationship with emergency and referral care providers Vets Now. As part of that relationship, Vets Now Clinical Director Amanda Boag MA VetMB DipACVIM DipACVECC FHEA MRCVS is to join the VPIS team as a veterinary consultant to assist in ensuring VPIS continues to provide the best possible service for its veterinary clients in the management of their small animal toxicology cases.

 

Amanda is well known in the profession, both in the UK and overseas for her knowledge and experience in veterinary emergency and critical care, and for her interest in cases of veterinary poisoning that often need urgent and critical treatment.

 

Commenting on this appointment Alexander Campbell, Head of Service at the VPIS says:

“We are delighted that we will be working more closely with Vets Now and that Amanda will be working with us in an advisory capacity. It is important for us to maintain confidence that the information and management advice we provide to our users is current, clinically effective and practicable. To have a system whereby VPIS advice is routinely audited, reviewed and updated by an experienced veterinary clinician such as Amanda is vital for that. At VPIS we strive to ensure that advice is species- and even breed-specific wherever possible, based on published peer-reviewed data and other credible sources, and which builds on the extensive database of past cases that VPIS has compiled by means of follow-up. Amanda’s appointment will strengthen the expertise we currently have providing this much used service and her advice will add to the confidence that the information provided is authoritative and devoid of the anecdotal, non-specific or human-based information found on many websites.

 

“Amanda will also provide an on-call service for VPIS staff when they feel that more clinical input may be needed for particularly complex cases, which is always reassuring to have, especially out-of-hours.

 

“Amanda as the Clinical Director for Vets Now, and ourselves, have identified a number of opportunities where Vets Now and VPIS can work collaboratively to provide additional resources and benefits to the veterinary profession as a whole relating to toxicology. It is tremendously exciting.”

 

Amanda Boag, Clinical Director of Vets Now commented

“At Vets Now we are delighted to be developing our relationship with VPIS. Toxicological cases often present as emergencies and as such our emergency clinics are frequent and regular users of the excellent telephone advice service VPIS provide. Personally I am very much looking forward to working with VPIS with provision of additional specialist clinical support. We are also looking forward to working with VPIS on development of other collaborative initiatives that can strengthen the symbiotic roles that both VPIS and Vets Now have supporting the veterinary profession in delivering high quality care for pets around the UK”

 

 
-ends-
 
 
Notes to editors
 
1.    Interviews or comments can be sought from VPIS (020 7188 3314; admin@vpisglobal.com) or Vets Now Ltd (Contact Mhairi Clarke, 0780 955 8375).
 
2.    The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) was launched in 1992 and provides 24-hour telephone advice for veterinary professionals on the diagnosis and management of poisoned animals. It is a subscription-based service and does not take enquiries from members of the public or pet owners, who are encouraged to call their local veterinary practice for advice.
 
The VPIS also publishes reviews and reports using data collected from poisons enquiries in scientific journals and magazines, monitors trends in poisoning and teaches at various universities and veterinary colleges.
 
The VPIS is part of Medical Toxicology and Information Services Ltd.
 
3.    Launched in December 2001, Vets Now works in partnership with local veterinary practices to provide a dedicated out of hours emergency veterinary service.
4.    The organisation has 44 emergency clinics across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and has treats around 86,000 small animal emergencies a year.
5.    Vets Now employs over 350 veterinary professionals who work only nights, weekends and public holidays, ensuring they are fresh and ready to treat small animal emergencies.
6.      Website addresses:

VPIS: www.vpisuk.co.uk  
Vets Now Ltd: www.vets-now.com
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                            

    Vets warn dog owners about dangers of artificial sweeteners (15/07/10)


The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is warning dog owners of the danger that the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, can pose to their pets.  Xylitol is not considered harmful to humans, but if ingested by a dog the substance is dangerous because it triggers a sudden release of insulin which causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) and can lead to liver damage.
 
Xylitol is increasingly used as a sweetener in sugar-free chewing gum and other confectionary; it is used in dental hygiene products and is also found as an excipient in many medicines.   Of particular concern are the sugar substitute products that contain Xylitol which are used in home baking as well as in manufactured goods.  Cakes, biscuits and other goodies made with it are toxic to dogs.  Owners may not be aware of these dangers and may not associate clinical deterioration with ingestion of these foodstuffs.
 
Other animals such as ferrets and cats may be similarly affected and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is monitoring all referred cases.
 
BVA Past President Nicky Paull commented:
 
“While most dog owners are now aware that foods such as chocolate and grapes can be toxic to their pets few are aware of the dangers if their dog eats a cake or muffin containing Xylitol.
 
“If you think your dog may have eaten chewing gum or a sweet or cake containing Xylitol and appears unwell, perhaps vomiting or lacking coordination,  then contact your vet for advice immediately and be ready to provide information on what’s been consumed.”
 
The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) have produced an easy reference guide to keeping pets safe from harmful substances.  The ‘Pets and poisons:  keeping your animal safe’ leaflet can be easily downloaded from the BVA AWF website at www.bva-awf.org.uk or you can request a copy from the Foundation.
 
Alexander Campbell, Head of Service at VPIS, added:
 
“With the increasing number of products containing Xylitol on the market the VPIS recognises the extreme importance of raising awareness of the danger to dogs of ingesting this substance, particularly in the light of a case we handled the other evening which involved a dog eating a muffin made with this sugar substitute.
 
“This is yet another instance where a food or food additive deemed safe for human consumption proves to be dangerous for other species. Pets should really only be given foodstuffs formulated for them.
 
“It is possible that other animals such as ferrets or cats might be affected similarly, but few cases are yet documented. The VPIS continues to monitor all referred cases in all animals with the aim of clarifying the situation in other species as and when more data become available.
 
“The VPIS would like to see manufacturers of these products provide some visible warnings and information on the packaging and to inform the retail outlets they supply of the potential risks to dogs.”
 
ENDS
 
 
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Notes to Editors:
 
1.         For more information please contact the BVA media office
2.         The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation is the veterinary profession’s charity committed to improving the welfare of animals through veterinary science, education and debate.
3.        ‘Pets and poisons: keeping your animals safe’ is one of a series of BVA AWF leaflets designed to assist pet owners. Other leaflets include:
  • What makes my pet happy? 
  • Taking your pets abroad: your guide to diseases encountered abroad 
  • Ornamental fish keeping 
  • An introduction to goat keeping
  • Caring for your ferret

All BVA AWF literature can be downloaded.  Individual copies of the leaflets can also be obtained by contacting the BVA AWF directly on 020 7636 6541 or email bva-awf@bva.co.uk.

 

4.  The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) was launched in 1992 and provides 24-hour telephone advice for veterinary professionals on the diagnosis and management of poisoned animals. It is a subscription-based service and does not take enquiries from members of the public or pet owners, who are encouraged to call their local veterinary practice for advice.
 
The VPIS also publishes reviews and reports using data collected from poisons enquiries in scientific journals and magazines, monitors trends in poisoning and teaches at various universities and veterinary colleges.
 
The VPIS is part of Medical Toxicology and Information Services Ltd.
 
5.         The VPIS has drawn attention to Xylitol poisoning in dogs in a letter to the Veterinary Record of 17 July 2010.
 

 

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