Plano, Texas, March 2016 – Pet poisoning is a preventable epidemic. “Consider this – roughly 300,000 calls are made to pet poison control lines each year, and that probably represents a small fraction of actual toxic exposures. It is reasonable to forecast that more than two million pets are exposed to some form of toxin every year. This is a preventable epidemic, and has to stop.” says Michael LoSasso, DVM, an emergency room veterinarian and founder of PreventingPetPoisoning.org.
Even famous pets are at risk. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lost his French bulldog, Brutus, to mushroom toxicity in September. “As all puppies and dogs do, he ate a mushroom while playing outside with his brother Hobbs. This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his liver and immune system to the point of no return,” Johnson said in an Instagram post, adding “I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play. What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil’ family members.”
Dr. LoSasso continues, “For too long, we have relied on the annual veterinary visit to inform pet owners about potentially toxic substances. The amount of information that is offered at, and remembered from, the annual veterinary visit is simply not enough. It is time to shift this information to a more meaningful, more useful place – the point of sale.”
Dr. LoSasso, who’s treated hundreds of cases of poisoned pets, realized that many, if not most, of the cases were preventable, if pet owners only understood the product in question was toxic to their pets. From lilies (potentially fatal to cats) to products containing xylitol (very dangerous for dogs) to all sorts of human medications, the key to prevention is education.
Dr. LoSasso devised a straightforward, simple plan. He created icons to warn consumers buying a given product of the potential toxicity to dogs or cats. “We’ve been labeling products that are dangerous for children for decades, but no such warnings are available to warn pet owners of potential danger,” says LoSasso. “There’s a real consumer need here to make them aware of the dangers that products pose to their pets. It should be a simple matter for retailers to responsibly label their products, and in turn be visited more frequently by the pet-owning public as reward for being pet-conscious.”
Pet owners and anyone concerned with preventing pet poisoning can learn more, and join the effort now for free at the website.
PreventingPetPoisoning.org is the brainchild of Michael LoSasso, DVM, an emergency veterinarian who is frustrated treating poisoned pets, because so many of these cases (some of which are fatal) could have been avoided if pet owners had realized a product was dangerous for their pets. For additional information, visit our website and our Facebook page or call (214)537-5579.