Today's Veterinary Nurse

SEP-OCT 2017

Practical, peer reviewed, state-of-the-art companion animal nursing and technical educational articles with CE. Promotes better health for animals and career growth and development for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.

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TOXICOLOGY TALK 24 | TODAY'S VETERINARY TECHNICIAN | September/October 2017 Prevention is the best way to decrease the incidence of pet poisonings, but even with precautions in place, accidental poisonings happen every day. The management of poisoning cases generally consists of decontamination and symptomatic and supportive care because very few antidotes are available, and those that are available can be cost prohibitive or difficult to obtain. 1 Therefore, it is important to consider methods to decontaminate a poisoned pet when indicated. 1 Decontamination is the process of removing a toxicant to reduce its absorption or enhance its elimination, thus minimizing clinical signs or even preventing them from developing. 2,3 The most common methods of decontamination in pets are oral, dermal, ocular, and inhalation. 1–3 This article specifically addresses dermal, ocular, and inhalation decontamination in dogs and cats, including potential contraindications and precautions. For information on oral decontamination, please refer to "Oral Decontamination in Dogs and Cats" in the November/December 2016 issue. BOX 1 lists the key points to remember when managing poisoned pets. 1–7 DERMAL DECONTAMINATION Dermal exposures can involve a variety of agents, including greasy and oily substances, sticky materials, irritating or corrosive products, dry substances, and skunk spray. 1,2,4 Dermal exposures can also happen when an owner applies drops, sprays, ointments, or other substances directly to the pet. 2 The goals of dermal decontamination are to prevent transdermal absorption and oral reexposure from the pet grooming itself. 3,6,7 Dermal decontamination involves removing a substance from the fur and skin without using any harsh chemicals or solvents, which can further irritate and damage the skin. 2–5 Bathing is generally the best technique for removing substances from the fur and skin, but a dermal decontamination plan should be designed based on the nature and amount of the substance, duration of exposure, the number of substances involved, and the pet's condition, signalment, and species. 2,5 Veterinary staff should be aware of the public health risks associated with certain toxicants. 6 Dermal decontamination should take place in a well-ventilated area, and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as protective clothing (eg, impermeable gloves and apron), protective eyewear (eg, goggles, face shield), and respiratory protection (eg, surgical mask), should be worn to avoid human exposure. 1–7 Although the PPE needed will Dermal, Ocular, and Inhalation Decontamination in Dogs and Cats Dermal, Ocular, and Inhalation Decontamination in Dogs and Cats Erin has been employed with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) since 2006. She earned her associate's degree in applied science in veterinary technology from Parkland Community College and her bachelor's degree in applied science in veterinary hospital management from St. Petersburg College. Erin's interests include toxicology, but her true passion is sharing knowledge and educating veterinary staff. She has been an instructor for a toxicology continuing education (CE) course for the Veterinary Support Personnel Network and has spoken at several APCC CE conferences. Erin has had peer-reviewed articles published in Veterinary Technician, the NAVTA Journal, and Veterinary Medicine and has authored a chapter on the renal system in Small Animal Toxicology Essentials. Erin Freed, CVT, BAS ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Urbana, Illinois M E E T T H E A U T H O R TOXICOLOGY TALK

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