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Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
Information provided by K-State News Services may be reproduced without permission. The marks and names of Kansas State University are protected trademarks and may not be used in any commercial or private endeavor without the approval of the university.

Sources: Deon van der Merwe, 785-532-4333,;
and Fred Oehme, 785-532-4334,
News release prepared by: Shelby Haag, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007


MANHATTAN -- A pet owner comes home for lunch to discover that a beloved puppy has knocked over the kitchen trash can and rummaged through the waste. The puppy now lays on the floor swollen and breathing heavily.

Help is just a phone call away with the Kansas State University Animal Poison Control Hotline service, 785-532-5679. K-State veterinary toxicologists are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during regular business days, Monday through Friday, to provide free immediate assistance when an animal has been exposed to or ingested a poisonous substance.

If after hours or a holiday, callers can leave an inquiry message and a hotline professional will respond first thing the morning of the next regular business day. Animal poisoning emergencies needing immediate assistance should contact a local veterinarian or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poisoning Hotline at 1-888-426-4435; charges will be applied for using this hotline.

The K-State Animal Poison Control Hotline is a service staffed by on-call veterinarians who also maintain regular veterinary practices at K-State along with their teaching and research duties. Overseeing the hotline is Deon van der Merwe, K-State assistant professor of toxicology.

When it comes to treating pets who have ingested a poison, van der Merwe said it is a race against the clock.

"We advise people to not hesitate calling for information. The longer you wait the greater the chemical exposure you pet will experience," van der Merwe said. "It's important to determine what your pet came into contact with in order to decide if immediate veterinary assistance is needed. The owner also should have the product label handy to provide the hotline professional with valuable information."

Van der Merwe said pets can come into contact with poisons in many places, from herbicides in the backyard to household cleaners under sinks. Pets ingesting human medications is a concern as well. Prescription medications which are safe for humans may be dangerous to pets.

Van der Merwe said to watch for symptoms of chemical poisoning such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, unusual drooling, burns around the mouth, unusual behavior and unconsciousness.

Responding quickly with the proper action may help save the pet's life.

"Always have hydrogen peroxide on hand, but do not administer without instructions from the veterinarian or poison control center," van der Merwe said. "Wait until the veterinarian or poison control center has given instructions before taking any medical action."

Human poison control centers also are available in each state and their toll-free numbers are located in the front of telephone directories. A national toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222, can be used for cases of human poisoning.