The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: Why Call?

Let’s say one day you walk in on your four-legged friend in the middle of devouring a loaf of raisin bread or you come home after an evening out to an empty and chewed up medicine bottle on the floor and your pet lying nearby. Maybe your cats, too, nibbled on some lilies. What do you do?

First, quickly gather up the evidence, including any packaging and vomit. Then, seek immediate assistance, even if your pet appears “normal.” Even in instances of poisoning, animals may act like themselves for many hours or days after ingestion.

If your pet is, in fact, acting normally, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) first: 1.888.426.4435, and be ready with the following information:

  • Species, breed, age, sex, and weigh for all animals involved
  • Symptoms, if any
  • Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount involved, and the time elapsed since the time of exposure
  • Product container/packaging, for reference
  • Be ready to follow the guidance you are given, which may include paying us a visit. Further, please note there is a $65.00 consultation fee for the APCC service, but the information you are given may very well be the difference between life and death for your pet.

It is very important to note that if your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious, or is having difficulty breathing, telephone us immediately and bring your pet right in!

After you arrive at Hope VS with your pet whom you think ingested something potentially dangerous, after we triage him or her, we will likely ask you to call the APCC if you haven’t already. While it is true that Hope VS is an emergency and specialty hospital ready for any pet emergency, the APCC has specially trained veterinary toxicologists on duty 24 hours a day. Additionally, the APCC has a veterinary database that stores more than one million animal cases involving pesticide, drug, plant, metal, and other exposures, all of which can be readily accessed to help them—and us—help you and your pet. Please note that even if you call from our facility, the APCC consultation fee wil still apply.

Once you speak with the APCC, you will be provided a case number. Please provide this to a member of the Hope VS team, as this allows our doctors to then call APCC with further information gained from your pet’s physical exam as well as continually and thoroughly follow up on your case.

So, while it may be difficult to understand why Hope VS needs information from outside our hospital, our being in contact with toxicology specialists who are also familiar with the specifics of your particular case only serve to provide you and your pet the best possible care.