E-cigarette use is on the rise, and so is reports of pet poisoning. More specifically, nicotine poisoning. This comes from pets consuming the liquid refills used in E-cigarette cartridges. These cartridges are filled with a potent amount of nicotine, made to be smoked slowly over a long period of time. If a pet consumes the vial, they are digesting a large amount of nicotine very quickly, which is very poisonous.
Cats are especially susceptible to the health risks from E-cigarettes. A key ingredient in the vapor, Propylene Glycol, can lead to a condition called “Heinz Body” (link here). This is when the red blood cells in their body become damaged. The cat can ingest the substance by either licking or chewing the device. Symptoms of Heinz Body include: discolored skin, fever, loss of appetite, pale lips and gums and discolored urine.
Generally, symptoms occur within fifteen to sixty minutes. For dogs this can be vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increased heart rate, heavy breathing, tremors, ataxia, weakness, seizures, coma, and cardiac arrest. Dogs are able to smell a wide variety of smells and are attracted by scented flavors or aromas.
Preventing nicotine poisoning is as simple as ensuring your pet doesn’t have access to your device. Pets can find their way into purses, counter-tops and seemingly out-of-reach places, so keeping your E-cigarette in a closed or locked location is the best idea. Ensure you don’t leave your device in the car or same room as your pet, and when not around, try to remember to keep it in either a drawer or cupboard.
If you suspect your pet may have been poisoned, time is the most important factor. For smaller pets, it can take less than an hour for nicotine poisoning to be fatal. Contact Dewinton Pet Hospital (link here) or your nearest vet immediately if your dog or cat displays any of the symptoms.
While E-cigarettes are a convenient substitution to traditional smoking, there are still health risks to your pet. Dewinton Pet Hospital is committed to ensuring the health and longevity of your furry loved one, and are available day or night for emergencies. Find us on Facebook for more helpful pet information. Or, for quick check ups, find us as your local Calgary or Okotoks Vet, just 15 minutes away.