“We came home and found that Shayla had thrown up,” he said Thomas Simanek, Shayla’s owner. “We saw what looked like bird feathers in the mess, so we looked for bird remains but found nothing. When we checked her dog bed we found the remains of one of our puffers that appeared to have jumped out. The scales and coloring on the puffer skin turned out to be what we thought were feathers. Shayla is about 80% blind so she must have heard the fish flapping around and came to check. I immediately took her to the Emergency Animal Hospital, which recommended that I call the Pet Poison Helpline.”
“Blowfish (Family Tetraodontidae) often contain tetrodotoxin, which is toxic not only to humans but also to pets,” said Dr. Rene Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline. Puffer fish ingest certain marine bacteria from their environment, leading to the accumulation of tetrodotoxin. While this is less of a concern for residential aquarium fish, since they are likely to be fed a tetrodotoxin-free diet, poisoning can be possible if the bacteria are present in the aquarium environment or if the fish acquired these bacteria before arriving in its current environment . “Poisoning is caused by ingestion of flesh, entrails, ovaries, or skin. The highest concentration is in the intestines, which fortunately Shayla didn’t ingest.” In addition to pufferfish, many residential aquariums house other venomous fish such as scorpionfish (family Scorpaenidae), boxfish (family Ostraciidae), and squirrelfish (family Holocentridae).
Clinical symptoms can appear within 30 minutes in severe cases or within four to six hours in milder cases, beginning with gastrointestinal discomfort, a tingling sensation in the mouth and weakness/numbness in the limbs. Signs may develop into generalized muscle weakness, ataxia (a degenerative disease of the nervous system), tremors, low blood pressure, a slower heartbeat than normal, dilated pupils and paralysis. Death can occur from respiratory failure as a result of paralysis of the respiratory muscles.
When Shayla arrived Animal emergency clinic in Victorville, Californiashe received medication for vomiting, was given fluids intravenously and kept overnight for observation. Luckily, she hadn’t swallowed the internal organs, the puffer fish’s most dangerous part.
“Shayla is doing great,” added Simanek. “I actually think the ordeal prolonged her life. Between the IV treatments she’s been receiving and the new wet food we’re giving her, she’s got more guts and is a bit more active. She still sleeps a lot and happily.”
Animal poison hotline set up poison tails To educate the veterinary community and animal lovers about the many types of poisoning hazards faced by pets both inside and outside the home. All pets in highlighted poison tails have been successfully treated for the poisoning and have fully recovered.
Via the animal poison hotline
The Pet Poison Helpline, your trusted source for toxicology and animal health advice in times of potential emergencies, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinarians who need help treating a potentially poisoned pet. We are an independent, nationally recognized veterinary venom control center, triple licensed by the Boards of Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Pharmacy, offering unmatched professional leadership and expertise. Our veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. The Pet Poison Helpline fee is $75 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the case. Based in MinneapolisThe Animal Poisons Hotline is available in North America by phone at 800-213-6680. You can find more information online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.
contact: dr Rene Schmid
Pet Poison Control Center
SOURCE Animal Poison Hotline