VPIS report gives ‘important insights’ for UK vets – BVA

Figures show the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) received 10,977 enquiries about poisoned animals in 2016, fractionally up on the previous year (10,893).

The most common enquiries concerned dogs (84%), with cats making up 15% and rabbits 1%.

The most common agents by percentage were:

  • NSAIDs – 879 enquiries (8%)
  • anticoagulant rodenticide – 759 (6.9%)
  • chocolate – 579 (5.3%)
  • paracetamol – 374 (3.4%)
  • grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants – 304 (2.8%)

The agents were similar to those in previous years, except enquiries relating to e-cigarettes increased to 113 (91 in 2015, 64 in 2014 and 113 in 2013).

Enquiries about vitamin D3 have also increased from 55 in 2015 to 148 in 2016, with the VPIS saying this probably reflects increased vitamin D supplementation and, therefore, availability.

Follow-up data

The authors of the report noted they were not automatically informed about the outcome of all cases they were consulted about, but had sent out postal questionnaires to collect follow-up data on the clinical course, treatments given and outcome of a proportion of cases.

In 2016, 3,427 follow-ups were sent (31% of cases), resulting in responses for 1,513 cases. Based on these data, in more than half of cases where follow-up information was received, the animal made a full recovery and almost a quarter of the animals remained asymptomatic. A fatal outcome was recorded in 7.7% of cases (4% euthanised and 3.7% died).

The authors observed that, in some cases, euthanasia may be an outcome due to financial constraints on the owner and not solely due to poisoning, although a poor prognosis and significant adverse effects are likely to influence such a course of action.

  • Read the full story in the 10 July issue of Veterinary Times.