If your pet ingests a toxic substance, chemical, or food, the team at Urgent Pet Care Omaha will ask you to call the Pet Poison Helpline—a 24/7/365 national hotline for veterinary toxicology guidance and support. Because clients often are surprised at this request, especially if they have arrived in person, we wanted to explain why we approach toxin ingestion cases in this manner. Rest assured, our intentions for recommending the Pet Poison Helpline are to provide the fastest, most accurate treatment for your pet.

Here are the top five reasons why we ask that you first call the Pet Poison Helpline for known and suspected toxin ingestion.

#1: The Pet Poison Helpline is staffed by veterinary toxicologists

While our team at Urgent Pet Care Omaha is skilled in emergency medicine, we do not have a dedicated toxin specialist on staff. The specialized knowledge that the Pet Poison Helpline provides is second to none. As an independent, nationally recognized, triple-licensed animal poison control center, the Pet Poison Helpline is the fastest way to receive expert, individualized guidance on your pet’s care. The Pet Poison Helpline staff includes:

  • Licensed veterinary technicians, to triage and facilitate your pet’s case
  • Toxicology-trained veterinarians
  • Multiple veterinary specialists board-certified in emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and toxicology

Calling the Pet Poison Helpline about your pet’s toxin ingestion ensures your pet receives top-level consultation from a field of experts who are continually updating their knowledge to provide the most current toxicology information. 

#2: Rapid and expert triage for pet’s case before you leave home

In some instances, your pet’s ingestion may not be harmful. For example, dark chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but small amounts of white or milk chocolate are generally harmless. Additionally, many toxicities depend on many variables, including pet weight, consumed amount, brand, or active ingredient. By first calling the Pet Poison Helpline, your pet’s case will be triaged to determine if medical attention is needed—potentially saving you an unnecessary trip, plus the time and cost of visiting Urgent Pet Care Omaha.

When you call, ensure you have basic information about your pet and the ingested item, to answer the technician’s questions, which will include:

  • How long ago the item was ingested
  • Name, brand, and concentration of item
  • How much was consumed
  • Pet’s current medications and supplements
  • Any unnatural pet behavior or activity since ingestion

#3: Calling the Pet Poison Helpline may be more cost effective

At Urgent Pet Care Omaha, we are sensitive to our clients’ financial and emotional needs, and we strive to deliver medicine that is accessible and exceptional by being upfront about cost and prioritizing your pet’s needs. While the Pet Poison Helpline charges a $65 consult fee, if the toxicologists decide that your pet doesn’t need veterinary attention, you will save the cost—$125—of a visit to an Urgent Pet Care Omaha veterinarian. 

We think most pet owners would agree that $65 is a small price to pay for peace of mind and expert assessment.

#4: Faster answers about your pet’s case

During most shifts, we have only one veterinarian on the clock managing 10 to 20 injured and sick pets needing varying levels of care. Many of these pets are high priority (i.e., critical) and require regular assessment and monitoring. To provide every patient in our hospital the best possible care, our veterinarians are not available to research toxicology cases, which can be complex and multi-faceted. 

Simply determining what brands, types, and amounts of a given food, medication, household item, or plant is toxic or not can take the average veterinarian a great deal of time, but the Pet Poison Helpline specialists have access to references, databases, and their own clinical expertise, leading to a faster, more detailed response. The Pet Poison Helpline also saves precious time by providing Urgent Pet Care Omaha with expert treatment advice, which is especially valuable when time is of the essence.

#5: Expert treatment plan advice for your pet

If necessary, the Pet Poison Helpline veterinarians will make follow-up calls directly to your pet’s veterinarian at Urgent Pet Care Omaha, or your regular veterinarian, to provide specific treatment recommendations and advice. This expedites your pet’s care by providing expert insight, and a wealth of information, and eliminating the time-consuming research that would otherwise be required before initiating treatment. By consulting with the Pet Poison Helpline, the Urgent Pet Care Omaha veterinarians can partner with nationally recognized veterinary toxicologists to solve complex or rare cases without any treatment delay. 

Your pet’s care is always our priority

While you may not expect our team to ask you to call a national hotline, rest assured that clients contacting the Pet Poison Helpline means the Urgent Pet Care Omaha team can ensure prompt and accurate treatment for all our patients—both in and outside our hospital—thereby minimizing negative outcomes, unwanted complications, and saving more lives. 

If you know or suspect your pet has been exposed to a toxin, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. For all other emergencies, please contact Urgent Pet Care Omaha.