Understanding and Treating Cough Drop Toxicity in Pets
When a pet owner tells you their dog or cat has ingested cough drops, the first thing you should do is check the ingredient list, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Most cough drops contain sugar, menthol, eucalyptus oil, colors, and flavors—all ingredients that may cause gastrointestinal upset. In addition, it's important to consider other ingredients that can create more serious consequences.
Xylitol, Benzocaine Dangers
It's becoming more and more common for manufacturers to include xylitol in cough drops. Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and possible liver injury depending on the amount present in the cough drops and how many the pet ingested.
Another ingredient of concern is benzocaine. Benzocaine most often causes gastrointestinal upset, but animals can metabolize it into compounds that cause methemoglobinemia at high doses.
Since it's a local anesthetic, benzocaine will numb the throat when swallowed or the mouth if chewed. This can pose a risk for aspiration, particularly in those patients that may be more susceptible to aspiration.
Obstruction may also be a concern, depending on the number of drops the pet ingested, their size, and whether they consumed the wrappers.
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