Poisons affecting the neurological system

Nicola Bates
Thursday, April 2, 2020

The brain is susceptible to a variety of poisons. Sedating drugs and chemicals can cause central nervous system (CNS) depression while other substances can cause CNS stimulation, including seizures. These are of particular concern since intractable seizure activity may cause complications, with pyrexia resulting in secondary damage to other organs. The common poisons discussed here that cause neurological effects are metaldehyde and tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause rapid onset seizures; cannabis, which can cause prolonged sedation in companion animals; permethrin, which is associated with prolonged seizures, particularly in cats; and ivermectin, which can cause CNS depression, blindness and seizures. Treatment is supportive in most cases; care should be taken when considering the use of emetics since there is a risk of aspiration in seizuring animals. Control of seizure activity is a priority, while intravenous lipid emulsion may also be useful.

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