Aspirin is a common over-the-counter medication that people often keep at home to treat mild pain and inflammation. Dogs can also take aspirin, but they should only be given this medication under the guidance of their vet, as it's imperative they receive the correct dosage. When dogs ingest too much aspirin, whether due to being given the incorrect dose or as a result of them finding a pack of aspirin and consuming it, they can experience aspirin poisoning.
Symptoms Of Aspirin Poisoning
Dogs with aspirin poisoning will experience vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach tenderness and loss of appetite. Stomach ulcers can form quickly due to aspirin having an anti-clotting effect on blood, and this can lead to your dog developing intestinal bleeding. They may pass blood in their vomit or stools, and bleeding can leave them feeling lethargic. Aspirin poisoning can also damage the central nervous system, and this can impair your dog's coordination, damage their muscles and also cause organ damage, which can be fatal.
Diagnosing And Treating Aspirin Poisoning
Diagnosing aspirin poisoning will involve taking details of your dog's symptoms and carrying out blood testing to look for red and white blood cell anomalies, abnormal electrolyte levels and raised inflammatory markers. Your vet will want to establish how well your dog's organs are functioning and will check the clotting ability of your dog's blood.
The treatment approach for aspirin poisoning will depend on the severity of your dog's symptoms. They will likely be given intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated and support their organs. The vet may induce vomiting with emetic drugs, or they may recommend gastric lavage. This is a procedure that flushes out the stomach using a small tube that's placed in the stomach through a small incision in the abdominal cavity. To ease and treat stomach ulcers, your vet will give your dog medication to reduce their stomach acid, and they will receive a liquid diet for several days to allow their gastrointestinal tract to heal. You can expect your dog to stay at the vet surgery for observation until they are feeling better, and blood tests may be repeated to check organ function at the end of their treatment.
Dogs can be curious and love to investigate bags, shelves and countertops, so ensure you keep medication out of their reach. If you suspect your dog is suffering from aspirin poisoning, get in touch with your vet right away, as early treatment could save your dog's life.