While we are often tempted to “Google” the symptoms and scenarios that are applicable to our beloved pets, we must be cautious about what we believe. A better resource is your vet who has the required medical background and real-life experiences to debunk and dispel Internet misinformation.
One common Internet rumor is that ingesting garlic is a homeopathic way to get rid of fleas. This is simply not true. It can cause hemolytic anemia and methemoglobinemia. And even a slight bit of exposure in cats postures them at risk.
Another myth is that atropine is a universal antidote. While it can help treat certain toxicities, it does not treat all of them. It can be used when pets are exposed to insecticides that result in organophosphate and carbamate toxicity. But nowadays insecticides are being made to be much safer than in days past.
Is milk another universal antidote? Unfortunately, it is not. It can make a good diluent for certain caustic substances, but it is far from a universal antidote. For example, if your pet has ingested plants, it can help dissolve the insoluble calcium and oxalate crystals found in some plants. But it may also create some gastric irritation. It’s simply best to allow your vet to prescribe medications that can be more immediately reliable, trusted, and effective.
Should your pet stay away from pistachios and almonds? As a rule, pistachios are not really toxic. Eating too many may cause gastrointestinal distress and possible pancreatitis, but they are not generally a lethal food to pets. What about almonds? Bitter almonds (like those sold in natural food stores and those commonly sold outside of the US) will put your pets at risk due to a level of cyanide that’s present in this type of nut. But sweet almonds are typically sold in the US, and while they can cause also intestinal and pancreatic issues if ingested in too great a volume, as a stand -alone they are not threatening.
Your vet remains the best “go to” for conditions related to your pet.