This is a concern because nicotine is a dangerous poison for pets and e-cigarettes and their associated paraphernalia often contain it in more concentrated levels than in traditional tobacco products. It is important to realize that these products are filled with liquid nicotine and still remain a hazard for pets. It is the more concentrated liquid cartridges and large-volume containers of nicotine liquid that pose the greatest risk for poisoning in pets.
Nicotine poisoning signs in dogs and cats from nicotine ingestion is vomiting. As nicotine receptors throughout the central nervous system and the body are stimulated, drooling, diarrhea, agitation and high heart rates can occur. With higher doses of nicotine, the receptors become blocked, and tremors and seizures can be seen, along with lethargy, muscular weakness and death from respiratory muscle weakness and heart arrhythmia. The most dangerous thing about nicotine in liquid form is that it can be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth in dogs, cats.
This is a true emergency. Because of the rapid absorption, most animals will become symptomatic very quickly. Vomiting usually develops within 30 minutes to an hour. If you think your pet has ingested nicotine (e-cigarettes, patches, gum or tobacco) and your pet is vomiting, agitated or lethargic, call your veterinarian immediately or the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.
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