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In the case of animal poisoning getting the right advice quickly has been difficult in an emergency. There are thousands of poisons and not even a vet is able to know what to do with every substance or whether is actually a risk.

Vets often use the Veterinary Poisons Information Service as they give advice on what treatment is needed. This service was only available to vets and now it is available to pet owners.

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service has launched a pilot helpline for pet owners. Following feedback from veterinary practices, they created a dedicated number for pet owners, which reflects the different advice a pet owner would need compared to a vet.

The helpline is a triage service, which will let owners know if a trip to their vet is required. They serve as the first point of call for owners concerned that their pet may have been exposed to something that could potentially be poisonous.

The phone line is open 24 hours a day. It is not a free service but the price is low and given the severity of poisoning. Call costs are listed in the download area of this site and as at 2017, the price is £20 from 8 am to 8 pm on Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) and £30 outside these hours. Owners will not be advised on specific treatment just advice on what to do to get help if required.

The Animal Poison Line number is 01202 509 000.

The poisons line will need to know as much information as possible like:

  • The animal's breed, sex, age and any existing medical conditions, weight and name 
  • What your pet has taken. This can include the product name and any other details of what is in the product
  • How were they exposed? This can include how they came in to contact with the poison like eaten of on their skin
  • How much were they exposed to and at what time
  • Is this a one-off or have they been exposed before?

We have put some leaflets on this service in the download area of the course.