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‘Vaping’ is increasingly popular, but is the use of e-cigarettes or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) harmful to our pets?

e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is toxic to pets and may result in the following symptoms; salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, panting, tachycardia (fast heart rate), dilated pupils, high blood pressure, tremors, seizures and in very severe cases may even be fatal.

Absorption of nicotine is rapid and can occur through ingestion or across the skin and mucous membranes. Therefore, clinical signs can develop quickly (within several minutes) and last for 1-2 hours (in mild cases) or even up to 24 hours (in more severe cases).

The toxic dose in dogs and cats is unknown, but toxicity is suggested at exposures of 1mg/kg (VPIS), with an LD50 (lethal dose in 50% of dogs) of 9-12mg/kg.

e-cigarettes contain varying levels of nicotine, therefore it can be challenging to ascertain how much has been ingested. It is thought that e-cigarettes and their refills contain 16-24mg per cartridge, with concentrations of up to 36mg/ml. If the entire cartridge is ingested, this may result in intestinal obstruction, sustained leakage of contents and corrosive injury depending on the type of battery in the e-cigarette. In comparison, a typical cigarette contains 9-30mg of nicotine.

It is important that any exposure is considered potentially toxic and urgent veterinary advice is sought. Remember S.P.E.E.D for any suspected cases of pet poisoning.

pet poisoned what to do

Pet owners can call the Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 and veterinary professionals can seek advice from the VPIS.

To find out more information on other pet poisons please visit: