Carbon monoxide is a silent killer as it is colourless and odourless and in concentrations, it can be fatal. Carbon Monoxide can be found in the home and businesses from cars, machines and gas central heating or cookers.
Exposure can occur when poorly maintained heating systems give off fumes that slowly poison the body blocking the oxygen transfer in the haemoglobin in the blood slowly starving the body of oxygen.
Due to their increased respiration and metabolic rate, pets will show signs before humans but both are affected eventually.
The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning include vomiting, dizziness, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, weakness, panting, collapse, seizures and cherry red mucous membranes can sometimes be seen.
Personal safety is the first priority as you would not want to be affected. Only if it is safe: open windows, turn off equipment and evacuate the animal to a place of safety. Contact the national gas emergency service or a professional to resolve and test the system.
The animal should be taken to a vet as soon as possible so that they can assess the level of the poisoning and give the appropriate treatment. Common treatments include immediate oxygen therapy which you can deliver if you have access to medical oxygen. The vet will take blood and urine samples to determine the levels in the blood and the appropriate treatment required.
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