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What is Fluoride Poisoning?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical found in untreated water sources and a synthetic version of it is used as an additive in water supplies in many towns and cities. Although it is an effective way to prevent cavities, in large doses it can become toxic. Severe poisoning can occur if your dog eats something with a very large amount of fluoride such as toothpaste. This generally begins with the inflammation of the stomach and intestines followed by an increased heart rate with abnormalities. The fluoride is absorbed into the system within 90 minutes and will generally result in collapse and death within a few hours if it is untreated. Chronic overexposure to fluoride can result in weakened bones or abnormal bone growths as well as chronic gastric disorders.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical that canines can be particularly sensitive to. Fluoride toxicity due to overexposure is extremely serious and it can be acute or chronic.

 

Fluoride Poisoning Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

Symptoms of Fluoride Poisoning in Dogs

Some of the symptoms of fluoride toxicity such as lameness or muscle wasting are only likely to be seen when the exposure to higher than normal levels of fluoride has been chronic.

  • Depression 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Labored breathing
  • Lameness
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle wasting 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Stiffness
  • Sudden death
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Types

Calcium fluoride

  • This is the variety of fluoride that is found most often in nature
  • A fluoride molecule bonds with a calcium molecule to create calcium fluoride
  • Although calcium fluoride is more easily tolerated by the body than synthetic fluorides, it can be just as lethal at high doses

Sodium fluoride

  • This is the first synthetic fluoride that was introduced to the water supply
  • It is a white, odorless additive which has to be dissolved before adding it to the water supply

Sodium fluorosilicate

  • A dry additive which has to be dissolved before adding it to the water supply. This is fluorosilicate acid bound with sodium giving it a powdered or crystallized structure making it much easier to ship

Fluorosilicic acid

  • An inexpensive by-product of phosphate fertilizer manufacture in liquid form, also known as hydrofluorosilicate, HFS, or FSA. It is more commonly used, but can be quite expensive to ship
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Causes of Fluoride Poisoning in Dogs

Significant sources of fluoride for your canine:

Dog food

  • Some dog foods have a high amount of fluoride in their make up
  • Foods with large amounts of bone meal are more likely to have high fluoride levels due to the tendency for fluoride to accumulate in the bones

Fluoridated dental products

  • Fluoride is added into most toothpastes and gel treatments for humans
  • Due to the canine sensitivity to fluoride, it is rarely added to toothpastes designed for dogs
  • Human dental products may also contain xylitol, which is extremely toxic to canines

People food

  • Some food that people eat have higher concentrations of fluoride than others
  • Foods with notable amounts of fluoride can include cucumbers, pickles, spinach and canned tomato products 

Water supply

  • Supplemental fluoride is added to the water supply in most areas in the US, and some water supplies have naturally high fluoride levels
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Diagnosis of Fluoride Poisoning in Dogs

If it is a reaction to a single large dose and you have any of the remaining product or package, you will want to bring that with you to the clinic as well. Your veterinarian will need to get a full history from you, taking special note of the diet and any opportunistic eating as well as a progression of symptoms. That information, combined with a physical examination will help reach a conclusive diagnosis. The physical examination will check for inflammation, and will take particular note of any heart rhythm abnormalities. There are several disorders which may mimic chronic fluoride overexposure. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis are likely to be done at this time as well to rule out other disorders with the same symptoms, as well as detect any toxins in the system. Fluoride usually does not remain in the body longer than 24 hours so this method of detection may provide a false negative.

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Treatment of Fluoride Poisoning in Dogs

An acute case of fluoride poisoning can kill within just a few hours time so time is of the essence if the disorder is to be corrected. If you know what your pet ingested contact the veterinarian immediately. If ingested recently enough, your veterinarian may opt to have you induce your dog to vomit to avoid the absorption of any toxins before travelling to the office. Patients that develop acute fluoride poisoning can be given calcium gluconate intravenously and magnesium hydroxide or milk by mouth to minimize absorption, although this is not always successful and the patient may ultimately succumb to the imbalance.  Chronic fluoride poisoning also has a poor prognosis, and once the outward signs have developed reversal is unlikely. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend a low fluoride dog food and specific supplements may be added to your pet’s diet to reduce the absorption of the fluoride. These measures will not reverse or stop the progression of the disorder but it may slow the development of additional symptoms for a time.

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Recovery of Fluoride Poisoning in Dogs

Keeping the recovering patient in a quiet and calm environment and making sure that he or she completes the full measure of any prescribed medications will help encourage recovery. Medications to guard against secondary infection or to protect the gastrointestinal system may be recommended. In order to reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of the disorder, the patient may need to be placed on a diet restricted to low-fat, high-fiber foods until any inflammation has gone down. In the case of chronic fluoride poisoning it is essential to track down and eliminate the source of the overabundance of fluoride in the diet or environment of the animal.

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Fluoride Poisoning Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

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Fluoride Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Hound Mix

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2 Years

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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My dog tore open a brand new toothpaste box with the new toothpaste in it while i was out of the room for a minute. Not sure if he ate any or not. Is there anything I can do at home to help before i take him to a vet?

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello, If he just ate part of the box he may be fine. Paper can usually be broken down and easily pass out of your dog. If he ate some fo the toothpaste this can cause GI issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. Your vet can get your dog on medication to help your dog start to feel better. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 10, 2020

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Chow Chow

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9 weeks

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None

Dog licked toothpaste. Crest 3D White. Seems to be acting normal, but I am very concerned because of how toxic toothpaste is for dogs, she got a few licks in before we removed her.

July 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear that your dog is having issues. Just a lick may not cause any issues. If she is acting normal, it may be okay to just watch her and see. If she starts to feel bad, vomits, is lethargic or has diarrhea, it would be best to see your vet. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 8, 2020

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Sikara

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Siberian Husky

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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2 found helpful

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Fair severity

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None

My dog ingested two sharpfloss picks that also had fluoride on the strings of floss, would it be over cautious to take the her to the vet or should i just watch for symptoms? As of now, she is acting normal. Her breed is full Siberian Husky. Thank you!

July 17, 2018

Sikara's Owner

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2 Recommendations

There are many different types of floss picks and floss in general and I cannot know for certain how much fluoride was consumed but I doubt it was a toxic amount; however, I am more concerned about the ingestion of the floss picks and would recommend that you visit your Veterinarian about the sharp ends of the floss picks. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 18, 2018

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Rico

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Labrador Retriever

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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None So Far

My dog got ahold of an empty Colgate MaxFresh toothpaste container and chewed on it. It was 96% empty, and there no xylitol in it, plus I don't think he ate that much. Should I call the vet or wait and see what happens? This happened about an hour or two ago and he's not exhibiting any symptoms as of yet.

May 22, 2018

Rico's Owner

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3 Recommendations

Typically we would expect to see symptoms of poisoning within an hour or two, keep a close eye on Rico but it sounds like very little was consumed. You should monitor him for any symptom listed on this page and if you have any concerns or any symptoms present you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 23, 2018

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jill

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Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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None

my dog eat poop and so I brushed her teeth without knowing toothpaste can be lethal. It was Colgate and it was less than pea size. I wipe her mouth with water. I want to know if she will be okay. it has been just a few minutes.

March 10, 2018

jill's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If the Colgate had xylitol as an ingredient, Jill should see her veterinarian to check lab work and monitor her liver enzyme values. The amount that she ate may have been small enough to not cause any harm, but even a tiny amount of xylitol can cause profound drops in blood sugar and liver failure. It would probably be best at this point to have her examined by your veterinarian now, and they can advise you as to what may be necessary next. I hope that she is okay.

March 10, 2018

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Pumpkin

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Chihuahua

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Four Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Ate Toothpaste
Ate Human Toothpaste

I need help my dog ate a little bit of toothpaste and he looks like he has hiccups I guess? And he’s shaking but then again he just got out of a bath. I don’t know what’s wrong this was probably like half an hour ago . Please I need help ASAP her at crest toothpaste.

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Pepper

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Beagle

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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My dog chewed a tube of toothpaste and I took it from her pretty quickly. I think she didn’t consume much it, was a 1 oz mini travel tube, no xylitol but it was a fluoride toothpaste I doubt she ate very much at all but she chewed the tip off . Should I be worried she isn’t showing any signs of being sick but as soon as I noticed I came here to seek answers.

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Nena

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Pomeranian

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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Lethargy

Hello,I accidentally gave my dog a little toothpaste like a toothbrush amount-no symptoms but what should I do. My hometown vet is closed.and I don't know what to do,no xylitol and it was crest baking soda and peroxide

Fluoride Poisoning Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

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