WARNINGS have been issued to pet owners ahead of the Easter season.

Orchard House Vets in Hexham claim it is the time of year when it begins to see a rise in animal poison cases due to the number of plants and treats on offer over Easter.

The veterinary practice issued guidance to owners on what to do if they think their pet has come into contact with something toxic.

Animals can be poisoned by either inhaling substances, swallowing them or coming into physical contact with them.

If the vet knows the poison they may be able to give an antidote, although not all poisons have antidotes.

If the type of poison is uncertain, or there is no antidote, they will treat the symptoms to maintain normal organ function until the poison has been processed out of the body.

A Orchard House Vets spokesman said: "Pet poisonings are one of the most common emergencies our vets and vet nurses see and statistics show around nine in 10 of these happen while pets are in their own home."

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"During certain holiday seasons - such as winter and Easter - cases go up considerably, often as a result of chocolate ingestion or cats and dogs eating foods infused with raisins, sultanas and currants. Antifreeze poisoning is another common emergency.

"If you’re worried that your pet has been poisoned call your vet immediately."

If a pet is thought to have been poisoned:

  • Get them to fresh air if poisoning is primarily from noxious fumes or gas
  • Wear protective gloves and remove the substance from the skin if poisoning is through contact
  • Use paper towels or clean rags to remove liquids
  • Never use water, solvents or anything else to remove the poison unless specifically directed to do so by a vet
  • Never induce vomiting even if poison was swallowed, unless specifically directed by a vet, as some poisons can cause more damage if vomiting occurs than if left in the stomach
  • If a vet advises to remove the poison, use soap or washing up liquid and rinse with lukewarm water to avoid lowering the body temperature.