ASPCA Poison Control App
Introducing an app that the VMD Tech Appidemic is long-overdue to cover! Poison ingestion is a common presenting complaint in our patient populations, and owner awareness of what can be toxic to their pets and how toxicities present can make a difference in these cases.
The authoritative voice on pet poisonings in the U.S., ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), have created a poison database app to help referencing veterinary teams educate animal owners on the fly.
What sets this app apart from other similar apps we’ve covered previously on this site, like PupTox or the Pet Poison Helpline app?
First, while the other apps are focused only on cats and dogs, this one contains sections on horse and bird toxins.
Secondly, unlike the others, this app is available for free.
The APCC App contains a pretty comprehensive searchable list of household and other poisons for the four aforementioned species (dogs, cats, horses, birds) with the toxins divided into different sections like “household hazards”, “cold weather hazards”, “warm weather hazards” and so forth.
Some of the toxins like theobromine and warfarin are have built-in calculators (the chocolate wheel and the rodentislide) which take the animal’s weight and amount of toxin ingested and give the user an indication of the severity of the intoxication.
The app also includes a call button which enables the user to directly get in touch with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
A few tips to consider if you recommend this to your clients: First, several toxins are listed only by their chemical compound name without making it quite clear what type of product the substance can be found in. This may make finding information a bit difficult for some pet owners, especially when they’re checking the app to see if something that their pet has ingested might be toxic in the first place.
Second, while the user is encouraged to seek veterinary advice in almost every poison’s description, the app could have benefitted from a section with general emergency guidelines so that animal owners are prepared for the recommendations of the veterinary team.
The APCC App has a solid compendium of some of the most common toxins, and although the database isn’t the most intuitive to use for it’s intended audience (animal owners), it can serve as a useful reference tool for veterinary professionals. The app is available for free for both Android and iOS.
About the Author
Dr. Marit Veeber is a small animal clinician from Estonia. Her special interests include emergency and internal medicine. In her spare time she likes to read, hike, take pictures of stuff and play around with mobile apps. She also tweets about veterinary medicine and manages social media for the European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.