Health

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General

Body Temperature: 
Canine "normal" body temperature range is 100.5 - 102.5 Fahrenheit (38 - 39.2 Celsius).

A body temperature below 100 or above 103F warrants a call to your veterinarian. Body temperature in dogs is most often measured rectally, ear thermometers can also be used, but it can be difficult to get an accurate reading. Gauging body temperature by the moistness of the nose or how warm the ears feel is not reliable



Worms:  There are several types of parasitic worm which affect dogs:

Symptoms:

Anaemia
Dry hair
Poor weight-gain
Apathy
Diarrhoea
Bloated abdomen in puppies
Coughing

Hookworms  (Ancylostoma caninum)

Tapeworms  (Dipylidium caninum)

Whipworms  (Trichuris vulpis)

Heartworms 

Puppies need to be wormed at two weeks of age, then again at five and eight weeks.  This will be taken care of by the breeder, who would hopefully have been worming the dam daily with the appropriate dosage during the latter weeks of pregnancy.   Thereafter the puppy will need worming at 12 weeks and at three or four monthly intervals after that.  

The only wormers that I personally recommend are Panacur or Drontal (available from vets,  pharmacies and online pharmaceutical suppliers).   Cheaper wormers sold in pet shops and supermarkets are not very effective.


Fleas. Ticks and external parasites

These tend to be a seasonal hazard, especially when dogs have been mixing with other dogs or running in fields where sheep, cattle and deer have roamed.

I personally don't believe in putting chemicals on my dogs to prevent something they don't have, especially as many dogs and cats have suffered severe adverse reactions to the 'spot-on' type treatments.  

Most parasites such as fleas and ticks are discovered early with regular grooming and are best removed by hand and destroyed.   The use of herbal or natural repellents can be beneficial, such as citronella or tea tree oil, when used regularly as part of the normal grooming routine.  

Heavy infestations will need treatment and there are several good sprays on the market - don't forget to use a household spray on the soft furnishings as this is where the parasites breed.


Vaccinations

All Sansorrella puppies will be vet-checked and receive their first puppy vaccination before leaving for their new homes.   This should be followed 2 - 3 weeks later by the second vaccination (depending on the vaccine used and recommendation of individual vets).    A booster vaccination will need to be given at 12 months old.

After 12 months of age there is a great deal of debate as to whether annual boosters are necessary.   Some dog training clubs insist on it and they will also be required if the dog is likely to be put into boarding kennels or will be travelling abroad.   There are numerous articles to be found arguing the cases for and against the necessity of annual boosters - I can only suggest that this be researched thoroughly before making an informed decision.   Some vaccines have a longer effect on immunity than others and Lepto and Parvo will need to be boosted annually.  
Please discuss this with your vet as to which parts of the vaccination regime need regular boosting.

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Two Common Summer Emergencies:    Heatstroke and Bee Stings (Anaphylactic Shock)

Heatstroke (Hyperthermia)

Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body's temperature in a safe range. Animals do not have efficient cooling systems (like humans who sweat) and get overheated easily. A dog with moderate heatstroke (body temperature from 104º to 106ºF) can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care (normal body temperature is 100-102.5°F). Severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed.

Signs

A dog suffering from heatstroke will display several signs:

Rapid panting
Bright red tongue
Red or pale gums
Thick, sticky saliva
Depression
Weakness
Dizziness
Vomiting - sometimes with blood

Diarrhea
Shock
Coma

What you should do

Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him with a fan. CAUTION: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and the dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. He should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.

Allow free access to water or a children's rehydrating solution if the dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; the dog may inhale it or choke.

What your veterinarian will do


Your veterinarian will lower your dog's body temperature to a safe range (if you have not already) and continually monitor his temperature. Your dog will be given fluids, and possibly oxygen. He will be monitored for shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, and other complications, and treated accordingly. Blood samples may be taken before and during the treatment. The clotting time of the blood will be monitored, since clotting problems are a common complication.

Aftercare

Dogs with moderate heatstroke often recover without complicating health problems. Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage that might need ongoing care such as a special diet prescribed by your veterinarian. Dogs who suffer from heatstroke once increase their risk for getting it again and steps must be taken to prevent it on hot, humid days.

Prevention

Any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heatstroke. Following these guidelines can help prevent serious problems.

Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.

Provide access to water at all times.

Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to140 degrees.

Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.

On a hot day, restrict exercise and don't take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.

Do not muzzle your dog.

Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.

Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.

Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for the dog to lay on.


Anaphylactic shock:

A widespread and very serious allergic reaction.

Symptoms include dizziness, loss of consciousness, laboured breathing, swelling of the tongue and breathing tubes, blueness of the skin, low blood pressure, heart failure, and death.

Immediate emergency treatment is required for this type of shock, including administration of antivenom in the case of bee or wasp stings.

It's a good idea to always carry Piriton tablets with you when out and about during the summer, as fast treatment can save your dog from an allergic reaction which could cause swelling of the airways or complete collapse.   Syrup is easier to administer but not so handy to carry - about 2 tablets should be ok for most large dogs.   Ask your vet for advice.


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Dog Health Check

Even if you’re just checking the things you can see and feel, you’re helping to keep your dog in good health because you will be familiar with him in such detail that you will quickly be able to spot any areas for concern.

You can already tell a great deal from the physical appearance of your dog. His skin, coat, eyes, ears, teeth and claws all provide pointers to his well-being, as does his activity level and energy. Even changes in his stools can give you an indication of possible digestive problems.

A quick daily once-over or regular spot check on your dog’s key health indicators can be part of your regular routine and he won’t one mind getting the extra attention, one little bit.


A complete and balanced diet aids health maintenance

Of course, your dog’s diet plays a major part in his health and well-being. You can tell he’s getting maximum nutritional benefit from his food by visible signs, like the condition of his skin and coat. Such positive indicators also help reassure you that his nutrition is helping build and maintain strong, flexible joints and bones, sustaining lean muscle mass and aiding a robust digestion and immune system.


Veterinary checks

Just like people, dog’s can get ill and when they do the best thing is for them to visit the vet’s clinic. However, it’s also a good idea to have your dog checked by a veterinarian at least once or twice a year, right through his adult life – even if he isn’t visibly ill. Remember, your dog is aging a lot quicker than you and a yearly check-up is only the equivalent of you seeing your doctor around once every six or seven years.

It’s not easy for your dog to relay to you anything other than very obvious pain or discomfort and early signs of disease aren’t always obvious. Preventive action on your part can help mitigate against any potential health problems by enabling the vet to check regularly for things like heart and lung function, as well as providing more mundane, but still expert, inspection of ears, eyes, teeth, claws, etc. It also enables your vet to keep your dog’s vaccination boosters up-to-date.


How often should my dog be vaccinated?

Each dog is different and therefore its best to agree a custom vaccination schedule with your vet that’s appropriate to your dog and the potential risks he may face. The vet needs to consider things like your dog’s age, current health, breed type, lifestyle, environment and any travel plans you may have. These, plus other external factors like which country, city or area you live in, can all play a part. What is vital though is that you keep a record of your dog’s vaccinations and work with your vet to keep your dog protected against common viral threats like parvovirus, distemper and kennel cough. Your local vet will also tell you how often the vaccination should take place.


What about flea and worm control?

This is another important area obviously, but one which the experienced dog owner should have no real difficulty keeping in check. Many dogs suffer more from flea irritation in the summer months but flea checks should be done weekly. A flea comb, tweezers and suitable shampoos will take care of any incidents. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully on any shampoos and rinse thoroughly.

Worming is also very important to your dog’s health and you should follow a management routine. There are many different recommendations for regularity, but at least once a year is advisable and more frequently if your dog is particularly active, spends a lot of its time outdoors, or is in frequent contact with children. Ask your vet for advice and help keep your dog healthy, active and worm-free.


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Exercise
:

Puppies:
   As a general rule of thumb we recommend about 5 minutes for every month of the puppies life. So at 12 weeks old 15 minutes a day would be right.

Puppies are running around and playing whenever they are awake and will get lots of exercise in the garden - they also need lots of rest too.

Quote from an article by Stan Rawlinson:

"It is important not to over-exercise puppies while their bones are developing as this can lead to joint problems. With a reasonable sized garden a puppy will get all the exercise it needs playing, without formal exercise. Trips out can therefore be for training and socialisation. As a rule of thumb we recommend 5 minutes formal exercise (e.g. lead walking) per month of age from the age of three months (when most puppies are able to go out in public after initial vaccinations). So that is 15 minutes at 3 months, 20 minutes at 4 months and so on. This builds up exercise slowly without putting stress on the puppy. It should be noted this is a guide - and that the 5 minutes per month of age does not include any rest time. So a 3 month old puppy could easily have a half hour trip out which involved a 5 minute walk to the park, some play time or a few minutes training mixed with watching the world go by, and 5 minutes walk home, and be well within the safe limit. The key is to be sensible and not overdo it. In the first 6 months, socialisation and new experiences are far more important than actual exercise.

You should also avoid the puppy going up or down stairs for the first six months at least and lift it in and out of the car for as long as you can! If you cannot lift it as a 6 month old, consider buying a car ramp, or teach it to put its front feet on the car sill and let you lift its back feet. All this is again to avoid stressing the puppy's joints"

Adults: 
Exercise should be built up gradually until the dog is fully grown.   Certainly before the age of 12 months the puppy should not be doing significant exercise or long walks.   After this, walks can be built up and adult Northern Inuit dogs and Wolfdogs can take as much exercise as you care to give them.

Ideally, exercise should include free running, as long as this can be done safely, and walking on different surfaces.   Hard surfaces help keep the feet in condition and maintain short nails, but they can also stress joints and build excess muscle.   So do a little of everything!   An adult Northern Inuit dog can take as much exercise as you want to give him but a minimum of 30 minutes free running is required, twice a day, to keep him fit and healthy.

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Spaying and Neutering (a really good article by Stan Rawlinson)


What Your Vet and the Rescue Centre's May Not Tell You

Spaying and neutering can make for a better and more affectionate family pet. It is a medical fact that spaying and neutering can prolong the life of our pets and may reduce the number of health problems in later life. Females can benefit from spaying by reducing the incidence of uterine, mammary, and ovarian cancers. It can also reduce the incidence uterine infections such as Pyometra.   Neutering a male reduces the risk of prostate and testicular cancer. They are less likely to develop unwanted behaviour's such as marking, sexual aggression, and mounting, they are also less likely to escape, roam, or fight with other dogs.

Some vets recommend that our dogs are spayed or neutered anywhere between 5 to 16 months. In America some are being done as early as 8 weeks and they routinely spay or neuter at between four and six months. Many of the Vets, Trainers and Behaviourists in both America and the UK are recommending this course of action, without understanding the numerous problems this advice will create.   Many rescue centre's such as Battersea Dogs Home and the RSPCA/ASPCA often spay and neuter as a matter of course, whatever the age. I have some very serious reservations about this advice and practice.

There have been many scientific studies on the beneficial outcome of spaying and neutering especially on a physiological level, but none I can find on a psychological and behavioural level.   Whenever I book a behavioural appointment, I always ask a series of relevant questions. One of these questions is, "have you had your dog spayed or neutered" and make notes that if they have, then at what age?  I noted some six years ago, that the incidence of frustration, lack of attention, and puppy like behaviour, appeared to be far more prevalent in dogs that were neutered and spayed at a younger age, rather than those that were allowed to mature naturally before attempting this operation.

As behavioural consultants and obedience trainers, I find that we are treating many more cases where dogs are displaying (paedomorphic) tendencies. That is puppy like behaviour's in adult dogs, which I believe is related to the incidence of early spaying and neutering.  I have also observed that bitches spayed too early may be far more interesting to intact males; unwanted male attention may cause the female to become aggressive and protective of this attention in adulthood.

I asked the members of PAACT - “The Professional Association of Applied Canine Trainers”
to start to monitor the dogs they were treating and to record the time they were spayed and neutered. Their feedback appeared to bear out my initial findings.

When should we spay and neuter?

With regard to neutering, I believe that males should not be castrated until they have been cocking their leg for at least one month, and should be at least 10 to 17 months of age (depending on size and breed). The larger the breed then the later they mature,. therefore something like a German Shepherd would be much later than the 10 months stated. Unless of course there are medical or serious behavioural issues to take into consideration.

In females, I believe that they should have at least one season; but preferably two, then wait approximately 3 months after the season before considering spaying.   It has also been observed that young female dogs that show aggressive tendencies towards owners, especially before the age of six months;  may demonstrate increased aggression after spaying. Spaying removes the production of progesterone, which is a natural calming hormone and a Serotonin uplifter. I would therefore take seriously into consideration, that spaying may escalate the aggressive behaviour.   Despite popular belief Spaying does not calm a female dog down. It may help to calm certain behaviour's in males, but not in the female dogs. How can it when you are removing calming hormones?

Many vets and rescue centre's will neuter a male dog before they have cocked their leg. It is at this point dogs start to seriously mark territory. Not the half-hearted attempts we see in immature dogs. The immature castrated dog may squat for the remainder of it’s life, and may be more interesting to intact males.   There appears to be a testosterone surge at between 10 and 17 months, once again depending on breed and size, which clearly turns on a dormant hard-wired program that establishes this cocking behaviour.

Many of these hard-wired behaviour's are not isolated to just one action, therefore other functions that are not so obvious may be switched on at this time. These may have social implications and behavioural effects that aid in the development of dogs psychological and physical growth. If we switch these off by neutering or spaying too early, we may be denying the opportunity achieve both mentally and physically the dog’s full adult potential.

Progesterone receptors are found in brain cells, in nerve sheaths and in bone cells, indicating that progesterone is involved in their function. It also appears to be involved in a range of other biological activities. Therefore spaying before both physical and psychological maturity may have numerous other long-term detrimental effects.

Many dogs that have been neutered early, appear to retain far more juvenile characteristics than those neutered when mature. In other words, they retain perpetual puppy like characteristics, whilst this may appear to be initially endearing, who would really want a dog that shows low concentration levels and frustrated puppy like behaviour for the remainder of its adult life?

Can it also cause physiological problems?

Because early neutering removes sex hormones, this delays maturation of “osteoclasts” resulting in the delayed closing of the growth plates of the long leg bones creating leggy taller than average dogs, thereby increasing the risk of some orthopedic disorders such as cruciate ligament disease, and possibly bone cancer.  It was long believed that eunuchs (castrated humans) were castrated to stop them being interested is the ladies of the Harem. However they were also used as palace guards and therefore because of the castration and the affect on the “osteoclasts” these eunuch's were appreciably taller making them more imposing as guards and soldiers.

It has been observed that Spaying can significantly increase the risk of urinary incontinence in bitches. Early neutering also increases risk of urethral sphincter incontinence in males (A. Aaron et al., Vet Rec. 139:542-6, 1996.)

In conclusion, I am all for spaying and neutering, but at the right time, thereby allowing your dogs to reach full maturity in both body and mind. I believe that a full psychological and physiological set of tests and experiments should be scientifically undertaken, to study the effect of early castration and spaying on all our animals, not just dogs and cats.

These findings though purely observational, have also been borne out by observation and experiences of behaviourists and trainers who are members of PAACT “The Professional Association of Applied Canine Trainers” An organisation dedicated to enhancing and bringing together the two main canine disciplines of obedience training and behavioural therapy. It is PAACT’s belief that to be able to work with dogs on a professional level, you need to be versed in both of these disciplines.

Article written by.
Stan Rawlinson Dip MTCBPT. MPAACT
Chairman and Founder Member
Professional Association of Applied Canine Trainers.
 

 

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Substances that are Poisonous to Dogs



ANTIFREEZE (Ethylene Glycol)

This maybe an obvious one but our vets see many cases of poisoning from this one. It has a sweet taste and can be easily licked up by our inquisitive canines. It will cause extreme vomiting and is quickly fatal, causing damage to the kidneys.
Clinical signs include depression, restlessness, loss of co-ordination or clumsiness, convulsions and coma.



HOUSEPLANTS and OTHER PLANTS

Many houseplants can be toxic. Some of the more common poisonous ones include; Amaryllis, Bleeding heart, caster oil plant (which is very toxic) Dumb Cane (another very dangerous one) any bulbs, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Stinging Nettles, Mushrooms, Rhubarb, the bark from any of the following is also very dangerous, Hemlock, Privet, Rhododendron, Wisteria. Horse Chestnut, Ivy, Yew. The list is quite exhaustive; it is safer to not allow your dog to chew on any leaves or wood when out and about on walks.
Signs of poisoning include; omitting drowsiness, diarrhoea, Trembling, abdominal pain, weakness, breathing difficulties and heart failure. Veterinary opinion should always be sought.



BERRIES

Berries that are commonly found in the garden may be poisonous to the dog. Plants are always attractive to dogs, especially puppies. Mistletoe, Holly, and Laburnum are toxic. Bulbs like Daffodils and snowdrops are also toxic, dogs that enjoy the odd bit of gardening and digging may eat them once found, also be aware when storing bulbs and tubers.


STINGS

Bee and Wasp stings can produce an anaphylactic reaction as in humans. Immediate veterinary attention is required as this condition can rapidly lead to death. If the tongue or mouth is stung veterinary attention will be required to reduce any ensuing swelling that may block the airway. If the sting can be found it is useful to try to remove it with tweezers. Common sting sties are the face, mouth and paws as the dog tries to catch the insect. Bee stings should be bathed with a solution of Bicarbonate of Soda, Wasp stings will benefit from Vinegar. A close eye must be kept on the dog for any signs of swelling, in some cases the dog will come up in hives and have a general ‘itchiness’ the vet will be able to administer a steroid for help with this.

Symptoms to watch out for include; vomiting, diarrhoea swelling, breathing difficulties, and worse case scenario, collapse.
  Piriton administered immediately can be a life-saver - always keep some handy in case of emergency.


CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

This gas can be emitted from car exhausts, or old, gas fires, which have not been serviced for a long time. This too of course affects people.
Signs to look for include; Weakness, lethargy, breathing difficulties, a blue tinge to the gums or tongue, and collapse.


CHOCOLATE

All forms of chocolate are toxic to dogs, hot chocolate, chocolate cakes, biscuits, and cocoa. The toxin in chocolate is Theo bromine. Theo bromine is found in the cocoa bean, the amount of Theo bromine is dependant on the type of chocolate, dark chocolate is richer and contains more than milk, or white.
It may harm the heart, kidneys and the central nervous system, and the effect is serious. Signs of Theo bromine poisoning include; nausea and vomiting, restlessness, hyperactivity, diarrhoea, muscle tremors, lethargy, depression, increase in urination or incontinence, finally if left untreated death may occur.



CIGARS AND CIGARETTES

Nicotine in Cigars and cigarettes is toxic to a dog. It is also possible for a dog to become addicted to nicotine.
Clinical signs of nicotine poisoning include; drooling, vomiting, possibly abdominal pain, twitching, and or muscle weakness.



DETERGENTS

Many household cleaners including bleach, loo cleaners and washing powders etc can cause serious injury to dogs through ingestion. The caustics will cause damage to the mucous membranes, and destroy tissues on contact. Then they will be absorbed into the blood stream.
Depending upon the substance-ingested injury can be as mild as slight irritation, to severe burns. The areas should be rinsed with copious amounts of water and in all instances veterinary advice should be taken without delay.


INSECTICIDES

Flea products when used in accordance with the manufacturers instruction should not cause a problem though in some cases sensitivity can occur.
Flea collars, and products containing organophosphates will affect the dogs nervous system, poisoning easily occurs when a dog eats a flea collar.
Signs include: vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite, convulsions, and or depression. If any of the signs occur contact your veterinary surgeon for advice. It might be useful to bathe the dog to help remove the product from the skin.



VEGETABLES

Potatoes, Green skins and green sprouts in potatoes (which have also poisoned humans) contain Solanum alkaloids, which are toxic. Mashed, cooked potato is fine. Take care with bags of potatoes that may be in the kitchen or out houses.

Tea, coffee and cola drinks. These also contain Theobromine – see chocolate.


RAW LIVER

Raw liver in large quantities can cause vitamin A toxicity in dogs. Vitamin A is not soluble so it is stored in the body and can build up. Signs of vitamin A over dosage include poor growth, impaired reproduction and sight problems.


ONIONS AND GARLIC

Onions especially raw contain sulphur, which can damage red blood cells, which can lead to anaemia. Garlic is less toxic and beneficial in some cases especially as an antiseptic, and insect repellent, the safest way to administer garlic is in the form of perles available from chemists and health food shops. It is prudent to check safe amounts with your vet.


FRUITS

Pear pips, plum kernels, peaches, apricots and apple pips contain cyanide and in large quantities are toxic. Grapes, raisins, sultanas and golden raisins are extremely poisonous – they can cause kidney failure. The actual poison is unknown.


TURKEY SKIN

Recently it is thought that Turkey skin can contribute towards acute Pancreatitis.


RAW FISH

Too much raw fish can cause a deficiency of the vitamin Thiamine that is one of the B vitamin group. Symptoms of Thiamine deficiency includes anorexia (serious loss of appetite), abnormal posture, weakness, seizures, and death, this is dangerous to cats as well as dogs.
Raw Salmon is dangerous as Salmon eat snails that carry bacteria harmful to dogs when ingested, the flukes are found in any part of the salmon, but especially the head and gut of the fish. Just coming into contact with Salmon blood can harm your dog. Diagnosis is difficult due to the fact that it mimics other canine diseases like Parvovirus, though once diagnosed it is easily treated with antibiotics.



MEDICATION

Human or animal medicines. The commonest are Aspirin, and Paracetamol. Keep all medicines out of the reach of your dog as you would a child.
Contact your vet immediately should you suspect an accidental overdose or dose of any medicines.



COCOA BEAN

Cocoa bean shells, are a by-product of chocolate production and are sold as mulch for landscaping. Homeowners like cocoa mulch because it degrades into an organic fertilizer and gives an attractive colour and oduor. Unprocessed beans, taken from the Theobroma cacao plant, contain 1-4% theobromine/0.07-0.36% caffeine whereas, cocoa bean mulch contains 0.19%-2.98% theobromine. Some dogs find the mulch attractive and eat small to large quantities.
Dogs consuming cocoa bean mulch may develop methylxanthine toxicosis which may induce - Seizure - Tremor - Bradycardia (slow heart beat) - Tachyarrhythmia (fast, irregular heart beat)


In all cases of accidental poisoning, keep calm and reassure your dog. Your vet might advise you to induce vomiting, never induce vomiting without checking with your vet first, some poisons will cause more damage from vomiting than from being eaten. If safe to induce vomiting, baking crystals can be given, but
always seek professional advice.

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