Q:

What are the effects of carbon monoxide on pets?

A:

Quick Answer

Carbon monoxide can cause neurological problems, difficulty breathing and eventually death in pets. They are usually affected at lower levels than humans because they are smaller and more sensitive to the gas.

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Full Answer

Carbon monoxide is an unusually dangerous gas because it is odorless and exposure causes cognitive impairments, so many people do not realize they are breathing it. It is also cumulative, meaning it builds up in the body. It is caused by a variety of everyday appliances, including cars, heaters and stoves. The only reliable way to know if there is carbon monoxide in a home is to install detectors that sound an alarm when they sense the gas.

Drowsiness is often one of the first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets. If exposure continues, they may have trouble walking or develop an odd gait. They may behave erratically and in a way that is out of character, or they may seem to be having trouble seeing and hearing things. Their gums or skin may appear bright red in color. Eventually, they may develop seizures or fall into a coma, and if they are not given immediate medical attention, they may die.

Animals that have been exposed to carbon monoxide need veterinary treatment because the effects can continue even after the pet is removed.

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