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ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center

Taylor McKenzie, ASPCA

When Every Second Counts
By Taylor McKenzie

Imagine arriving home from work one day, anticipating your dog’s usual welcome. But as you approach the front door, you don’t hear his bark. You look everywhere, but can’t find Henry. Finally, you discover your dog lying in the kitchen. His body appears unharmed, but he is clearly very ill. Could he have ingested poison? Your immediate reaction is to call your veterinarian and rush Henry to the clinic, but to help diagnose and treat the dog, the doctor must know what items are in your home and garden, and must evaluate the possible danger of countless substances. So many factors are involved and the information is crucial, yet there are only minutes to figure it out.

ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center


Now imagine that this harrowing experience ends with a sigh of relief when your veterinarian assures you that Henry will be fine. While she analyzed the dog’s condition and symptoms, her assistant spoke by telephone with a toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). Fortunately, their clinic had recently joined the center’s new Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program™. Together, they reached a diagnosis and administered the appropriate treatment to Henry.

Veterinarians who join the Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program establish an account with the APCC, which keeps their clinic and payment data on file, thus enabling the toxicologists to focus on the medical emergency. The APCC’s around-the-clock hotline provides expert diagnostic and treatment recommendations for animals who may have ingested toxic chemicals, plants or everyday household items.

Member veterinarians are served by AnTox™, the APCC’s toxicology database. Presently containing data from more than 600,000 poison cases, AnTox enables APCC toxicologists to track poison trends and quickly predict an animal’s reaction to a given substance. Henry’s experience, for instance, would be added to the AnTox database, and Henry’s veterinarian would receive a detailed case analysis for her files.

The Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program’s benefit to animals speaks for itself, but there are even more reasons for pet parents to appreciate their veterinary clinic’s membership. For example, the veterinarian will receive Animal Watch, along with regular e-mails containing important medical updates, toxicology tips, and alerts to potential dangers. Plus, the Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program’s “Certificate of Recognition” provides peace of mind that your veterinarian is doing everything possible to provide the very best medical care.

Ask your veterinarian if he or she is a member of the Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program. If not, tell him about it. Enrollment is free by dialing (888) 332-3651, and the clinic’s account is charged only when a call is placed to APCC.

By working together, ASPCA APCC toxicologists and practicing veterinarians nationwide can rest assured that animals are afforded the best chance of surviving a potentially deadly emergency. To ensure that your veterinarian is able to help your pet on a moment’s notice, ask him or her to join the ASPCA’s Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program.

Taylor McKenzie ( is a direct marketing assistant for the ASPCA Development department.

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424 East 92nd St.
New York, NY 10128-6804
(212) 876-7700

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