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Paralytic shellfish poisoning and palytoxin poisoning in dogs
  1. Nicola Bates1,
  2. Cassandra Morrison2,
  3. Leah Flaig3 and
  4. Andrew D Turner4
  1. 1 Veterinary Poisons Information Service, London, UK
  2. 2 Medivet, Southend-on-Sea, UK
  3. 3 Anton Vets, Andover, UK
  4. 4 Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Nicola Bates, Veterinary Poisons Information Service, London, UK; nicola.bates{at}


Background Fatal cases of exposure to paralytic shellfish toxins and palytoxins have occurred in companion animals but are poorly described.

Methods We describe one case of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and three cases of palytoxin poisoning in dogs.

Results Mild PSP occurred following ingestion of crab while walking on a beach. Analysis confirmed the presence of paralytic shellfish toxins, particularly decarbamoyl saxitoxin, in clinical samples and marine organisms. This case occurred shortly after an outbreak of PSP in dogs on the eastern coast of England. Palytoxin poisoning occurred in a dog after it chewed coral removed from an aquarium. Signs included collapse, hypothermia, bloody diarrhoea and respiratory distress. The dog was euthanised due to rapid deterioration and poor prognosis. Palytoxin was not detected in a premortem blood sample. Two other dogs in a separate incident developed only mild signs (fever and respiratory distress) after suspected exposure to aerosolised palytoxin and recovered within a few hours.

Conclusion Cases of PSP are episodic and not common in dogs. Cases of palytoxin exposure are reportedly increasing in humans, and there is presumably also an increased risk to pets. There is no specific treatment for PSP or palytoxin poisoning.

  • poisoning
  • toxicology
  • saxitoxin
  • palytoxin
  • paralytic shellfish toxins (PST)
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

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