Jerame, certain hand-warmers may contain elemental iron that can be harmful, depending on the amount ingested and other factors. Iron poisoning presents itself in three different phases. The first phase, gastrointestinal tract irritation?vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody)?will typically occur within six hours of ingestion. During the second phase, the animal will appear to have recovered while the body's cells are absorbing the iron. The third phase begins approximately 12 to 24 hours later, during which the animal will experience a relapse of gastrointestinal signs, as well as shock, metabolic disturbances, severe depression, seizure activity, pulmonary edema, liver, kidney and blood cell damage. If the animal survives beyond this point, a condition called pyloric stenosis could result in gastric obstruction two to six weeks after ingestion.
Because of the risk of serious illness or even death from iron poisoning, we urge pet owners to keep all products containing iron out of the reach of their animals. Should an accidental exposure occur, owners should contact their local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435 for immediate assistance.