ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center Handles its 2 Millionth Case

Call center has helped historic number of animals since 1978
December 6, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) announced today that its Animal Poison Control Center has officially handled 2 million cases since its inception in 1978. The record breaking call involved a domestic longhair cat whose owner suspected exposure to a new houseplant.

"The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has come a long way since its founding in 1978," said Mindy Bough, vice president of operations at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. "Our services truly are unmatched, and we are proud to be the first choice of pet owners when they are in desperate need of professional help. Being a part of the ASPCA allows us to provide quality service and be a resource that pet owners can trust with the health of their beloved four-legged family member." 

In honor of this milestone, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center compiled data from the last 10 years to give pet owners insight into their cases:

  • Chocolate isn’t so sweet. Since 2002, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has handled 41,946 cases regarding chocolate. Chocolate is consistently the top toxin the Center receives calls on, and is the number one toxin of the past 10 years.
  • More than three-quarters of the calls received are for Fido. Since 2002, dogs are clearly worse offenders over cats when it comes to toxic exposures; 83.6 percent of cases were dogs and 13.9 percent were cats.
  • New toxins have been uncovered. Through ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center research, it was discovered that lilies, grapes and raisins, and fireflies can be toxic to pets.
  • Helping much of the animal kingdom. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has expertise that extends beyond just cats and dogs. In 2012 alone, cases were handled regarding a pet skunk, an Asian Small Clawed Otter, a Kinkajoo, a Serval, and a Northern Fur Seal.

The Center began as the Animal Toxicology Hotline at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign. At that time, Dr. William Buck, a renowned veterinary toxicologist at the College and his graduate students started handling and responding around-the-clock to calls on animal-related toxicology issues, using a paging service. In the summer of 1996, the ASPCA acquired the Center from the University of Illinois.

If your pet accidentally ingests a potentially toxic substance, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at (888) 426-4435 for immediate assistance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.