Is Paris Hilton Putting Her Pets at Risk of Drug Exposure

by Patrick Mahaney on November 2, 2010

Photo of Photo of Paris Hilton Flickr Creative Commons by ChristopherHarte

Paris Hilton’s arrest in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine serves as inspiration for this Celebrity Pet News article. All pet owners should be aware of the dangers prescription, over the counter, and recreational drugs pose to our companion animals.
Upon her arrest, TMZ reports that Hilton denied ownership of the purse she was carrying and the cocaine found inside.  In addition to the police investigation, Hilton’s claims began to unravel when the media made apparent her tweet “Love My New Chanel Purse I Got Today :)”, which included a photo of the bag (see NYDailyNews Paris Hilton posted photo of purse identical to cocaine purse she carried before arrest).  Since that fateful night in Vegas, Hilton has admitted ownership of both the purse and its intoxicating contents.
The contents of the purse included her stash of drugs, both recreational (cocaine) and prescription (Albuterol, an asthma medication), along with other personal items (Zig Zag rolling papers…hmmmm). As a veterinarian, my main concern is the realistic potential that one of Hilton’s multiple small dogs (like the infamous Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, featured in Hilton and Nicole Richie’s hit show “The Simple Life”) could be exposed a variety of intoxicating substances if her purse is left in an accessible location.
My clinical practice experiences indicate that most pets (especially dogs) will consume food or other substances when given the opportunity to do so. On innumerable occasions, I have seen pets wolf down edibles (gum, food, etc), non-digestibles (plastic, hair bands, used feminine products, etc), prescription and non-prescription human (and veterinary) medications, and recreational drugs previously considered to be safely contained within an owner’s purse, backpack, or European shoulder bag.
One case in particular comes to mind where a Chihuahua (perhaps one of Tinkerbell’s cousins?), named Poppa required medical treatment for Xylitol toxicity (see Xylitol Poisoning: Emerging Canine Toxicity from Sugarless Chewing Gum) after eating an entire pack of sugarless Orbitz Strawberry Mint chewing gum from his human caretakers purse.  Poppa was lucky that his owner was aware that he had consumed the gum and immediately sought veterinary care, as he readily recovered (see Chihuahua survives Xylitol toxicity from Orbit chewing gum).  Other pets are not as fortunate as Poppa and have suffered a toxic fate after consuming substances not meant for entry into their unwitting bodies.
Clinical signs of toxicity may be numerous or few and can include:

Stumbling (Ataxia)
Pupil dilation (Mydriasis)

Salivation (Ptyalism)
Vomiting (Emesis)
Inappetance (Anorexia)
Hilton’s celebrity and notorious circumstance sends message to pet owners around the world of the importance of preventing our pets’ access to toxic substance. Perhaps Hilton has not fully considered the life threatening consequences her beloved dogs would face if they consumed cocaine, or other substances, from her purse.  I hope that Hilton’s arrest will serve as a wake-up call that her use of such substances not only hurts herself, but could harm or even kill a beloved pet.
As part of her one year suspended sentence requires, Hilton must complete 200 hours of community service. I’d love to see Hilton channel her claimed love for animals by doing a public service announcement (PSA) about the potential dangers our pets face when they inappropriately consume substances (outrightly toxic or not)?

If your pet is suspected or known to have consumed a toxic substance, please call your veterinarian and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.  The APSCA’s fee based ($65) service permits a board certified veterinary toxicologist to best determine what treatment is appropriate so that your veterinarian can most effectively treat your pet.

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Copyright of this article (2010) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney.

Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

Photo Credit Creative Commons ChrostopherHarte

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

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