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"I was just trying to help"

Paper -  it’s all around us and aside from the notoriously ouchy ‘paper cut’, we mostly don’t think much about it.  While it does not pose a toxicity risk to your pet, it may surprise you to learn that there is an unexpected consequence of a dog chewing on paper – their mouths can become stuck together!

Paper comes in many forms and much of it comes through our letterbox; letters, envelopes, leaflets, flyers, newspapers, brochures and magazines.  As many of you know, your dog may show an interest in these mystery intruders that regularly make their way onto the doormat or sit tantalisingly in the letterbox.  Of course, some dogs are chewers and will make short work of such things, much to many an owner’s despair at the mess or loss of an expected letter (or bill!).

Why does this happen?

It is not clear why or how chewing paper glues the mouth shut but dogs don’t have strong muscles for opening the mouth, compared to their bite strength, so that may be a factor.  The mouth can be glued together after chewing or reportedly just holding in the mouth a variety of different types of paper including newspaper, glossy paper (leaflets or flyers) and envelopes.  This can happen in minutes and last several hours and may involve only a small quantity of paper.  If the mouth is glued shut for several hours, the dog will be unable to eat and drink and they may also be drooling or distressed with pawing at the mouth with the risk of injuring themselves.

What can be done?

If the mouth is glued shut, gently brushing the teeth to dislodge the paper pulp may help, although this could take some time.  If this is not working it is possible that veterinary dental treatment under sedation may be required.

See the following links for stories and photos of some unfortunate dogs:

http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/dog-s-jaws-glued-shut-in-post-mishap-1-201711

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1284902/Post-chewing-dog-left-sticky-situation-envelope-glue-locks-jaws-together.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-38483373

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/dogs-jaw-glued-shut-dominoes-8293288

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/vets-gently-prise-open-chalky-13997452

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Spot the tomato... or is that a pepper?

Many pet owners are aware that various human foodstuffs are harmful to our pets.  Did you realise that any mouldy foods could be potentially dangerous for dogs and cats too?

Which mouldy foods are harmful to my dog or cat?

Mouldy foods and mouldy plant material, including compost, could contain toxins called tremorgenic mycotoxins.  These toxins are produced by moulds found in mouldy foods and organic material, for example mouldy cheese, blue cheeses, other mouldy dairy products, mouldy bread, mouldy fallen fruits and nuts, food waste and rubbish.  Dogs that raid household rubbish or garbage bins containing food waste are especially at risk of exposure to tremorgenic mycotoxins. Decaying organic matter that may be found in the garden such as silage, rubbish or compost, and fallen apples or walnuts for example, may also pose a risk to inquisitive dogs and cats.

Another type of toxin produced by a mould is the aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are produced by Aspergillus moulds which can grow on plants or plant products. Typically aflatoxins could occur on mouldy maize, various nuts such as peanuts (groundnuts), and barley.  Dogs can become exposed by eating aflatoxin contaminated foods. However in the UK poisoning from aflatoxins are less common in dogs and cats than poisoning from tremorgenic mycotoxins. 

Any mouldy foods or plant material could potentially be dangerous for pets to eat and could make them very unwell.

What signs would I see if my dog or cat has eaten mouldy food or plants?

If your dog or cats eats mouldy food or plant material containing tremorgenic mycotoxins it may become ill very quickly, often within one hour.  Common signs that are seen are vomiting, wobbliness, tremors, agitation and hyperactivity, a high body temperature and panting. In severe cases there may be convulsions.  Effects could possibly last for several days and deaths in cats and dogs have occurred. Prompt veterinary treatment is essential. The sooner they are treated, the better the outcome.

Without specialist laboratory testing it is hard to say what the level of mycotoxins are in mouldy foods. So, what appears to be only a small amount of mouldy food, or even if the food is visibly only very slightly mouldy, it could still make your pet unwell should they eat it.

Aflatoxins cause different signs compared to those seen with tremorgenic mycotoxins.   Principally their main effect is liver damage and signs of this may not be seen until several days after the ingestion of the aflatoxin contaminated food.  There may be vomiting and diarrhoea, thirst, lethargy and jaundice (a yellowing of mucous membranes, skin and the whites of the eyes). Deaths from aflatoxin ingestion can occur in dogs that develop severe liver damage.

If your pet manages to eat any mouldy food products, mouldy plant material or has raided the rubbish bin, seek veterinary attention immediately.  If your pet is already showing any signs, then take them to your local vet practice immediately for treatment.

Animal PoisonLine’s top tips about mouldy food:

·         Do not feed your dog any leftover or mouldy food

·         Dispose of unwanted and mouldy food promptly and carefully

·         Ensure used rubbish bags are securely stored away from pets and that dustbins are firmly closed

·         Prevent access by pets to compost heaps. Consider using a secure composting bin

·         If your pet has ingested a potential poison, never try to make your pet vomit at home as this could cause serious complications.

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Animal PoisonLine by Zoe Tizzard - 4M ago

Many people in the UK suffer from asthma and inhalers are commonly prescribed to help manage the symptoms.  Inhalers vary but will mostly contain either a steroid or a drug that helps open the airways although there are a variety available and some contain both.

The steroid inhalers which are taken regularly to help prevent attacks occurring are usually brown in colour.  The inhalers intended to help reduce the symptoms of an attack usually contain a drug called salbutamol and are coloured blue. One of the most common brand names is Ventolin.

Dogs may find the tough containers fun to chew on and can sometimes puncture them.  Because they are pressurised containers, when punctured the drug will rush out and the inhaler may even shoot across the room!  Because of this explosive release the dose of drug squirted out and eaten or inhaled can often be large – the whole inhaler’s worth.

What will happen if my dog bites an asthma inhaler?

There are various signs you could see.

1)      Puncturing the pressurised container can cause burns:

One problem with these inhalers is that the release of gas from the puncturing of a pressurised container can sometimes lead to a ‘frost-bite’ burn in the mouth that may be painful for the dog.  So watch out over the next 24 hours for signs such as soreness/redness in the mouth or face, not wanting to eat, drooling, being unsettled or having difficulty breathing.

2)      Puncturing salbutamol inhalers (coloured blue) can cause poisoning:

The first signs you are likely to notice are vomiting, lethargy, panting.  Also, your dog’s heart will start to race although this is not easily seen by the owner. These effects can be severe requiring close monitoring, and dogs will also need blood tests to check for changes to their potassium levels.  They may be very restless or agitated, wobbly on their feet, thirsty or weak.  Shaking or twitching can happen too, as well as an increased body temperature and irregular heartbeat.  In serious cases or where effects have been prolonged long term heart damage can occur.

 

What should I do if my dog has punctured an asthma inhaler?

If the inhaler only contains a steroid, the risk of poisoning is low, but you need to watch out for the development of a burn in the mouth over the next 24 hours.

If the inhaler contains salbutamol or a similar drug, treatment at the vets may be required.

If in doubt, call Animal PoisonLine and we can advise you whether you need to make a trip to the vet or not.

 

Animal PoisonLine’s 4 Top Tips about Asthma Inhalers
  • Keep asthma inhalers away from pets
  • Seek advice if you know your pet has punctured an inhaler and have the contents (drug names) to hand if possible
  • Be careful if your inhaler is in your handbag – this is a common place for a dog to find one so keep your bag closed and off the ground
  • Beware of inhalers discarded outside (e.g. in parks) and try to stop your dog picking them up in its mouth

 

 

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What do fertilisers contain?

One of the many spring jobs for the keen gardener is the application of fertiliser to the lawn and/or the garden borders. General purpose fertilisers contain the nutrients nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, often listed as NPK on packaging. Ingestion of any amount, other than trivial quantities, is likely to cause gastric upset. Dogs are often keen to eat large amounts of fertiliser if they are given half a chance.

What will I see if my dog eats fertiliser?

Any ingestion can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea especially if large quantities have been eaten, which may lead to your pet becoming dehydrated. There may also be some irritation of the mouth and gums, so if you see your dog ingesting fertiliser try and encourage them to have a drink or ask your vet how to safely wash their mouth out with water.  Irritation of the paws may also occur if they have trodden in freshly laid fertiliser, and you may notice this if you see your animal licking at them. Washing the paws is the best way to soothe them and there should not be any need to see the vet unless the soreness continues.

Are moss-killers, weed-killers or ‘weed and feed’ products poisonous to dogs and cats?

Any fertiliser that contains additional moss- killers or weed-killers will present more of a hazard when ingested, and if you suspect this is the case, or the box states that the preparation is a ‘Weed and Feed’ type of product there is more of a concern.   Iron salts are often added to kill moss and chemicals called phenoxy acids are used to kill weeds and these can cause more serious signs in cats and dogs, depending on the amount that has been eaten.  Cats may even get mild effects after walking on a freshly treated lawn and then licking their paws.  If you are concerned call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 to find out whether a visit to the vet is required or not.

Animal PoisonLine's 5 Top Tips for pets and fertiliser
  • Have fun in the garden with your pets but make sure dogs aren’t eating the fertiliser whilst you are applying it to the garden!
  • Store any unopened bags away from sharp claws and inquisitive noses.
  • Securely re-seal any opened bags and store out of reach of animals.
  • Clear away or sweep up any spillages or excess fertiliser from patios, decking or lawns.
  • Call for advice if you know that your pet has eaten fertiliser containing moss or weed killer and have the packaging to hand

 

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One of our frequent enquiries is about pets who have come into contact with a detergent. Detergents are often stored next to the washing machine or in cupboards below the work surface and are used so regularly in the household that is no surprise that cats and dogs occasionally may be exposed to them.

For cats, they often come into contact with detergents by either walking into already spilt liquids on the floor or by accidentally having some liquid detergent spilt on them. Their first response is always to groom and therefore they end up ingesting detergent. Dogs also groom, but they are also quite skilled when it comes to opening boxes or even getting the laundry pods out of the washing machine and puncturing them.

Different types of detergent:
  • laundry liquid and powder
  • floor or general purpose cleaners
  • hand washing soaps
  • washing up liquid
  • bubble or foam bath
  • carpet shampoo
  • dishwasher products
  • toilet freshener
  • fabric conditioner
  • hair shampoo and conditioner
Why are detergents dangerous to our pets?

Detergents contain a mixture of ingredients including surfactants (anionic, non-ionic or cationic).

Even though detergents are absorbed from the gut after being eaten, they are considered low toxicity. They can be irritant, but the main concern is when the foam or bubbles get into the lungs (inhaled) or when the amount ingested is significant, particularly if it is concentrated.

Usually, the first sign you see will be drooling or salivating. You may notice some foaming or frothing at the mouth followed by retching and then vomiting. Dogs are more likely to vomit than cats and stomach pain and diarrhoea are also possible.  These signs can start very quickly – sometimes within a few minutes.

If vomiting occurs the foam or detergent particles are inhaled and this can cause aspiration pneumonia. We have a number of severe cases every year.  The signs relating to the lungs will not start until a few hours after exposure.

Oral irritation (inside of the mouth and back of the throat) is common and can be painful. Also, any detergents on the skin can lead to skin reactions and hair loss.

Cats are generally more sensitive to detergent exposure.  Because of their grooming habits, they are more likely than dogs to suffer from respiratory complications and skin reactions.

Animal PoisonLine’s Top Tips about detergents:

1) Seek advice immediately if your pet has come into contact with a detergent

2) Prevent exposure by keeping detergents in locked or high cupboards and make access difficult (tightly closed lids and boxes)

3) If you see your pet has detergent on their coat try and prevent licking

4) Keep your animal calm – the stomach will act like a washing machine if your pet runs around, producing foam which can cause vomiting

 

If you are worried your pet has eaten anything they should not have, give Animal PoisonLine a call on 01202 509000 and one of our advisors will be able to assess the risk and advise you whether you need to take your pet to the vet.

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What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices, usually with a rechargeable battery designed to simulate tobacco smoking.  They have recently increased in popularity and are thought to be associated with fewer adverse health effects than smoking, although long term studies on the health effects of vaping are lacking. 

E-cigarettes or vapes are usually refillable, and refills are available in different strengths and various flavours.  The liquid is referred to as vape liquid, vape fluid, vape juice, e-liquid, e-juice etc.

Since May 2017 vape refills may only be sold legally in a maximum capacity of 10ml and the maximum quantity of nicotine allowed is 20mg in every ml of liquid.

What’s in vape liquid?

The contents vary but they are usually made up largely of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and/or polyethylene glycol as a base with nicotine in various strengths (although some varieties are nicotine free) and flavours (pretty much any you could think of!).

What makes vape liquid toxic?

It is the nicotine in vape liquid that can cause poisoning in pets.  The other ingredients are not considered to be a risk in the small quantities present in these products.

What happens when a pet eats vape liquid?

Nicotine is actually not well absorbed from the stomach and this and the fact that bottle sizes are small probably accounts for the fact that there are few serious cases of poisoning recorded.

Many animals will remain well after being exposed, but in cases where animals do develop effects they would be expected to happen quickly, within a few minutes to a few hours.  Effects that may occur are drooling or sometimes frothing at the mouth, vomiting or diarrhoea.  They may also seem a bit wobbly or trembly and may have a racing heart.

Serious nicotine poisoning is rare in cases of vape liquid exposures but could occur after a large ingestion or after prolonged chewing on a leaking container.

Why would my pet eat vape liquid?

Animals will often explore and pick things up with their mouths and dogs in particular like to chew.  Anything with a tough exterior will seem like an amusing chew toy to a curious dog.  As the liquid is often quite highly fragranced your pet may smell it much more than you and want to investigate further.  Or, as you may well know, anything you drop may be mistaken by an eager pet as a titbit or treat and they go for it in a flash!

What should I do if my pet has eaten vape liquid?

Wash any residue off the skin with soap and water - nicotine is well absorbed across the skin so remember to protect yourself too!

Rinse the mouth out with water (if your pet will let you and you are not at risk of being bitten) to remove any residue as nicotine is better absorbed in the mouth.

If your pet has eaten vape liquid, call Animal PoisonLine and we can assess the risk and advise you whether you need to take your pet to the vets.

When calling APL you will need:

·       The number of millilitres of vape liquid you think your pet has eaten

·       The strength of the vape liquid

·       The weight of your pet

 

If you are worried your pet has eaten anything they should not have, give Animal PoisonLine a call on 01202 509000 and one of our advisors will be able to assess the risk and advise you whether you need to take your pet to the vet.

 

Animal PoisonLine's Top Tips

1.       Always ensure you keep vapes and refills out of reach of pets.

2.       Clear up any spills promptly.

3.       Do not keep e-cigarettes and refills in an open handbag on the floor

 

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Paracetamol is used as a painkiller and is widely available both over the counter and on prescription and therefore it is present in most households. It is also given to children for pain relief and high temperatures and may be contained in mixed medicine formulations, such as cold and flu remedies.

It is sometimes given to dogs, but never in cats as they are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects owing to their inability to metabolise paracetamol as effectively.

What does paracetamol do to cats and dogs?

The toxic effects are due to how paracetamol is processed (metabolised) in the body. The processing of paracetamol involves several steps by different enzymes in different metabolic pathways. The main concerns in cats and dogs initially are effects on the blood and the ability to process oxygen. Later on there is the risk of liver damage.

One metabolic pathway (particularly in cats) can result in a build-up of a chemical that causes a reduced ability of the blood to transport vital oxygen around the body. This effect occurs quite quickly, within a few hours, and causes respiratory distress, pale or brown mucous membranes (e.g. gums), lethargy, wobbly gait, collapse and vomiting. You may also notice swelling of the face and paws and blood in the urine. Death can occur at this stage, if the pet is left untreated.

Another metabolic pathway results in the build-up of a chemical that can cause liver damage.  This occurs after a day or two.  There can be jaundice (seen as yellow gums), blood in the urine and liver failure.

Occasionally, there can also be kidney damage, coma and fitting.

What should I do if I think my pet has eaten paracetamol?

If you think your pet has eaten any paracetamol call Animal PoisonLine and we will be able to assess the risk and advise you whether you need to take your pet to the vet. Particularly for dogs there are many cases where treatment is not required. If a trip to the vet is needed, there is an antidote that can be given to prevent the liver damage from developing.

Can I wait for signs to start before seeking treatment?

If your pet has eaten enough to need treatment it is very important not to delay getting to the vet, even if at that point your dog or cat is not showing any signs. In some cases the signs of poisoning may be delayed for several days, and during that time treatment should have been started to reduce the risk of liver damage. 

Left untreated, paracetamol overdose can kill cats and dog but if treated promptly most animals make a full recovery. It is important to remember that the earlier treatment is started the better and quicker the recovery is expected to be.

Information you should have when you call APL:
  • The strength of the tablets/sachet (in mg) or liquid (mg/ml or mg/5ml)
  • The number of tablets or amount of liquid in ml you think your pet has eaten
  • Weight of your pet
Top Tips

1. Always keep medications out of reach of pets

2. Do not overestimate the security of a handbag, many a raided handbag has resulted in a poorly pet

3. NEVER give paracetamol to your dog or cat without consulting a vet

 

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Despite this very cold spell that we are having there are already daffodils coming into bloom.  It makes everyone feel that Spring is just around the corner but did you know that daffodils can be poisonous to our pets?

Why are daffodils poisonous to pets?

The toxic compounds in daffodils are called glycosides and alkaloids and they are present in all parts of the plant but are most concentrated in the bulbs – bad news for dogs who like to dig up flower beds!

Eating daffodils can cause irritation to the stomach resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea with abdominal pain and lethargy. The owner may also notice that the animal is drooling. These signs can occur very quickly after ingestion, normally within two hours. Dogs and cats usually recover within 12-48 hours but this can be longer in severe cases (although there are rare in our experience).

If skin comes into contact with the sap of the bulbs and stems this can also be a problem. It causes irritation called ‘daffodil itch’ resulting in itchiness and redness of the skin but it is much more common in people who are regular gardeners that it is in pets.

What should I do if my pet has eaten daffodils?

The severity of the signs your pet shows will depend on which part of the plant has been eaten and what quantity. If several bulbs have been ingested then this can be a problem particularly in smaller dogs and cats. In some cases veterinary treatment is not required but if you are unsure, call Animal PoisonLine and one of our team can advise you.

 

Animal PoisonLine’s 3 top tips about daffodils

1. Keep bulbs away from pets when you planting them

2. Make sure your dog or cat does not dig the bulbs back up again after being planted

3. If you have cut flowers in the house keep them away from your pets by placing them on a high surface

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Handbags are often left open lying on the floor or on a low chair or bench within easy reach of an inquisitive dog or cat. They can contain numerous potential hazards to pets.  Here our top seven:

 

1. Chocolate

Many of us keep a little chocolate something in our handbags – just for emergencies.  Chocolate can cause increased heart rate, agitation and gastrointestinal upset in dogs. In severe cases the toxic compounds in chocolate can cause changes in the rhythm of the heart. They can be quite harmful for dogs depending on how much they eat and should be kept out of reach. For more information please check out our article on Chocolate here.

2. Chewing gum and sweets

Some of these contain the sweetener xylitol which can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. Usually after an hour dogs will start to feel unwell and look down. For more information on the symptoms and effects of xylitol in dogs, please click here.

3. Oral contraceptives

 

Ingestion of birth control pills is generally not a concern in pets, although it may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset if a large number are ingested.  If an entire bitch eats oral contraceptives it may cause disruption to the next oestrus cycle which breeders should be aware of.  There are no long term consequences however.

4. Pain killers and cold and flu medicine

 

These are commonly carried in handbags and painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin can be toxic to pets. These painkillers are also found in many cold and flu products. Accidental ibuprofen ingestion is dogs is extremely common and can cause gastrointestinal upset, ulceration of the gut and kidney damage. Aspirin is also irritant to the gut. Paracetamol is particularly hazardous to cats and can cause facial swelling and breathing difficulties. In dogs, paracetamol can cause liver damage. For more information please click here.

5. Cigarettes and e-cigarettes

These contain nicotine which can cause vomiting and increased heart rate and potentially low blood pressure, breathing problems and potentially changes in heart rhythm.  However severe cases are very rare and sometimes treatment is not required at all – it depends on the amount of nicotine ingested.

6. Hand sanitizing gel

These gels contain alcohol but there is generally only a small volume in handbag-sized bottles and so the risk of alcohol intoxication is low. They may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset.

 7. Paper

Sometimes when a dog chews paper it can turn into a pulp and can glue the jaws together. This can be difficult to remove and can be distressing for your pet. 

 

Animal PoisonLine’s Top tips on handbag hazards

1. Keep your handbag closed and out of sight and out of reach of pets

2. If you need to keep potentially hazardous substances in your handbag, keep them in a secure container

3. If you are concerned that your pet may have raided your handbag and items are missing, call Animal PoisonLine for advice and we will be able to tell you if a visit to the vet is necessary

 

If you are worried your pet has eaten anything they should not have, give Animal PoisonLine a call on 01202 509000 and one of our advisors will be able to assess the risk and advise you whether you need to take your pet to the vet.

 

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Animal PoisonLine by Esms Global It Dept. - 4M ago
What is Cannabis?

Cannabis satvia is a plant whose leaves and flowers are processed to be smoked (or eaten) by people for its psychoactive effects.  Cannabis may be called hashish or hash, marihuana or marijuana, ganja, grass, weed or pot, and cannabis cigarettes may be referred to as joints, spliffs or reefers.  The intended effects in people are euphoria, relaxation and altered perception. The main chemical responsible for these effects is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.  

How much Cannabis can hurt a dog?

It appears to have similar effects in dogs as it does in humans but given the size difference and a dog’s lack of discrimination with regards to dose, they can become poisoned from eating any quantity.  At Animal PoisonLine we have had calls about dogs who have been exposed to cannabis in a number of ways:

  • By eating joints
  • By eating brownies or biscuits which have cannabis baked into them
  • By being exposed to second hand smoke (inhalation)
  • By discovering and eating a stash of cannabis in the house
What might happen to my dog after eating Cannabis?

The most common effects in dogs are depression, drowsiness or lethargy. They may also be very wobbly on their feet or unwilling to stand and have a slow heart rate.  The depression may alternate with periods of excitability, agitation, aggression and barking, as dogs can apparently experience hallucinations.

Other effects may include weakness, effects on their eyes (e.g. big pupils, red eyes and light sensitivity), vomiting and drooling. They may be unable to control their bladder and bowels and their body temperature can go either up or down.  In some cases dogs develop twitching or tremors which can lead on to fits.

These effects would be expected to occur within a few hours of eating cannabis and pets may be very poorly for several days after.  Dogs exposed to second hand smoke can develop effects within minutes and recover over a few hours.

When recovering, dogs may experience an increased appetite; in humans this phenomenon is known as ‘the munchies’.

Animal PoisonLine’s Top Tips about Cannabis?
  1. If you think your dog may have eaten some cannabis it is important to seek veterinary help as it can cause serious poisoning, requiring intensive treatment.
  2. It is important you tell your vet what has happened so that they can treat the dog correctly.
  3. Do not try to make them sick as this could make them worse.

 

If you are worried your pet has eaten something they or been exposed to something they should not have, please call the Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509 000 for advice on what to do next. If your pet starts showing any signs, then take them to your local vet practice immediately for treatment. The sooner they are treated, the better the outcome.

 

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