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Archive for the 'Poison' Category

New EPA rat poison regs to protect kids. Industry complains of cost.

The government imposed new restrictions May 29 on some of the biggest-selling rat poisons, citing the danger they pose to children, pets and wildlife.

Beginning in October 2009, many rat poisons sold to the public in retail outlets will have to be packaged in dispensers, called bait stations, that cannot be easily tampered with by children and pets. Loose bait such as pellets will be taken off the market for home use.
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Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008
Under: Poison, Rat poison | 16 Comments »

Pet owners unintentionally harm thousands of pets each year

In the average household, many pets are only one bite away from disaster.

I found this information in my morning mail. It’s definitely worth a read:
Veterinary Pet Insurance of Brea, California, recently analyzed its medical claims data to determine the most commonly ingested household toxins and poisons. VPI ranked the toxic substances by the number of claims received in 2007 for each type.

Shockingly, the most dangerous poisons by far appear to be human medications intentionally given to pets by their owners!

Here is the list of top household toxins, with 2007 claim counts and prevention pointers for each.

1. Drug Reactions (3,455 claims) — VPI received more claims for drug reactions than all other poisoning claims combined in 2007. Many of these claims involved pets given drugs intended for human consumption, such as over-the-counter pain relievers. Pet owners often give pets over-the-counter or prescription drugs for their ailments, unaware that even given in small amounts, many of these drugs cannot be metabolized by pets fast enough to prevent an overdose. Never give pets medications without consulting a veterinarian.

2. Rodenticide (870 claims) — Even if these poisons, most often sold in pellet form, are placed away from pets, rodents can carry them to pet-occupied areas. The taste and smell of rodenticides is designed to appeal to small mammals. Pet owners should consider other options for eliminating rodents.

3. Methylxanthine (755 claims) — The methylxanthine class of chemical compounds includes theobromine and caffeine, both of which are common ingredients in chocolate. Toxic amounts of theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, hyperactivity, abnormal rhythms of the heart, or even seizures in pets. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains much higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate, causing toxicity with the consumption of much smaller amounts.

4. Plant Poisoning (466 claims) — Many household plants can be toxic to pets, including sago palms, tulips, oleander, hyacinths, poinsettias, azaleas, lilies, and amaryllis. Other plant products including onions, grapes and raisins are also categorized under the company’s plant toxicity code. Pet owners should exercise extra caution when pets are near these plants and abstain from giving grapes and raisins as treats.

5. Household Chemicals (313 claims) — Pets will get into just about anything with bright colors and strong odors. Ingestion of cleaning supplies such as bleach, liquid potpourri, even deodorant or toiletries can result in an ill pet. Keep these items secured.

6. Metaldehyde (88 claims) — This deadly component of snail bait can also attract pets. Signs usually occur quickly and include vomiting and whole body tremors. Pet owners should consider alternative methods for getting rid of snails and slugs.

7. Organophosphate (60 claims) — This group of insecticides works to inactivate acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects and pets. Ingestion can occur through skin absorption or oral intake. The chemicals degrade quickly after being sprayed outside, but pets should not be exposed to any area that has recently been sprayed.

8. Toad Poisoning (58 claims) — Some species of toad, particularly along the Gulf Coast, secrete a toxic substance when threatened — or licked by curious dogs. Toxic effects are immediate and can be life-threatening. Make sure to regularly monitor pets when outdoors to reduce exposure to hazardous creatures.

9. Heavy metals (48 claims) — Mercury, lead or excessive amounts of zinc, iron, cobalt and copper can cause serious illness in pets, especially if allowed to accumulate in a pet’s body. Pets may be exposed to heavy metals through lead-based paint, ingestion of pennies coined after 1982, vitamins, soil contamination, or water pollutants.

10. Antifreeze (36 claims) — The sweet taste of antifreeze appeals to pets. While most people are aware of the poisonous potential of antifreeze, they may not notice a pool collecting from a leak beneath a car. Regularly give a glance beneath the car and clean any spills immediately.

Please make sure the above information doesn’t apply to you.

Are you using poisons in your house or yard? Don’t. Are you giving human drugs to your pets WITHOUT the recommendation of your veterinarian? Don’t. Do you have any poisonous plants in your house? Get rid of them. Is there any spilled antifreeze on your garage floor? Clean it up.

And PLEASE make sure you know the phone number and location of the nearest Veterinary Emergency Clinic to your house … just in case. The life you save may be that of your beloved pet. /Gary

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2008
Under: Cats, dogs, Pesticide, Poison, Poisonous plants, Toxic | No Comments »

Rodent poisons can kill your pets

Welcome to my new blog site!

I published the following letter in my Thursday column in the Times. I’ve decided to also print it here in my blog to make sure those of you who don’t read my column will still get a chance to see it.

This information below may save the life of your cat or dog, no matter where you live on this planet.

(By the way, if you live out of the Contra Costa Times circulation area, you can still read my daily newspaper column at My column runs Tuesday through Friday and Sundays.)

Gary: We have been seeing quite an increase in the number of dogs being exposed to or ingesting mouse or rat baits.

There are basically two types of bait. One is an anticoagulant type product such as brodifacoum, bromodialone, inadione, etc. This type has an antidote. The other product is bromethalin. This type has no antidote.

If exposed to either type and decontaminated (inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal) within a very short time, it usually prevents problems.

If there is questionable exposure there is a blood test, PT (prothrombin time), that is very accurate as to identifying whether exposure to the anticoagulant type occurred. This test may need to be repeated multiple times.

We have had quite a few cases that are already clinical. They may bleed anywhere and everywhere. But once they bleed its like opening up a faucet. If treated aggressively with dog plasma and Vitamin K, dogs tend to do OK if the problem is identified early.

Symptoms: If a pet were to ingest an anticoagulant type rat bait, one might see clinical signs three-plus days after ingestion. These signs could include bloody urine, bloody nose, bleeding from the gums, abnormal painful swellings, gastrointestinal bleeding, coughing up blood, or any abnormal bleeding at all.

If any suspicion arises a PT (prothrombin time) test can be done to identify it as the problem. If the PT is elevated a minimum treatment of Vitamin K is warranted and if bleeding is bad, blood transfusions or plasma may be warranted. The afflicted worsen quickly. Time is of the essence.

If a pet ingests the bromethalin type of rat bait, there is no specific test or treatment. They may exhibit either acute or chronic neurological changes. (Daryl K. Schawel DVM, Contra Costa Veterinary Emergency Center)

Daryl: “Time is of the essence.” In other words, if you think your pet has eaten poison rat or mouse bait, you need to get it to your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY for testing and treatment.

And just as important: don’t use poison rat or mouse baits on your property. Even if you don’t have dogs or cats, that stuff can also kill wildlife.

If you have to control rodents, use traps, and make sure they are set so they will only kill the target rodents.

Thanks for alerting us, doctor! Please let us know if you encounter any other problems of this type.

Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2007
Under: Poison | 3 Comments »

Past pigeon control efforts have caused panics similar to the one in Austin, Texas

Maybe Austin city officials should spend more time reading newspapers. The Associated Press reported in September, 2006, about poisoned pigeons in Texarkana, Texas, and also about a similar pigeon control effort in July, 2006, in Schenectady, N.Y., that "led to a hazardous materials incident" similar to the one in Austin on Monday.

From the Associated Press wire on Sept. 13, 2006:

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — Poisoned pigeons began nose-diving into pavement and dying on downtown sidewalks, marring the city’s annual festival.

Authorities cleaned up more than 25 sick or dead birds that apparently had eaten poisoned corn from the roof of a nearby bank branch.

… the bank hired an exterminator to handle its pigeon problem after a bird entered the bank and defecated on a customer. The company hired, Anti-Pest Co. Inc. of Shreveport, La., said its goal with the treated corn was to sicken pigeons so they would leave the rooftop. Death was sometimes an unfortunate side effect, company president Jarrod Horton said.

A similar pigeon control effort at a hospital in Schenectady, N.Y., led to a hazardous materials incident in July. Emergency workers spent hours searching the hospital grounds and putting dead birds in red hazardous-waste bags after an exterminator used a pesticide to get rid of pigeons on the roof. Fire Chief Robert Farstad had described the scene as birds "coming down like dive bombers."

Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
Under: Dead birds, Poison, wild birds | 1 Comment »

Pet poison prevention

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a VERY helpful Web site. Check out the section on Poison Prevention for Pet Owners. Learn how to keep your home "poison safe" for your animals, plus lots of other useful information.

Posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2006
Under: Pets, Poison | No Comments »

A sticky situation

This Pet Poison Alert from the ASPCA’s weekly e-mail newsletter:

"Imagine this scenario: a young boxer pup gets into a tube of polyurethane glue, accidentally left out when his owners were doing home repairs. By the next morning the pup is vomiting, and his abdomen is swollen and tender. A visit to the veterinarian reveals that the expanding adhesive did just that — expand — in the dog’s stomach, turning into a hard, solidified mass requiring emergency surgery.

"But what’s really astounding? The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is seeing more and more cases just like this one."

For more details on this sticky problem, visit the ASPCA Web site:

Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2006
Under: dogs, Pet First Aid, Poison | 2 Comments »