Sunday, April 24, 2011

Common Household Hazards for Dogs and Cats - Part 1

Sharon Gwaltney-Brant DVM, PhD Jill A. Richardson, DVM

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

This is timely reminder for everyone as we prepare to do our Spring cleaning to check our homes for these hazards to protect our pets

1. Ant Baits

Ant and roach baits are common objects found in households. They are also referred to as hotels, traps, or stations. The insecticides used most commonly in these baits are chlorpyrifos, sulfluramid, fipronil, avermectin, boric acid, and hydramethylnon. . The baits usually contain inert ingredients such as peanut butter, breadcrumbs, sugar and vegetable or animal, which could be attracting to pets. Exposures to these types of ant baits usually do not require decontamination or treatment. Most often, if signs are seen at all, they are mild in nature and self-limiting and are usually attributed to the inert ingredients instead of the active ingredient.

2. Silica Gel Packets

Silica gel is used as a dessicant and often come in paper packets or plastic cylinders. They are used to absorb moisture with leather, medication, and in some food packaging. Silica is considered "chemically and biologically inert" upon ingestion. However, with ingestion, it is possible to see signs of GI upset, such as nausea, vomiting, and inappetence. Additional problems could occur is the silica gel was used as a dessicant in medication, since silica could possibly absorb qualities of the medication.

3. Toilet Water (Tank drop-ins)

Tank "drop in" products typically contain corrosive agents (alkali or cationic detergents.) However, when a tank

"drop in" cleaning product is used in a toilet, the actual concentration of the cleaner is very low in the bowl. With dilution by the bowl water, the cleaning agent is just a gastric irritant. Common signs seen with ingestion include mild vomiting and nausea.

4. Birth Control Pills

Each packet of oral contraceptives contains 21 tablets of estrogen and/or progesterone and possibly 7 placebo pills. Estrogen could cause bone marrow suppression at levels greater than 1 mg/kg. Some oral contraceptives also contain iron. Decontamination is not necessary unless the level of estrogen is greater than 1mg/kg or the level of iron is greater than 20mg/kg.

5. Liquid Potpourri

Liquid potpourri may contain essential oils and cationic detergents; because product labels may not list ingredients, it is wise to assume that a given liquid potpourri contains both ingredients. Essential oils can cause mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression, and dermal hypersensitivity and irritation. Severe clinical signs can be seen with potpourri products that contain cationic detergents. Dermal exposure to cationic detergents can result in erythema, edema, intense pain, and ulceration. Ingestion of cationic detergents may lead to tissue necrosis and inflammation of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive (see Cationic Detergent section).

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