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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Poisoning, Insecticide View In Cats

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition

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Condition Overview

There are dozens of products sold at hardware, home repair, and agricultural stores to kill ants, termites, wasps, garden pests, and other insects. Most of them contain organophosphates and carbamates as their active ingredients.

Symptoms

Organophosphates and Carbamates - Signs of toxicity are hyperexcitability, excessive salivation and drooling, frequent urination, diarrhea, muscle twitching, weakness, staggering, collapse, and coma. Death is by respiratory failure.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons - Signs of toxicity appear rapidly. They include hyperexcitability with twitching of the face, followed by muscle tremors that begin at the head and progress back to involve the neck, shoulder, trunk, and rear legs. Seizures and convulsions are followed by respiratory paralysis and death.

Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids - Signs of toxicity include drooling, depression, muscle tremors, staggering, vomiting, and rapid labored breathing. Toxicity occurs primarily in small dogs. Death is rare. Simultaneous exposure to organophosphates increases the toxicity of pyrethroids.

Arsenic - Signs of poisoning include thirst, drooling, vomiting, staggering, intense abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, paralysis, and death. The breath of the dog has a strong garlic odor.

Causes

Organophosphates and Carbamates - Most cases of organophosphate or carbamate poisoning occur because the dog ingested a poison bait. Exposure to high concentrations of chemicals in sprays and dust also occurs.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons - Chlorinated hydrocarbons are readily inhaled and easily absorbed through the skin. Toxicity can occur from repeated or excessive exposure.

Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids - Most cases of poisoning occur because of improper application of flea control products. This may be because the product is being used more often than the instructions call for, or is being combined with another flea control product. Follow all instructions carefully.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by observing symptoms.

Treatment

If you suspect that your pet has ingested an insecticide poison, immediately induce vomiting and notify your veterinarian.

To induce vomiting to prevent poison absorption - Induce vomiting by giving the dog hydrogen peroxide. A 3% solution is most effective. Give 1 teaspoon (5ml) per 10 pounds (4.5kg) of body weight. Repeat every 15 - 20 minutes, up to 3 times, until the dog vomits. Walking the dog after each dose may help stimulate vomiting.

With any sign of toxicity, the first priority is to get your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

The specific antidote for organophosphate poisoning (not carbamate poisoning) is 2-PAM(protopam chloride). Atropine is given for both organophophate and carbamate poisoning to control excessive salivation, vomiting, frequent urination and defecation, and to reverse a slow heart rate. Seizures are controlled with diazepam (Valium) or barbiturates.

In the event of skin exposure, give the dog a bath with soapy water and rinse thoroughly to remove residual insecticide.

Chlorinated Hydrocarbons - There is no specific antidote. Treatment includes supporting life functions, removing ingested poison from the stomach, and controlling seizures.

Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids - Induce vomiting within 2 hours of ingestion. To induce vomiting to prevent poison absorption - Induce vomiting by giving the dog hydrogen peroxide. A 3% solution is most effective. Give 1 teaspoon (5ml) per 10 pounds (4.5kg) of body weight. Repeat every 15 - 20 minutes, up to 3 times, until the dog vomits. Walking the dog after each dose may help stimulate vomiting. Call your vet for further instructions. Do not induce vomiting if the product contains a petroleum distillate. With signs of toxicity, proceed immediately to the veterinary clinic.

For topical exposure, remove residual insecticide by bathing the dog in lukewarm water and Dawn dishwashing soap or canine shampoo to strip out the chemicals (DO NOT USE FLEA SHAMPOO). Rinse very thoroughly. Bathing in hot or cold water may actually increase the rate of absorption or cause hypothermia, which increases toxicity. Keep the dog warm after bathing.

Arsenic - Proceed at once to the nearest emergency veterinary facility. BAL (British Anti Lewisite) is a specific antidote and should be given as soon as the diagnosis is suspected.

Prevention

Keep all toxic substances out of reach of pets and children. Do not allow your pets to roam freely.

Support

Contact your veterinarian for detailed instructions or call on of the poison hotlines listed below:

  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (fee)
  • Angell Animal Poison Control Hotline 1-877-226-4355
  • Animal Poison Hotline operated by the North Shore Animal League and PROSAR International Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-232-8870

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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