When one thinks of toxins, thoughts go to life-threatening signs. We say that the dose makes the poison – and in the case of these toxins, there is a wide margin of safety.
Keep reading to learn about some of the not-so-serious toxins we get calls about every day.
Not a day goes by that we don’t get a call about a pet – usually a dog – getting into ant bait. What’s used to attract the ants (peanut butter) also tends to attract dogs.
The insecticides commonly used in the traps include abamectin, indoxacarb, hydramethylnon, fipronil and boric acid. There are two similarities with ant baits: The ingredients tend to have a wide margin of safety in dogs and cats and the concentration found in the baits is low – think 0.01-0.05%.
In addition the bait generally weighs 0.06 oz – that’s less than the weight of a penny. Some dogs, of course, may eat all the plastic which could be a foreign body obstruction concern.
Toxicology 101, or maybe even Veterinary 101: Dogs will eat anything; it does not even have to look yummy.
Silica gel packets or desiccants packets typically are smallish white packets (size of a sugar packet, but sometimes larger) that you can find in new packages of lamps, shoes, bags – you name it.
Generally the saying “do not eat” will be seen written across, and that means it is horribly toxic, right? Not quite. Silica gel is poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract so if problems are seen, it is generally mild gastrointestinal upset. The dog who happens to find and eat two pounds of silica gel? Well, he is going to have one big tummy ache.
This falls under the category of “why would you eat that?” Cats are generally the culprits, more often than dogs. When they do, you’ll see drooling, foaming, head shaking, running around and hiding. You can bet there is a good chance your clients have never seen their cats act like this, and they’ll likely be frantic and worried.
Dibutyl phthate, the active ingredient in glow sticks, does not taste good – in fact it is very bitter. So much of the cat’s distress is because there’s a horrible taste in her mouth. Give her something tasty to eat, wipe out her mouth (if she will let you), and you will look like a super hero to your clients.