A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets.
Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said.
Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said.
Photo courtesy of Taipei City Animal Protection Office
Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she said, adding that ant traps also contain sugar to attract ants, but it also attracts pets.
In mild cases of poisoning, pets might experience diarrhea or vomiting, while in more serious cases, where the nervous system is affected, they might exhibit twitching or trembling, difficulty standing or frothing at the mouth, she said.
Contact with the pet’s skin might result in allergic reactions, such as red bumps or chemical burns, she said.
If a reaction occurs, pet owners should wash the affected area with water and remove the insecticide from the premises, she said, adding that the pet should be promptly taken to an animal hospital, as there is no way to determine how much of the toxic material the pet had contact with.
A veterinarian can conduct a blood test to check the animal’s blood-sugar levels, as well as its liver and kidney functions, Chua said.
In most cases, the vet can treat the animal with activated carbon and induce vomiting to clear the toxins out of the pet’s body, she added.
If pet owners must use insecticides, they should not use them while their pet is in the same room, and they should clean sprayed areas with water before letting the pet back in the room, she said.
Whenever possible, pet owners should use alternatives to chemical insecticides, such as mosquito repellent lights, instead of insecticide spray, she said.
For fleas and lice, people should use vet-prescribed medication for their pets, which would also greatly reduce the likelihood of such insects appearing in the house, she said.
For the most part, if pet owners keep their homes clean, and have screens installed on the windows and doors, the use of insecticides should not be necessary, she said.
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