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Pesticides and Your Pet
While spring is a time to plant beautiful flowers in your yard,
it also brings pesky insects out in numbers. Because of this, a
potential hazard this time of year for pets is pesticides.
"Before choosing a pesticide read the label to ensure it is safe
for your pet," said Michael Golding, assistant professor at the
Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences. "Avoid products with bone-meal as these can be
tasty to your pet, and pesticides with organophosphates and
carbamates as these can be extremely deadly."
The most common ways pets come into contact with pesticides is
licking the toxic substances from their feet or coat, or by
directly consuming the product from a container that has been left
If your pet begins showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea,
seizures, trouble walking, drooling, nausea, and/or tremors contact
your veterinarian immediately as these are signs that your pet is
suffering from pesticide related toxicity.
"A common way pesticides cause problems in our pets is through
organophosphates and carbamates," said Golding. "They act as
competitive inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, a key component of
the central nervous system that allows the brain to regulate the
While newer, more environmentally safe pesticides have a wider
safety margin, they are still not 100% safe.
"A product that is labeled 'green' is not necessarily safe for
dog/cat who decides to eat it," said Golding. "It is best to be
safe, so call your vet and read him/her the label information as
soon as your pet has contact with the substance."
While pesticides are a main source for toxicity in pets, there
are many other toxins in a home that pets can come into contact
"Garage toxins such as antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and
fertilizers, and kitchen toxins like chocolate, bread dough,
grapes, and onions are examples of household items that can be
problematic if your pet comes into contact with them," said
Golding. "For any toxic exposure, contact your veterinarian
immediately. Another excellent resource is also the Pet Poison
Helpline at 800-213-6680."
About Pet Talk
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk.
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