Monday, August 20, 2007

Toxicology Tuesday, August 21

Put on your thinking cap, Gentle Reader. How do you answer today's toxicology question?

Toxic or Not?

Answer: Not toxic.

The brand names may vary and the containers might be called discs, chambers, traps or systems, but as a general rule, ant and roach baits are nontoxic. In the past, these products contained poisons like arsenic. Now, the industry uses much safer insecticides - boric acid, fipronil (the active ingredient in Frontline), or avermectin (similar to the ivermectin in Heartgard) - which are specific to insects and don't affect mammals. The low concentration and small amount of the insecticide in the bait means pets are at very low risk of poisoning. The plastic or metal container is actually more dangerous than the bait, as it could pose a risk of GI obstruction. Check with your vet if your pet develops vomiting or other signs of illness, but otherwise, not to worry.


Holly said...

Well...I would say they are toxic but Libby ate a goodly portion of one a couple of months ago and she's still hale and hearty. Didn't have so much as a bout of indigestion apparently.

I would say bait, no, no harmful but there could be more harm from the bits of plastic ingested.

KGMom said...

I always assumed they are toxic, and carefully place them where neither dog nor cats can get them

littleorangeguy said...

I always worry a bit that ant traps are bad for cats, so I position them carefully. But I've never removed them unless I see a cat batting them around like hockey pucks. Does that make me a bad catowner?

What's more disturbing is watching a cat try to eat kibble from a dish that has ants crawling around it -- yet another reason not to leave food out all day.

But the all time worst is watching ants stagger around the kitchen floor, as seems to be the case with some brands of ant poison. Surely even ants deserve a quick and painless death.

But I digress. I say that anti-ant is not toxic to the wee fluffy bairns.

Anonymous said...

I think all three are toxic. I'm glad your dog is okay, Holly! Kathy

Mary said...

My guess is they are all toxic. My exterminator makes me keep the dogs outside until the chemical he sprays dries...

KatDoc said...

Ahh - I sense a bit of uncertainty in today's replies. Not quite sure of yourselves on this one, are you?

Holly got the right answer first, but she had the benefit of personal experience. I also like the next two responses - "I don't know, but I assume they are toxic and am careful where I put them." That's the kind of thinking I like to see. When in doubt about a product's safety, assume it might be a problem and keep it out of reach.

Mary: The chemicals your exterminator applies can really vary, from mild and innocuous to "whoo-boy!" Exterminators are licensed to use stuff that is a lot more potent (and therefore potentially more toxic) than we as consumers can buy over the counter (or that I, as a veterinarian can dispense to you.) Not only would I heed his warning to keep pets away, but I would request a list of the agents he is using, and any available literature he can provide. I believe (and this is only a guess) that he is required to provide an MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) for any chemicals he uses in your home. If I am mistaken on that, he should at least give you a list of the chemical names of the products, so you can look them up on-line. Be proactive - know what you are exposing your pets and yourself to, just in case.

Good one, everybody! Liver treats all around!


Holly said...

I was going to say "What do I win?" but I see...thanks anyway but you can keep my liver treats. Or give them to the other Holly.

Just wanted to clarify, we thought we were really careful where we put ours too! Just so no one thinks we left them out or distributed them like party favors, lol.

Lisa said...

Thank goodness on this one - Ari used to be obsessed with the Combat traps I used in the Neil Ave. apt. Something about the smell, I guess.

gina said...

I just wanted to thank you for this post. My mother's dog chewed up a couple of Combat Quick Kill traps and after googling "Friponil", I found your site.

We called poison control, too, to make sure. While we fretted on hold, your information helped us to relax, lol.

Thanks, again.

KatDoc said...

Thanks for stopping by, Gina. Come back any time. We do toxicology quizzes every Tuesday, and there is some other stuff the rest of the week. Glad your mother's dog was OK.