Common household hazards (Proceedings)


Common household hazards (Proceedings)

Apr 01, 2010

Ant and roach baits

Baits may come in the form of gels injected with a preloaded syringe or incorporated into a plastic housing. The bait may be mixed with food stuffs such as peanut butter, jelly, and bread crumbs to attract the insects. Most of the insecticides used in these products are of low mammalian toxicity; exposure to these insecticides cause little more than gagging or vomiting. The exceptions are avermectin/abamectin in ivermectin-sensitive dog breeds and arsenic. In addition, ingestion of the plastic or metal housing may present a foreign body hazard.

Birth control pills

Contraceptive pills generally come in 28 tablet packs with 21 hormone tablets (estrogen and/or progesterone) and 7 placebo tablets. Most hormone pills contain 0.035 mg of estrogen or less. In general, estrogen doses of less than 1 mg/kg are not of concern. At higher doses, bone marrow suppression may be seen. However, due to the low estrogen content of the pills, estrogen exposure is generally not sufficient to require treatment. Some placebos may contain an iron supplement; elemental iron doses of >20 mg/kg may require decontamination and other treatments.

Silica gel packets

Desiccant packs are included as moisture absorbents. They are found in shoeboxes, new sweaters, electronics, lamps, medications and food. Most ingestions will not cause clinical signs, although a mild gastrointestinal upset may occur. If a large amount is ingested, a potential for a foreign body or osmotic diarrhea exists. Ingestion of the intact packet may cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.

Glow-in-the-dark sticks and jewelry

Glow-in-the-dark items, including glo-sticks and glo-jewelry, are novelty items sold at fairs, carnivals, novelty stores. The primary luminescent agent in is dibutyl phthalate (n-butyl phthalate), an intensely bitter plasticizer of low toxicity (LD50 >8000 mg/kg in rats). Signs generally occur within seconds of the pet biting into the item. Cats may display profuse salivation and foaming, with occasional retching and/or vomiting. Cats may show dramatic behavioral effects such as hyperactivity, aggression, head shaking, hiding, and agitation. Rarely, transient panting, dyspnea, tremors and urinary incontinence have been seen in cats. In contrast, dogs may show no reaction or may have mild salivation or retching, with behavioral effects being rarely reported. In all cases, signs are generally self-limiting and should resolve once the pet gets the taste of the product out of their mouth. The exposure is managed by diluting the taste of the dibutyl phthalate using milk or highly palatable food (e.g. canned tuna). Any chemical that has gotten on skin or fur should be bathed or wiped off to prevent re-exposure when the animal grooms themselves; taking the pet into a darkened room will aid in identifying the luminescent chemical on the skin or coat. For ocular exposure, copious flushing of the eyes is recommended.

Non-ionic and anionic detergents

Non-ionic and anionic detergents are found in a wide variety of household products, including body and hand soaps, shampoos, dishwashing detergents, various household cleaners, etc. These products are gastrointestinal and ocular irritants with few to no systemic effects under most circumstances. Clinical signs consist of hypersalivation, vomiting, and diarrhea, and are generally mild and self limiting, although ingestion of large quantities may result in more severe vomiting (± blood) requiring veterinary intervention. Bar soaps swallowed whole take a while to dissolve in the GI tract, so signs may persist for a few days. In cats, respiratory compromise may occur if they groom undiluted detergents off of their coats; this most commonly occurs when they walk through or have shampoos or liquid dish soaps spilled onto their coats and then groom the areas. Cats may present mildly to moderately dyspneic with moist lung sounds. In more severe cases, radiographic indications of mild pulmonary edema may be seen. Most recover quickly with symptomatic care, although cats with previously-existing respiratory disease may have more pronounced signs and require more extensive treatment. This syndrome has also been seen with the use of 'natural' sodium laurel sulfate flea drops in cats.