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(Lighting the Way to Less Toxic Living)




Studies Show Pesticides Dangerous to Pets

Statistics compiled by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center confirm that July and August are the most dangerous time of year for companion animals. According to 2001 data, the Center received about 7,000 calls in July, making it the month with the highest volume of cases for the year.

The data found that more than 48 percent of the cases involved animals being exposed to pesticides. This includes commonly used insecticides (flea and tick products), rodenticides (mouse and rat baits) and herbicides (weed killers).

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center consulted on more than 920 cases in July, 2001 involving flea and tick products.  While there are many safe products available, caution must always be used when choosing and appropriately applying them on pets. Products that are safely used on dogs can be deadly to cats, even in small amounts.  Cats are most commonly exposed to these products through inappropriate or accidental application by their owners.

The second most serious type of cases involved rodenticides. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 260 cases about rodenticides in July, 2001.  The most dangerous forms include zinc phosphide, strychnine and commercial rat and mouse bait. Some bait contains inert ingredients that can attract an animal.  If a pet ingests a rodenticide, there is a chance that it could cause a seizure, bleeding or possibly result in death. When using any rodenticide, it is important to place the product in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.

Last summer the Center received more than 560 calls about herbicides. A large number of those calls were owners concerned about letting their pets walk in an area that was treated with weed killers. While some weed killers are safe for pet traffic once dry, the Center urges pet owners to call the manufacturer for specific recommendations about using herbicides around pets.  Additionally, it is important to always store pesticides in areas that are inaccessible to pets.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the only animal poison control center in North America. Established in 1978 at the University of Illinois, the Center is the only facility of its kind staffed by 25 veterinarians, including four board-certified veterinary toxicologists and 10 certified veterinary technicians.

Located in Urbana, Ill., the specially trained staff provides assistance to pet owners and specific analysis and treatment recommendation to veterinarians pertaining to toxic chemicals and dangerous plants, products or substances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  To reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline, call (888) 426-4435. For more information on the Center, visit the Website at