Spring/summer is the time of year where common household products are used outdoors to eliminate moss, mold, algae and stains that have accumulated over winter. One of our recent cases serves as a timely reminder and example of the potential risks and hazards to domestic animals from contact with pesticides.
Molly, a healthy three year old Ragdoll, was sitting in the lounge at home when her owners noticed she was drooling, her tongue was hanging out and she was lethargic. At the clinic, her symptoms included high temperature, increased respiration and inappetence, with swelling of and ulcerated caustic burns to her tongue. She was admitted for monitoring with bloodwork, pain relief and IV fluids. She was also syringe fed with a slurry of recovery food. Her diagnosis was possible toxicity and licking something caustic.
Upon discussion with her owners, it was noted that Wet & Forget had been sprayed around the property the day before, which has an active ingredient called 'Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride'. It comes with a warning that it is corrosive and harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin, and can cause irreversible eye damage.
Luckily for Molly, we are very relieved and thankful that she likely only attempted a couple of licks before deciding she didn't like the taste. She may have absorbed some toxin through her mucous membranes, however it is unlikely her gastric mucosa was affected. Upon recheck, the ulcers and sloughing on her tongue had not deteriorated, only affecting the upper surface of her tongue and not further back in her mouth. Her temperature was normal, she was bright and was eating her special slurry recipe well.
Her owners did a wonderful job by acting swiftly and seeking medical attention straight away upon noticing her symptoms. Molly is continuing to do well at home and is as cute, bright, alert and responsive as ever - just the way we like her!