Organosphate Kills Two Cats and Almost Claims Two Dogs

Organophosphates are commonly used to kill insects and pests in homes and gardens throughout the world. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this highly effective compound is also highly effective at killing animals. Here is what happened to my friend. She agreed to share her story in order to educate people and hopefully, prevent future poisonings.

My friend took her dogs, Alfie and Pippa out for a run.  Instead of completing their normal walk, they decided to take a shortcut through the lot of a vacant home. The backyard was full of leaves and had a wood crib used to store firewood. Alfie and Pippa found something interesting under the crib. My friend had to pull them away to continue their walk. A few steps later, my friend found her two cats, Crissy and Jasmine . . . dead.

She took her dogs home and then went back to care for her cat’s remains. She returned a short time later to find Pippa sick.  The dog was “vomiting and trying to poop at the same time.” Because of her animal experience, she rushed Pippa to her veterinarian immediately. Her veterinarian diagnosed organophosphate toxicity. While Pippa received treatment, my friend went home to check on Alfie, worried that he may have gotten into it too. She found him down in his create covered with vomitus and diarrhea.  Since organosphospates are attracted to fat tissue, thin animals are affected more quickly than heavier animals. Thanks to the quick diagnosis and treatment with atropine, both dogs survived. 

To prevent another poisoning, my friend searched the vacant yard.  Unfortunately, she found nothing. She suspects the yard may have been sprayed for weeds or perhaps a poison was left to kill field mice and wood rats.

Organophosphates are highly effective and dangerous chemicals.  Please use them with great care to prevent more accidental victims.  If you pet is exposed, bring them to a veterinarian immediately.  This is not something you can treat at home.  The victim needs atropine which is an injectable antidote.   From personal experience with my own patients I can tell you it is a horrible way to die!

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.