Archived Articles : Pesticide Warning

Pesticide warning

As I type this article, a beautiful young ferret named “Iak” is fighting for his life in hospital after being bathed in Malawash.

He is connected to a drip, receiving Atropine to reverse the results of the poison, Valium to stop the tremors and to prevent peristalsis from causing his bowel to telescope in on itself, and fluids to reverse his severe dehydration and to flush out the poison. Should he survive the next few days, he still faces the chance of liver failure.

Needless to say, his owners are devastated by these events which started with a vet saying that diluted Malawash would probably be OK to treat fleas on a ferret.

Although there is very little on the market for flea control specifically for ferrets, use nothing on ferrets unless it is safe for kittens. Do not drench their living quarters or apply anything to the ferrets which is formulated for other animals. Discard anything containing Malathion.

Pyrethrum is a safe insecticide for ferrets but needs frequent applications to be effective. Frontline, Advantage and Revolution are effective and safe for ferrets when used correctly. Although they may seem expensive to buy, they need to be applied less frequently (depending on season and type) so it works out cheaper in the long run.

Post Script: Miraculously, “Iak” survived his ordeal and is now back with his family who wish to thank Dr Don Nickels for making such a heroic effort to save their boy.

First Published in Issue 101 of Ferreting Around (July / August 2001)