Fipronil Insecticide Poisoning

As spring nears, fleas, ticks, ants, termites, and other creepy crawlies will show their ugly faces once again. Luckily, there are products to help prevent these creepy crawlies from infecting our pets and our property! Although these products may be helpful, it’s important to remember they carry risks as well, especially for our pets.

What is Fipronil?

Fipronil is a common insecticide used for flea and tick control in our pets, as well as insecticides used on lawns and golf courses. Fipronil products include spot-on treatments or sprays, baits and gels, granules, and concentrated solutions meant for dilution.

How do I know if my pet has been exposed to fipronil?

The most common route of exposure is pets accidentally ingesting the product. Fipronil can affect the gastrointestinal system, nervous system, and act as a skin irritant. Gastrointestinal signs commonly seen with fipronil ingestion include salivation, gagging, and vomiting. Skin irritation has also been reported and includes redness, irritation, and in some cases alopecia at the application site. Neurologic signs seen with exposures to concentrated products (>40%) include tremors, seizures, coma, and death.

How can I keep my pets safe from fipronil?

Preventing fipronil poisoning is key. Never use fipronil products for anything other than the labeled use. Do not use lawn insecticides as flea protection for your pets! Apply fipronil flea and tick products to a place on your pet’s body where they cannot lick it. Only apply flea and tick products to the proper species listed on the label. Never use any fipronil product on pet rabbits as this is often fatal! Always store fipronil, and other insecticides, out of your pet’s reach.

What should I do if my pet is exposed to fipronil?

If an exposure has occurred, verify the ingredients and concentration of the product and contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 24/7 for treatment guidance. If your pet is demonstrating signs of poisoning, seek immediate veterinary care.

Written by Callie States, Pet Poison Helpline DVM student extern, Iowa State University, Class of 2024
Samantha Koch, CVT, Pet Poison Helpline Representative II