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Old 08-21-15, 05:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Provent-a-mite can be a killer

I just wanted to make people aware of a recent experience that I had with this product. Due to being sent a wild caught garter when I ordered a captive bred snake, there was evidence of mites in my home. On the urging of a respected member of the hobby I used provent-a-mite as a preventive measure. One of the snakes that's enclosure was treated was a young(less than six months old) California red sided garter snake.

I was very careful about this enclosure due to his age. I look everything out of the cage, put the enclosure outdoors, and sprayed the enclosure and aspen substrate lightly. I then left the enclosure outside in the hot Colorado sun for an hour and half to two hours just to be sure it was properly dried. Then I inspected the substrate just to double check the dryness. After I was satisfied I replaced the snake and all the clean décor.

The next night I walked into my office to find my snake out much later than usual. I was surprised at this and inspected closer to see that he was failing around, lifting his head, and opening his mouth. Again on the urge of others I removed him from the cage and washed his skin off to remove as much of the chemicals as possible. I then put him in an entirely different enclosure with untreated substrate.

The next morning I awoke to find the poor little guy dead. As you can imagine I was very upset. After doing a bit more research I found that more than one experienced owner had had this same issue at some point with young garters. I decided to email the manufacturer of provent-a-mite to maybe get them to acknowledge this issue and maybe get some of my lost money back.

First they asked me to recount how I applied the product so they could tell me what I did wrong. This was a little frustrating as they were already trying to pass blame on to me with no information. I responded with a similar but more detailed description as above. Finding no issue with my methods they then tried to come up with situations that were no where near what I had done to explain that I had killed my pet.

I am sure some people have misused this product before at the detriment of their pets, but I can assure that is not the case here. I worked in a chemistry laboratory for six years and handled chemicals far more noxious than provent-a-mite, so I understand how important following directions can be. I followed their vague directions as well as anyone could and still ended up with a dead snake.

I will never use this product ever again and would recommend that no one use it on young garters. The reply of the company shows how little they care about the consumers and I would recommend you stay away from any of their products.
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Old 08-21-15, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

I am very sorry for your loss. I am currently in the process of getting rid of mites in two of my snakes and have Provent-a-Mite with very marginal success. I read about another approach to treating for mites on another BB and thought I would pass it along. I have not tried this process yet, but I plan to if I continue to have a mite problem.

A Better Treatment for Reptile Mites
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Old 08-21-15, 05:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Sorry for your loss. I've used PAM for a lot of years on many different kinds of snakes, including Garter snakes, and have never had any issues. There is always a chance using any kind of chemicals that you may hurt the snake, especially young or w/c snakes.
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Old 08-21-15, 08:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Omg, Inam sonsorry to hear about your loss =(

Jim, thank you for that enlightening method!
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Old 08-21-15, 11:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

I bought a sub-adult female ball python last year from someone I met on craigslist, which came complete with a 20 gallon tank w/ screen lid, heat light, water bowl, half-log hide, and mites. When I was researching how to treat mites everyone told me Provent-a-Mite so I googled Provent-a-Mite killed snake or something similar. I found maybe a dozen of so similar accounts, some ball pythons, boas, and colubrids. For everyone of them I found hundreds of accounts of it working great and no problems. So I weighed the odds and went ahead and risked it, and it worked for me with no problems as well. This is just a theory I came up with, but I think the reason it works so well most of the time without harm to the snake and very rarely kills the snake is that some snakes just have an allergic reaction to it. Some humans are allergic to certain chemicals, so are dogs and cats. Why can't some snakes be? Just something I thought about. I am very sorry for your loss.
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Old 08-22-15, 05:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

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Originally Posted by that1guy View Post
I bought a sub-adult female ball python last year from someone I met on craigslist, which came complete with a 20 gallon tank w/ screen lid, heat light, water bowl, half-log hide, and mites. When I was researching how to treat mites everyone told me Provent-a-Mite so I googled Provent-a-Mite killed snake or something similar. I found maybe a dozen of so similar accounts, some ball pythons, boas, and colubrids. For everyone of them I found hundreds of accounts of it working great and no problems. So I weighed the odds and went ahead and risked it, and it worked for me with no problems as well. This is just a theory I came up with, but I think the reason it works so well most of the time without harm to the snake and very rarely kills the snake is that some snakes just have an allergic reaction to it. Some humans are allergic to certain chemicals, so are dogs and cats. Why can't some snakes be? Just something I thought about. I am very sorry for your loss.
Yeah, that's almost exactly what I thought. I mean let's face it, Provent-a-mite is a poison, and no matter how mild it is there will always be those that are more sensitive to it than others. It's like if I got bit by a spider and then someone else did, it'll be a little swollen and painful for a while but I'll ultimately be fine, while someone else can have an allergic reaction to the venom and even the most mildest bites would probably result in a hospital visit. Also age and health plays a big role in how your body handles poison, seeing as this seventy year old wouldn't be able to handle harmful substances as well as someone at a younger age, and same thing goes with a small child. No matter how careful you are with the directions and how mindful you are of the animal's health, it will still be in direct contact with the substance just like the mites are, and there's always a chance for adverse reactions when that happens.
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Old 08-22-15, 06:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Dude that sucks I'm so sorry. I have never used PAM. I'm a Nix girl
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Old 08-22-15, 07:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

I really don't think that it was a allergic reaction based on the symptoms as they seem neurological and not respitory. I agree some snakes are more sensitive and I found out after the fact that this happened to numerous people with young garters. Personally with other more safe treatments out there I wouldn't use PAM on any snake ever again. Just because it doesn't kill you the snake doesn't mean it is good for them.
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Old 08-24-15, 12:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Permethrins (which is what PAM is basically) are cholinesterase inhibitors, so thats likely what you are seeing with the neurological symptoms. It takes a fair bit to have an adverse effect, but obviously for smaller snakes that is all relative. Its more problematic for reptiles kept at lower temperatures too, which is also likely why its more commonly a problem with garters as compared to tropical snakes.

By the way, Nix is exactly the same chemical. The safest treatment for reptile mites are the predatory mites. Hypsoases species are pretty easy to buy online (gardeners use them), will come in and eat your bad mites and then die off when they have no food source left.
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Last edited by jarich; 08-24-15 at 01:17 PM.. Reason: Correction of active chemical name for PAM
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Old 08-26-15, 08:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarich View Post
Permethrins (which is what PAM is basically) are cholinesterase inhibitors, so thats likely what you are seeing with the neurological symptoms. It takes a fair bit to have an adverse effect, but obviously for smaller snakes that is all relative. Its more problematic for reptiles kept at lower temperatures too, which is also likely why its more commonly a problem with garters as compared to tropical snakes.

By the way, Nix is exactly the same chemical. The safest treatment for reptile mites are the predatory mites. Hypsoases species are pretty easy to buy online (gardeners use them), will come in and eat your bad mites and then die off when they have no food source left.
I know its the same stuff. It's just diluted so in my mind there's less of a chance of stuff happening.
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Old 08-26-15, 09:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Provent-a-mite can be a killer

Quote:
Originally Posted by jarich View Post
Permethrins (which is what PAM is basically) are cholinesterase inhibitors, so thats likely what you are seeing with the neurological symptoms. It takes a fair bit to have an adverse effect, but obviously for smaller snakes that is all relative. Its more problematic for reptiles kept at lower temperatures too, which is also likely why its more commonly a problem with garters as compared to tropical snakes.

By the way, Nix is exactly the same chemical. The safest treatment for reptile mites are the predatory mites. Hypsoases species are pretty easy to buy online (gardeners use them), will come in and eat your bad mites and then die off when they have no food source left.
I totally agree with the mites being the most safe treatment, and wish I would have known about them before this tradgedy.
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