MCAH Blog

Topical Flea/Tick Toxicity in Cats

Mount Carmel - Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Toxicity in dogs and cats frequently can be due to ingestion of a toxin, but also can be due to absorption through the skin.Topical toxicity is of concern in cats especially, as there are dog products that cannot be applied to cats.The principle among these types of products are topical flea/tick preventatives that are labeled for dogs and accidentally applied to cats.

There are multiple topical flea/tick products for dogs that contain pyrethrin/permethrin, such as Vectra or K9 Advantix.These ingredients are toxic when applied to cats.Cats inappropriately given a pyrethrin can develop muscle tremors, seizures, weakness, a stumbling walk, fever, and even death if not treated.

If a cat is accidentally exposed to a pyrethrin, the first step is to remove the product from the skin if possible.Bathing or using a washcloth with Dawn dishsoap helps decrease the contact with the skin and prevent further reabsorption.If the reaction progresses past twitching, then these cats need to be treated in-hospital to stop muscle tremoring, seizures, and monitor heart/respiratory rate.With supportive care, these cats typically improve within 72 hours.

It is always important to remember to pay attention to what products you are using on your dogs that your cat can access, or to not accidentally use your dog product on your cat!If you are concerned that your cat may have been exposed to a topical toxin, please give us a call right away.With the invention of oral flea/tick prevention for dogs, it helps greatly decrease the risk of an accidental exposure.Give us a call to discuss Bravecto or Nexgard for your dog’s flea/tick prevention needs, and protect your cat for an accidental toxin exposure at the same time!