Flea Preventative Poisoning in Cats

Did you know that the very preventative medicine you put on your cat to avoid flea infestations could be poisonous if applied improperly or the dosage is wrong? Here, a Reynoldsburg veterinarian answers your questions about flea preventative poisoning.

Is the Medication I’m Using on My Cat Poisonous?

No, not with the right amounts. Most flea control products contain an insecticide called pyrethrin that kills fleas quickly. It isn’t toxic to cats in small doses, but can affect them in large doses. It is poison, after all. As long as you keep the dosage correct, your cat will be fine.

What Causes Flea Preventative Poisoning?

There are two main ways poisoning happens—the first, as mentioned above, is applying an improper amount of the product to your cat. Be sure to read the dosage directions to keep your cat safe.

The second most common way poisoning happens with flea control products is when owners accidentally—or intentionally, in some cases—give their cats medication meant for dogs. The dosage level is higher in dog products than in cats’, so the product becomes dangerous. Never use a flea product meant for dogs on your cat—it is a recipe for disaster.

How do I Know If My Cat Has Been Poisoned?

Symptoms of pyrethrin or other insecticide poisoning include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, seizures, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, your cat could slip into a coma or even die.

What If I Suspect Poisoning in My Cat?

If you see any of the above symptoms or your cat is acting strangely after being given a flea control product, call your veterinarian’s office immediately and rush your cat to the emergency hospital for treatment. If your cat is wearing a flea control collar, remove it as quickly as possible to remove the poisonous agent. Your Reynoldsburg veterinary professional will treat symptoms as necessary, and prescribe other medications or fluid therapy if needed.

Remember, read the directions on your cat’s flea preventative product, and never mix up the medication with products meant for dogs or other animals.

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