Tick and Flea Medicine Poisoning in Cats

BY | June 29 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

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Bravecto Topical For Cats

Flea & Tick
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Pyrethroid and Pyrethrin are insecticides commonly used for treating tick and flea infestation in pets. Pyrethrins are naturally derived from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium and other pyrethrum plant species. Pyrethroids, on the other hand, are synthetic and last longer. These include etofenprox, tetramethrin, phenothrin, permethrin, fluvalinate, fenvalerate, deltamethrin and cypermethrin.If your cat has an adverse reaction to any of these chemicals, it will affect its nervous system and reversibly prolongs the sodium conductance in the nerve axons. That will lead to repetitive discharges from the nerves. These reactions are more common in cats than dogs because they are more sensitive. If your cat is old, young, debilitated, or sick, these chemicals pose an even higher risk to their nervous system. The reactions will become worse if your cat is hypothermic.

Symptoms

Cats are sensitive to pyrethroids. If your cat is treated with a product containing permethrin, they develop muscle tremors, seizures, incoordination, and hyperthermia. They might even die within hours of incipient toxicity. Products containing phenothrin might lead to similar but less severe reactions. Some of the most common symptoms associated with pyrethroid toxicity include:

  • Allergic reactions – congestion, hives, extreme sensitivity, itching, respiratory distress, shock, and death.

  • Idiosyncratic reactions – These resemble toxic reactions at lower doses.

  • Mild reactions – Hypersalivation, ear twitching, paw flicking, diarrhea, vomiting, and mild depression.

  • Medium to severe reactions – Protracted diarrhea and vomiting, incoordination, depression, and muscle tremors (these must be differentiated from ear twitching and paw flicking).

Causes

As we mentioned earlier, cats are much more sensitive to insecticides than dogs. Their metabolic pathways are less efficient. They also have fastidious grooming habits. Their long coats also end up retaining a lot of topical products. Cats with low temperatures (after bathing, sedation, or anesthesia) are also more predisposed to the clinical signs of toxicity.

Diagnosis

Your vet will perform a thorough physical exam on the cat and consider the background history of all the symptoms and the possible incidents which might have led to the condition. You might have to let your vet know whether your cat was exposed to the aforementioned substances and the quantity of the products that he might have been exposed to. If your cat has been around another animal that has been treated with these products, you will need to alert your vet. It would also be extremely helpful if you had a good idea of when the symptoms started becoming apparent. It is quite difficult to detect the insecticides in the fluids or the tissues of the cat. A thorough history is the best way to identify the chemical culprit.

How Do Cats Get Fleas?

All it takes is a single flea to start up a cycle of infestation that will cause your cat discomfort. The cat flea, or Ctenocephalides felis, has adapted so that it can leap onto a new host, and its body has evolved into the perfect shape for living in fur, enabling it to cling to moving kitties no matter how much they run, itch, or shake.

Despite their diminutive size, these fleas cover so much ground that even indoor cats are at risk of getting them. So what are the most common ways cats come in contact with these pests in the first place? Learn where cats and fleas will most likely commingle.

Where Cats Contract Fleas: Other Animals

Cat fleas are more abundant than any other type of flea, and they do not just take up residence on felines. In fact, this parasite is also the primary flea infesting of most dogs. Cat fleas can also be found on rodents, birds, ferrets, squirrels, opossum, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, and bovines. If your cat comes in contact with other infected animals, their fleas can jump onto them and start a new colony. Flea swapping can happen between all the domesticated animals in your home and also the wild animals your cat encounters on your property and beyond.

Where Cats Contract Fleas: Outdoors

If you have outdoor cats, there are several places for them to pick up fleas. Especially during humid months, fleas survive and breed outdoors in moist, shady conditions. Your cat can run into them while roaming in yards, gardens, parks, sheds, barns, woodpiles, dog houses, and underneath the porch.

Where Cats Contract Fleas: Infested Interiors

The common question pet owners have is how their indoor cats contracted fleas. There are several ways these pesky parasites can make it into your home, and you are one of them. Fleas jump onto human hosts, even though we are not their ideal environment.

We bring fleas into our homes via our clothes and shoes, so if you are around other pets, volunteer at an animal shelter, or stumble upon a flea-infested area, you could be a carrier. Flea-ridden bedding, carpets, and plush toys are also sources of infestation. If you purchase them second-hand, do a thorough check for flea eggs. And when moving into a new home, look out for evidence of fleas so you can eradicate them before move-in day.

And, of course, indoor mice that carry fleas will spread them to your cats, especially if your kitties are good at catching them.

Along with your indoor environment, other places your pet visits, such as the groomer or cat boarding, can have fleas left behind by other animals. Check online reviews to see if others have run into this problem, and always feel free to ask about outbreaks before you book your appointment. Keeping your pet healthy is very important to use this information to lower the risk that they have to deal with fleas. It's also highly recommended to administer a good topical anti-flea solution such as Bravecto for cats to prevent flea infestations.

When it comes to flea treatment for cats, you have to rely on medication that is known to be harmless. Flea pills for cats like Capstar for Cats are a good option. Advantage for Cats is another flea medicine for cats that you can invest in. You also have the Frontline Plus for Cats which is an equally good flea treatment option for cats. These are medications that won’t lead to poisoning unless your cat is specifically allergic to any of the ingredients in these medicines.

If not medication, you can get a flea collar for cats. This is a preventive measure that will keep fleas at bay. The Seresto Flea Collar for cats is something that might interest you if you’re looking for such a preventive measure. The same brand makes the Seresto Flea Collar for Dogs, which dog owners frequently use as an alternative to dog flea medicine.

Whatever you do, you must seek a solution to get rid of fleas or keep them off of your cat. 

What happens when you don't treat your cat for fleas?

If you're not treating your cat for fleas, there are a few things that could happen. One of the most common is that your cat will develop tapeworms. Fleas are also known to carry tapeworms, and that's why it's so important to keep your pet flea-free. If you don't, then they can easily spread the tapeworm eggs to other parts of the house.

Another thing that can happen if you don't treat your pet for fleas is that they'll start itching themselves excessively. This can lead to more serious problems like skin infections or other illnesses due to the irritation caused by their constant scratching.

So, while some flea medicine might be poisonous for cats, you have to look for the ones that are not. You can also use preventive measures to keep fleas away in the first place.


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