Pyrethroid Toxicity

You can use the same flea products on dogs and cats, right? Wrong!! Unfortunately, what may be safe for use on your pooch may be highly toxic to kitty!! One such example is pyrethrin and its’ derivatives, which are used in some flea and tick control products.  Natural pyrethrins are derived from the Chrysantemum plant- yes, that very innocent looking flower!  The products containing pyrethrin are usually in ‘top-spot’, rinse or spray form.

Pyrethrins are neurotoxins and cause repetitive firing of the nerves in cats and in dogs that have been overdosed.  Mild to moderate signs of pyrethrin poisoning include hypersalivation, twitches and tremors, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, wobbly gait and skin irritation.  Serious side effects of these toxins include seizures, anaphylactic shock and death.

If you suspect that your pet is showing signs of pyrethrin toxicity, the first step is to wash the product off your pet using a mild hand dishwashing detergent and warm water.  The pet should be dried well and kept warm. You should then seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet for further treatment, particularly for control of seizures if these are occurring.  Hospitalization, blood tests and intravenous fluid therapy may also be indicated.

Flea and tick products for dogs should never be used on cats, and when used on dogs, the correct doses should be used.  Pyrethrin containing products should be avoided in households where dogs and cats are in close contact.

Did you ever have a case of Pyrethroid Toxicity? How did you deal with it? Tell us the story in the comments!

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