I know this has been said a lot on the internet but it needs to be said over and over again because hundreds of cats are dying a painful death each year in the UK because their owners wanted to save some money by using a dog flea treatment on their cat. Or they just did not read the instructions on the packet. I actually think that manufacturers could do more to emphasis the dangers by redesigning their packets.
The problem clearly is most likely to happen in households were a person keeps a dog and a cat. This is a fairly common situation. Also cat flea treatments are expensive. I would actually say that they are very expensive and there is no doubt in my mind that manufacturers are not doing enough to prevent these deaths.
There is a poisonous insecticide in dog flea spot treatments called permethrin. It is a common insect repellant. Dogs are OK with it. Cats cannot process it. It simply poisons them. The name permethrin is very similar to the name pyrethrin. I’ll quote:
..only the pyrethrins are safe for cats.
But even this chemical in too concentrated a form can harm a cat and:
..many over the counter topical flea treatments have concentrated pyrethrins….cats can be affected by..high levels of pyrethrins.
Permethrins are so toxic to cats that sometimes they can be poisoned by sleeping next to a dog that has been treated for fleas. And many cats have dog buddies and groom them. They may easily be poisoned when grooming a treated dog.
I have put the message across in a bold red typeface so that it sticks in the memory. A pet owner might save a few pounds or dollars in sharing flea treatments between cats and dogs but the ultimate price is far higher than the savings.
Signs of toxicity include:
- laboured breathing
- hyperthermia (overheating)
Call the vet immediately and get there fast.