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Feline Permethrin Spot-On Toxicity

Sutton, N. M., N. Bates, et al. (2007). “Clinical effects and outcome of feline permethrin spot-on poisonings reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS), London.” J Feline Med Surg 9(4): 335-9.

Permethrin is a pyrethroid insecticide used in topically applied spot-on flea treatments for dogs. Cats are very sensitive to the toxic effects of permethrin. These products are readily available and are often less expensive than other flea control products. Cats may be affected when the product is applied directly to them, or through contact with a treated animal. Data from 286 cases of permethrin toxicity in cats from the Veterinary Poisons Information Service in the United Kingdom is reviewed. The majority of the cats (96.9%) experienced clinical signs of toxicosis. The most common clinical signs were twitching, tremors, muscle fasciculations, and seizures. The duration of clinical signs was long, with seizures lasting an average of 38 hours and tremors lasting an average of 32 hours. Some cats took up to 1 week to recover. Death occurred in 10.5% of cases, some of which were euthanized due to reasons such as respiratory failure, or uncontrollable seizures. It is very important for cat owners to avoid using spot-on flea products containing permethrin on cats, and cats should not have contact with other animals treated with these products.
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Related articles:
Linnett, P. J. (2008). “Permethrin toxicosis in cats.” Aust Vet J 86(1-2): 32-5.
>> PubMed abstract