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Can Flea Preventatives Poison Your Cat?

Since March is National Poison Prevention Awareness Month, your Central Indianapolis veterinarian wants to make sure you’re informed about a potential poison you may not have thought of—the flea preventative your cat is on! Don’t stop applying it to your cat, though; learn the truth as your vet elaborates below.

Is Flea Medication Itself Poisonous?

Flea medication, when used properly, is not harmful to cats at all. It does, however, contain insecticides that kill off fleas and their larvae. These substances can be toxic to cats if the dosage is too high, but the small amount usually present in proper dosages won’t hurt a cat.

How Can the Medicine Poison my Cat?

Improper dosage—giving your cat too much of the flea preventative at once—is the primary way that flea preventatives become poisonous. Always make sure you’ve read the directions and know how much medicine you’re supposed to be giving your cat.

Another way that cats are sometimes poisoned by flea preventatives is when they’re mistakenly given flea medication meant for dogs. A dog flea preventative usually has a higher concentration of insecticides in it, so it may be unsafe for use on cats. Never mix up your cat’s flea preventative with a dog’s—the results could be disastrous!

What are the Symptoms of Poisoning?

Generally, cats suffering from toxic levels of insecticides exhibit drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, and seizures. Ask your vet about other symptoms a cat may show depending on the type of preventative used.

What If I Think my Cat Has Been Poisoned?

As soon as you notice any of the above symptoms, notify your vet’s office immediately and begin transporting your cat to the clinic. If your pet is wearing a flea-control collar, remove it promptly to prevent further absorption of the poison.

Your vet will treat your cat’s symptoms, and may need to put your cat on fluid therapy to rid the body of poison. Medications may be prescribed.

Obviously, preventing a flea preventative poisoning episode is far easier than dealing with it once it occurs. Always check to make sure you’re administering the proper dose and giving it to your cat correctly. Call your Central Indianapolis veterinarian if you have any questions about the medicine itself or the administration procedure.

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