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What is Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning?

The medication contains ingredients that can be harmful to cats, such as pyrethrins, pyrethroids and permethrins. Cats are more sensitive to these ingredients than dogs, but the poisoning is harmful to both types of pets.

The effects range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of exposure and condition of your cat. Flea and tick medicine poisoning can be fatal if it is not treated by a veterinarian.

Flea and tick medicine poisoning occurs when your cat has a negative reaction to the medication. The chemicals from the medication disrupt the nervous system and can lead to serious health problems. It is usually found in topical medication that is applied to the neck and back. The chemicals may also be found in medicated power and collars. 

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Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning Average Cost

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Average Cost

$800

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Symptoms of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

You may notice the symptoms of flea and tick medicine poisoning within the first six hours of exposure. Take your cat to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unrest
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination
  • Hypothermia
  • Hyperthermia
  • Dyspnea (labored breathing)
  • Seizures
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Causes of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

There are several causes of flea and tick medicine poisoning in cats. The causes of this condition are as follow:

  • Sensitivity to the medicine
  • Medicine clinging to hair coats
  • Unusually low body temperature
  • Overdosing of medication
  • Ingestion of topical medication
  • Medication not being used as directed
  • Close contact to another pet being treated with medication
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Diagnosis of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

The best thing you can do for your cat in the case of poisoning is take them to the veterinarian immediately.

Your veterinarian will start by asking questions about their medical history and the symptoms they are displaying at home. You can also expect your veterinarian to ask about their exposure to the chemicals. It is important to answer these questions to the best of your knowledge. This will help your veterinarian determine the severity of the situation.

The next step is to give your cat a physical exam to check their current health and rule out other conditions. Expect your veterinarian to order blood work as part of the physical exam. Your veterinarian will use your answers, the cat’s symptoms, and the test results to make an accurate diagnosis.

It is vital to take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as you notice the symptoms of flea and tick medicine poisoning. Early detection and treatment can lead to a full recovery for your four-legged friend. 

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Treatment of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

Your veterinarian will treat the flea and tick medicine poisoning as soon as possible. There is a good chance your cat will need to be hospitalized during the treatment. This is done so your veterinarian can keep an eye on their symptoms and overall health. The good news is your cat may be released from the hospital in just two to three days.

Activated Charcoal

Your veterinarian will give your cat an activated charcoal to help them eliminate ingested chemicals from their body. The activated charcoal removes the chemicals before the condition becomes worse.

Bath With Detergent

Your cat may have been exposed to the chemicals when the medication was applied to their skin. In this case, your veterinarian will bathe your cat using a mild liquid dish soap.

Prescription Medication

Medication may be prescribed to keep the seizures and muscle tremors at bay. Your cat may also need to receive intravenous fluids during their hospital stay.

Constant Monitoring

The medical staff will monitor your cat for several days to ensure they are recovering from the poisoning. This includes monitoring their blood glucose, body temperature, and kidney function. Your cat may need to remain hospitalized until their symptoms fade and their body is functioning normally.

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Recovery of Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

Your cat will be released from the hospital once they have recovered from the flea and tick medicine poisoning. However, the road to recovery does not end when your cat is released from the hospital. It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment so your veterinarian can make sure your cat has recovered from the poisoning and treatment.

You can prevent flea and tick medicine poisoning from happening again by using the medication as directed. You should never use medication on your cat that is designed for another animal. It is important to contact your veterinarian before using flea and tick medicine on your cat. 

Taking your cat to the veterinarian as soon as you notice the symptoms can lead to a full recovery. Unfortunately, neurological complications or leaving this condition untreated can be fatal for your cat.

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Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning Average Cost

From 554 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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kitten

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Ten Months

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Unknown severity

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11 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Topical flea meds ..she licked it off her neck . She has thrown up all her food all over my living room and now randomly spitting up white stuff and acting weird

Nov. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Kate D. MA VetMB MRCVS

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11 Recommendations

Hello, Thanks for contacting us about your cat. Vomiting and foaming at the mouth are very common reactions in cats that lick their flea drops. Fortunately, cat spot-on flea treatments are not toxic, just very bitter, so usually that is the limit of the reaction when a cat licks their flea treatment. You mention she is acting weird, which is a little difficult for me to comment on without more specifics. If it seems like her behavior might be related to feeling nauseous or having a bad taste in her mouth, then that relates to the side effects discussed above. If you feel her behavior is not explained by those symptoms, then it would be a good idea for her to be examined by a vet to make sure there is nothing else going on. I should also mention that this advice is based on use of a veterinary-recommended flea spot-on at the right dose for her size. If you used a shop-based brand, then I would need to know the ingredients in order to give you more advice there. If you have any concerns that she might have had a larger dose than she should have, then she should see a vet. I hope she feels better soon.

Nov. 26, 2020

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Domestic cat

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Two Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shaky

I accidentally gave my cat flea and tick meds for the next step above her weight limit. What can I do?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . I hope that you were able to get care for her. The best thing to do in that situation is always to wash off the medication if you seen any signs of problems, and see a veterinarian. If she is still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and help get treatment if it is appropriate.

Oct. 13, 2020

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indoor house cat, long hair

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1 year 4 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling, Not Drinking Water, More Attention Seeking/Antsy

We first put a Seresto collar on him for 4 days and he didn't seem to react badly, but he did lick it a few times before it was tightened. We took it off before leaving for the weekend. We put Hartz Ultra Guard drops on the other cat and were unable to monitor if he would have licked that application. I noticed drooling when I returned a week later, my partner didn't notice any when he returned earlier by 4 days. I thought it might be his excitement to see me but he isn't drinking water, craves more attention, and doesn't seem to be sleeping as much. Could this be delayed poison effects?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Those could be signs of a pyrethrin toxicity, yes. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Siamese mix

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea And Vomiting

My cat has has loose poops for a day and a half (3-5 poops) and puked up a small hair ball last night while I was sleeping. So far she seems fine to me; she’s eating, drinking, playing, and snuggling. This started shortly after a flea and tick treatment of fipronil and methoprene. At what point is do I start to worry? Is there anything I should do to help settle her stomach? bath her? Change her diet?

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 25, 2020

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Domestic shorthair

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5 months

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling, Agitation

I applied topical Catego to both of my kittens, one may have gotten some in her mouth. She was running around, drooling, and seemed very upset. I followed instructions for removing and attempted to dry up as much as I could. She has settled down and appears okay, was even playing with the other cat (who was, at most, annoyed by the flea & tick meds). How long should i monitor? What are signs I should be looking out for?

Sept. 5, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Good afternoon- If she is behaving normally, continuing to eat, drink and play I would recommend continuing to monitor for the next few hours. I wouldn’t expect a toxicity from getting a small amount in her mouth. If any other symptoms develop though it would be a good idea to take her to your veterinarian. Take care!

Sept. 5, 2020

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smoky

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Cat

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weak

i put pet armor on my cat a week ago he had no signs til saterday he was weak and falling over so i took him to vet monday his kidneys was failing dont know if it was because of flea medicine he had about a week ago or not but i had to put my cat to sleep its so sad.

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Harryette and Fred

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Bengal

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3 Months

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Seizures
Vomiting
Twitching
Vomit

Advantage for kittens under 4kg and worm treatment (5kg dose as per pet shop recommendation). Caused vomiting, diaorreah, the serious GRAND MAL seizures. First vet said, no there is wide tolerance, its probaly after coincidence. They both started a. The 1.6kg kitten vomited that night, serious diaorreah the next day and seizures. The boy, 2.6kg, same thing just day later. Its 2 weeks later Thousands of dollars spent and 4 vets to prove that as I knew, they were poisoned. And the seizures continue. The little one had 9 in a morning. The vet first gave her Antirobe for mild toxoplasmosis (because it wasn't poisoning of course), this is when the seizures stepped up a level. Then more drugs to stop seizures and she got worse again. Finally found a vet who took her off everything and she is recovering. But, now the bigger boy's seizures are increasing:( more money spent on something totally avoidable. Terrible terrible stuff Advantage. I have had every test under the sun including a CT and it is NOT congenital :(

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Spice

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Orange tabby

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

I tried to give her flea medication but it was hard to hold her still. A little went alogn side her neck shoulder blade area. I tried distracting her for an hour but it still looked wet, and she kept trying to groom that area and running away when I went to stop her. I was scared that she licked the area, so I took a damp cloth and wiped the area bac up towards her neck. Sometime later she vomited all her food up and some liquid (a huge amount for her size). Then she drank some water, and then threw that up also. And later she gave a warning meow while sitting by herself. She seems fine now. She is also recovering from an upper respiratory infection so I'm not sure what could be causing the issue.

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marshmellow

dog-breed-icon

Domestic longhair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic

i gave my cat a flea treatment and day 2 stopped eating and is hiding i dont know what to do..any help would be appreciated..this is his only symptom.. i also did my other 2 cats but they are fine. i even tried soft food and he will not eat

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Boe

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Ragdoll

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12 Weeks

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sleepy

I gave my 12 week old ragdoll kitten a flea treatment called ‘Beaphar Cat & Kitten Flea Spot On Treatment Repels Fleas for 24 Weeks’. It says it can be used on kittens12 weeks and older. I put it in between her shoulder blades as the label instructed. About an hour later I noticed that she seemed very quiet and slept for about three hours which is unlike her. She has since eaten, drunk and used her litter tray. Although she has now perked up and is active again I’m concerned she has had a bad reaction to the treatment. I have spoken to my vets by phone and they said I should just keep on eye on her. Do you think I should take her in to be assessed regardless? Thanks in advance!

Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning Average Cost

From 554 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
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