What is Insecticide Toxicity?
Several common household insecticides are toxic to cats. Many of the products you use on your lawn or to treat fleas on your dog can be dangerous, or even lethal, to cats. Lawn and garden insecticides can be introduced into your cat's body through his paws when he walks on a newly treated lawn, or from grooming afterward. Many pet owners also bring these chemicals indoors on their shoes after walking on treated grass. Handling your cat after applying a permethrin-based flea treatment on your dog can also harm your cat. If you think your cat has symptoms associated with insecticide toxicity, see your veterinarian at once, as his condition could deteriorate rapidly.
Symptoms of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats
While all cats act differently when sick, here are some signs and symptoms that may be exhibit if a cat has been exposed to toxic chemicals:
- Overall weakness
- Excessive salivation
- Unsteadiness while walking
- Sudden collapse
- Labored breathing
- Eye tearing
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal discomfort
- Lack of coordination
- Head tilt
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats
You must take special care to prevent you cat ingesting or coming into contact with lawn pesticides, household chemicals, and flea treatments for dogs. Some common causes of insecticide toxicity in cats are:
- Poisoning after walking on treated lawn grass
- Contact with other household pets after flea treatment
- Handling after treating other pets with insecticides
- Bringing lawn chemicals inside on shoes
- Accidental ingestion
Diagnosis of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats
Your veterinarian will need to examine your cat to determine if he has symptoms associated with insecticide toxicity. Before he examines your cat, he will ask you an important series of questions about your cat's health history. During this time, provide as much information as you can such as when symptoms first appeared, substances your cat may have been exposed to, and any previously diagnosed medical conditions your cat may have.
Your doctor will also record your cat's weight, temperature, respiration rate and heart rate and record it for future reference. He will then examine your cat for signs of poisoning. In many cases, doctors take a sample of blood for analysis to determine the type of poison your cat was exposed to. He may also perform a urinalysis to determine if your cat's kidneys are functioning normally.
Treatment of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats
Your doctor will treat your cat for poisoning based on his symptoms and the cause of poisoning. If you cat is critically ill, your veterinarian will insert an IV for fluid and medication. He will also admit him to the hospital for monitoring if necessary. Cats that are having seizures or tremors may be treated with diazepam or phenobarbital. It may be necessary to treat other conditions that arise during treatment. Some cats develop medical conditions secondary to poisoning, such as liver failure, kidney problems, encephalitis, hypoglycemia, and anemia.
Recovery of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats
The outlook for cats diagnosed with insecticide toxicity depends on the severity of symptoms and internal damage. In severe cases, cats that do not receive treatment quickly die in just a few hours after exposure. Some cats may have long term disabilities after insecticide toxicity. However, many cats recover if they are taken to their veterinarian promptly and treated. When it comes to insecticide poisoning, time is of the essence.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent accidental chemical exposure in cats. You must be sure to take a few precautions to keep your cat healthy. If you have lawn insecticides or flea treatments, always store them in a safe place. Promptly clean any spills that occur before your cat can ingest or walk through the material. If you use insecticides on your lawn, don't let your cat outside or only allow him to go in an untreated area of the lawn. It is generally safe to let your cat on the treated lawn after the chemicals have dried. If you treat your lawn, take off your shoes outside to avoid bringing insecticides indoors. If it is necessary to apply flea treatments to your cat, read the label before applying to be sure it is safe for cats. Never use canine flea treatments on your cat.
Insecticide Toxicity Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi Last Friday I put topical Cheristin on my cat because our other cat had fleas after his vet appointment. This Monday she started shaking her head, sneezing and has watery eyes. Before the flea treatment I was trying to treat her with diatomaceous earth and peppermint flea spray, but it didn't work and she developed dermatitis and was given steroid and antibiotic injections. Yesterday I took her to her regular Vet because of the head shaking and he checked her ears - no inflammation - heart sounded good. She has no other health issues that are diagnosed.
Could this still be toxicity from the Cheristin a week later (the company when I called said never heard of this side effect)
I have washed her neck area with baby shampoo and am wiping her down every day with cat bath wipes.
She is still eating normally - always picky and drinking
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