Insecticide Toxicity in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Insecticide Toxicity in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Insecticide Toxicity in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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. 

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Insecticide Toxicity Average Cost

From 349 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$600

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:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Overall weakness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Unsteadiness while walking
  • Sudden collapse
  • Labored breathing
  • Eye tearing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Lack of coordination
  • Twitching
  • Lethargy
  • Head tilt
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disorientation
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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
  • An owner accidentally applying a flea treatment or collar meant for dogs
  • Bringing lawn chemicals inside on shoes
  • Accidental ingestion
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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. 

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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. 

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Recovery of Insecticide Toxicity in Cats

The outlook for cats diagnosed with insecticide toxicity depends on the severity of symptoms, the amount of insecticide they were exposed to and the occurrence of any 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 area. If you use insecticides on your lawn, don't let your cat outside for some time after, 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.

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Insecticide Toxicity Average Cost

From 349 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$600

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Insecticide Toxicity Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

short hair cat

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Ten Years

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43 found helpful

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43 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Not Sure

i sprayed some raid ant/roach killer in our kitchen. i thought i was keeping a close eye on him but he walked through it while it was still wet. i think he licked his paws after this. do i need to take him to a vet?

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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43 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I don't think that you necessarily need to take your cat into the veterinarian unless he starts showing signs. If you start to see him vomiting, having diarrhea, not eating, or becoming lethargic, then I would take him in and have him seen and let them know what happened. He may have gotten a very small amount, if any, and he may be okay. I hope that all goes well for him.

Oct. 3, 2020

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dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Domestic medium hair cat

dog-age-icon

Five Years

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10 found helpful

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10 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Possible Insecticide Ingestion

I sprayed an area with insecticide. I closed the door to leave the area to dry so my cat wouldn't go in there. My husband later opened the door to use the bathroom, but I'm not sure which time. I went home to check her 5 hours later. The sprayed area is fine and my cat seems fine. Should I seek emergency care just in case she has ingested it or monitor her for symptoms?

July 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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10 Recommendations

hello, If your cats are acting perfectly normal, they may be just fine. I would monitor them and if you see anything abnormal in the next few days, take them to your vet. I hope your cats continue to do great.

July 20, 2020

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Insecticide Toxicity Average Cost

From 349 quotes ranging from $200 - $4,000

Average Cost

$600

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