What is Imidacloprid Toxicity?
Imidacloprid is a chloronicotinyl nitroguanidine insecticide that is generally used for pest control on crops, vegetables and fruits, termite control and flea control. For dogs, imidacloprid is sold under the brand name of Advantage and is used as a topical flea control once monthly. Imidacloprid binds to the acetylcholine receptor on the postsynaptic part of the nerve cells of the flea; this will cause paralysis and death of the flea.
Imidacloprid has been approved by the EPA for use on dogs and will kill fleas already on your dog within 12 hours of application. It is applied topically and will spread through your dog’s hair follicles and onto their skin, protecting them from fleas for up to one month.
Imidacloprid is generally safe to use on dogs over seven weeks of age and any size. Symptoms of toxicity are rarely seen, unless your dog licks the imidacloprid directly. Then excessive salivation can occur as well as gastrointestinal upset and muscle weakness. Toxicity is more prevalent in dogs that are old or sick. Smaller dogs also are at a higher risk of toxicity.
Symptoms of Imidacloprid Toxicity in Dogs
Imidacloprid toxicity in dogs is rare, but can occur especially if your dog licks the imidacloprid. There have been cases where the topical application has caused illness as well. It is best to only apply imidacloprid to healthy dogs that are over seven weeks old. If you notice any of these symptoms after applying imidacloprid to your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately for assistance.
- Respiratory distress
- Excessive salivation
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle tremors
- Ear twitching
Causes of Imidacloprid Toxicity in Dogs
Imidacloprid is an insecticide and therefore can cause toxicity in your dog. This is especially the case if your dog is sick or already debilitated from an illness. Small dogs can also be at risk of developing toxicity to imidacloprid. Dogs that have abnormally low body temperatures are also at risk of toxic poisoning. Dogs with sensitive skin are also prone to developing toxicity to imidacloprid.
Although it is approved by the EPA for use on dogs, imidacloprid is a chloronicotinyl nitroguanidine insecticide that was first used in termite control and pest control on crops.
Diagnosis of Imidacloprid Toxicity in Dogs
When diagnosing imidacloprid toxicity, your veterinarian will first take a thorough medical history and ask you about the symptoms that you have seen. They will also want to know if any sprays or other topical flea treatments have recently been used on your dog.
A full physical evaluation will be performed along with a complete blood count, urinalysis and biochemistry panel. This will help determine the exact cause of your dog’s ailment and if there has been internal damage done.
Many times, your dog will experience skin irritation and/or excessive salivation or drooling. Your veterinarian will be searching for the cause and also how to quickly treat your dog to stop the toxic poisoning.
Treatment of Imidacloprid Toxicity in Dogs
Once your veterinarian has diagnosed imidacloprid toxicity in your dog, your veterinarian will discuss treatment options. Most of the time mild symptoms are self limiting or they will simply require a thorough bath, using a mild shampoo, to remove the toxins from your dog’s coat and skin.
More severe symptoms that seem to affect your dog’s neurological system will most likely require hospitalization and supportive care. Supportive care will probably include intravenous fluids, nutritional therapy and treating the symptoms as they present. Your dog will also need to have their body temperature regulated while they are hospitalized. Your veterinarian will order your dog be thoroughly bathed to remove as much of the toxins from their coat and skin. This will keep your dog from absorbing more of the toxins.
Your veterinarian will continue to monitor your dog’s progress and perform testing to ensure that no long term damage has been done to your dog. Once your dog is on the road to recovery, your veterinarian will release them from the hospital and you will be able to continue their care at home.
Worried about the cost of treating your pet's symptoms?
Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.
Recovery of Imidacloprid Toxicity in Dogs
When continuing at home care during your dog’s recovery be sure to follow any instructions given by your veterinarian. Any medications prescribed need to be administered as directed.
The proper application of imidacloprid is important to prevent your dog from having a reaction, closely follow the directions and if you are unsure about a product consult your veterinarian.