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Cat Flea Control Products Warning

Learn to read the labels!

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I received an email from a friend, telling about a serious incident with her neighbor's cat: "Jinx was twitching her ears and facial muscles uncontrollably and walking very unsteadily. This is called "tremors." It's a sign on some kind of neurological damage or a neurological reaction to a toxin. Because of the constant involuntary muscle activity, the cat can become hyperthermic and develop a high fever, which can lead to a stroke and death in just a few hours."

Jinx's symptoms were the result of an over-the-counter topical flea control medication applied the previous day by his owner, and were likely a direct reaction to that product. The villain is a chemical called permethrin, which is known to be highly toxic to cats, causing permethrin toxicosis. Its symptoms are tremors, seizures, and ataxia (difficulty walking). Armed with this knowledge, it is difficult to understand why pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture flea products potential toxin for cats.

But they do, and they insist that their products are safe. But more about that later-- Permethrin can be found in a number of products labeled for cats, or for dogs and cats.

  • Happy Jack DD-33 Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats
  • Duocide L.A. Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats (Mfg. Virbac)
  • KC 14-Day Flea & Tick Mist W/Aloe For Dogs & Cats
  • No-Hop Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats
  • Proticall Insecticide Coat Conditioner for Dogs & Cats
  • Prozap Drycide Topical for Pets
  • Repel-A-Cide Dip for Dogs & Cats
  • Ritter's WB-14 Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats
  • Synerkyl AQ Pet Spray for Dogs and Cats
  • Synerkyl Creme Rinse for Dogs & Cats
  • Synerkyl Pet Spray for Dogs & Cats
  • Synerkyl Shampoo for Dogs & Cats
(From CatHelp-Online)

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide, and is used in a large number of products for agricultural, home and garden use, and by agencies such as mosquito control districts.

Because of its potential for toxicity to cats, I would recommend avoiding any such products for use around the home. Become an inveterate label-reader. Also make it a point to follow label instructions to the letter, and avoid off-label use of any product, unless specifically prescribed by a veterinarian. (And much more about that later..

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