Ticks and fleas: some veterinary drugs represent a mortal danger for cats
They hide in the grass, in leaves or on branches: ticks can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease in humans. A tick bite can also be dangerous for pets. Nevertheless, it is better to avoid treatment with certain drugs.
The Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) recommends caution when treating cats against ticks and fleas. Some preparations can be dangerous for pets.
Possible serious poisoning
The BVL warns cat owners in particular against the use of anti-tick products containing permethrin. Because if a cat receives a drug containing this active ingredient, it can lead to severe poisoning.
According to a press release, more than 200 such events were reported to the Federal Office between 2011 and 2021. "Not everyone is aware that cats lack an enzyme that breaks down this active ingredient", explains the veterinarian Dr. Katrin Kirsch.
Serious symptoms can occur
According to information, veterinary drugs containing the active ingredient permethrin are used in dogs against ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks.
“However, especially in households with dogs and cats, there is an increased risk of poisoning from animal-to-animal contact,” says Dr. Katrin Kirsch. Namely when dogs have been treated with permethrin.
While dogs tolerate the preparations well, cats may experience cramping, symptoms of paralysis, increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. In the worst case, this poisoning can even lead to the death of the cat.
If necessary consult a doctor
If the above symptoms occur after the cat has accidentally come into contact with permethrin or after accidentally overusing a medication containing permethrin, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
If necessary, they will take preventive measures, treat the cat symptomatically and, in serious cases, take the necessary emergency measures.
In addition, suspected adverse drug reactions must be reported to the BVL by the animal owner or treating veterinarian. This information helps the Federal Office to take appropriate risk minimization measures in the context of pharmacovigilance – the monitoring of drug safety. (ad)
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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.