The Caution of Flea and Tick Medication

The Caution of Flea and Tick Medication

Spring is almost here, and with that season brings (hopefully) above zero temperatures and the start of nicer weather. It is also the time when creepy crawlies such as ticks and fleas start to make their journeys onto your pet, who is enjoying the longer walks and time outside.

March is also Poison Awareness month, and to go along with the thought of flea and tick prevention, we want to warn pet owners about the dangers of the common flea and tick preventatives that are readily available to you at the Pet and grocery stores.

Most of these products contain Pyrethrin or Pyrethroid; pyretherin is naturally derived from the chrysanthemum (“Mum”) plant, and pyrethroid is the synthetic, more potent form.


Pyrethrin/pyrethroid products are highly TOXIC to CATS. Cats cannot metabolize (break down) these products, and therefore when applied or ingested can be fatal.

When cats come into contact with these products, abnormal neurological signs start to take effect. Some of the symptoms of pyrethrin toxicity include:

  • Extreme twitching/shaking
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty walking/ no coordination
  • Hypothermia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting

If your cat has accidently been exposed to Pyrethrin, immediate action must be taken by your Veterinarian. There is no “cure” or “antidote” to pyrethrin poisoning, so the treatment by your Veterinarian is purely supportive therapy. Some of the therapy includes anti-seizure medication, muscle relaxants, IV fluids, and constant monitoring (temperature, blood glucose).

When treated early and promptly, there is usually a good prognosis, as long as the toxicity has not created other secondary damage to the body.

Before placing any type of over the counter medication on your pet (dog OR cat), always read the labels and warning thoroughly, as some of the flea/tick OTC treatments do not make it easy to see the warning about placing on cats.

The pricing for flea/tick (and other parasite) medications are comparable to Pet stores when bought from a Veterinarian. The difference is what you are buying is researched, and the ingredients are guaranteed by the companies that provide them. The other good thing about flea/tick medication from your Veterinarian is you know that what you are getting is safe for your pet for the species, the weight, and what you are using the medication for. Not only that, but the veterinary team can apply the product for you.

We want to help you keep the creepy crawlies off your pet safely, and spring is the time to start considering parasite prevention in your pet. Please call us for any questions you may have on parasite prevention, and we will always do our best to help you, help your pet!

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