Friday 21 September 2012

Permethrin poisoning in Cats

Permethrin poisoning in Cats 

Lyndsay Williams

Dot (left) and twin sister Ditto on right, born June 2011.
Cats are well now (21/9/2012) 

From Wikipedia:Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticideacaricide, and insect repellent.  It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals or birds, but is dangerously toxic to cats and fish.

It is used in popular flea killer sold by large UK Supermarkets.It is probably ok if used with dogs as per instructions but not with cats.From The Feline Advisory Bureau  UK: (year unknown) 

 Permethrin has been reported to be the most common cause of poisoning of cats in the USA and the most common toxicological cause of death of cats reported to the UK Veterinary Poisons Information Service.

Video here, warning slightly distressing but educational. 

This month there has been a large outbreak of fleas in UK re the weather, this BBC report covers it.The carpet in our house and pet bedding was treated as per instructions with a popular yellow  flea powder. I read the small print twice before applying, but  no mention of danger to cats. Unfortunately one of the cats,  Dot, (15 months old) became lethargic, not eating or drinking for several days. We took her to the vet with the flea powder. Vet examined her and noted swollen mouth and bleeding and other malaise and treated her. Vet said poison was "highly likely" due to  Permethrin but cat would probably be "ok".


I then checked other flea killers available in the UK  and noticed they also contained Permethrin.  I then tried to contact the manufacturer of the flea powder via their web site but no phone number, only email or postal and a response within 28 working  days, i.e. up to 6 weeks!  As the matter was urgent, I contacted them via public means via Twitter and they are now responding, suppling me with a claim form to fill in. It would be useful if these Permethrin based flea powders were labelled as toxic to cats. I have asked the manufacturer to do this.
The cat is now recovering. The flea powder however did not kill the fleas so I used a traditional lamp and sticky paper  to sort them out as here, did the job.

Contact Lyndsay Williams, Cambridge, UK Tel +44 (0) 7970 101578

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