Sunday 7 August 2011

Beware of Cat Flea Treatments

Beware of cat flea treatments. Some time ago a cat caretaker asked for advice about her sick cats. It transpired, as far as I could tell, that she was using a spot flea treatment designed for dogs on her cats. The product was Advantix. You don't even have to put it on your cat to kill him or her. If you use it on your dog and keep cats too, your cats can get ill by licking it off the dog or simply by the cat being in contact with the dog and then licking her fur when grooming herself. If you keep cats and dogs don't use Advantix.

Flea treatments for dogs can make cats very ill or kill them. Advantix for dogs contains Permethrin, which is extremely poisonous to cats. It damages the cat's nervous system causing fits and seizures etc. There is no antidote apparently.

I would like to make two points. First, it is easy to get confused between Frontline Spot on Cat, the spot flea treatment for cats and Advantix for dogs.  Even now I am not sure if you can get Advantix for cats. And I have searched the internet.

I haven't found Advantix for cats. But these products are similar in appearance and in their application. Also people may automatically think that what is good for their dog is fine for their cat. Unfortunately that is not true.

We just have to read those damned instructions in small print and be super cautious when using insecticides of any kind on a cat companion. The appearance and labeling of these products is not helpful in avoiding a mix up. This problem is compounded by Bayer making "Advantix" for dogs and "Advantage" for cats - similar names. While Frontline make similar products with the same name for dogs and cats - confusing.

Insecticides are poisons and dangerous chemicals. They are poisonous to us too! If you read the instructions for Frontline spot treatment for cats, you will see warnings about how we should handle the stuff. For example, ""Avoid contents coming into contact with the fingers".. " of the product with your mouth and eyes should be avoided..." And yet we are putting it on our cat's skin! The product is meant to be used monthly. I use it very, very sparingly indeed and only as a last resort. Frontline's active ingredient isFipronil 10% w/v.

Incidentally, it is clear (in my opinion) from the Frontline packaging that this product has been tested to destruction on kittens under 8 weeks of age. The manufacturers say, "No adverse effects have been seen in cats and kittens aged 8 weeks and older...treated with five times the recommended dose for six consecutive months..." I think we should digest that statement. Personally I hate animal testing.

Here are a couple of posts on flea treatments:

  1. Flea Treatments Can Kill
  2. Cat Flea Treatment
Drawing by Kate*
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