What is permethrin?

Permethrin is an insecticide used in household and veterinary products to control insect pests. Cats are very sensitive to permethrin as they are unable to metabolize or eliminate it from the body.

Sources of permethrin

One of the most common ways cats are poisoned with permethrin is from the exposure to flea spoton products intended for use in dogs. Exposure in cats can occur from using such products directly on a cat or from secondary exposure. This can occur when a cat is exposed during contact with a treated dog as they may lick or groom the product off the dog. Although the volume in these products is small they contain a high concentration of permethrin.

What are the signs of permethrin poisoning?

Exposure either through skin contact or from ingestion of a permethrin-containing product may result in toxicity in a cat. It may take a few hours or longer before signs of toxicity become apparent.
The clinical signs of permethrin poisoning can include:
• Drooling
• Vomiting
• Incoordination
• Hyperexcitability
• Tremor
• Twitching
• Convulsions
• Increased body temperature

Call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 even if your pet is showing no signs to find out whether a trip to the vet is required.
• Remove your pet from the source of poison.
• Do not try to make your pet vomit – NEVER give salt water.
• Collect the poison and take a sample/container with you if you are advised to take your pet to the vet practice.