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19-12-2008 - Cat owners accidentally poisoning their pets

Cat owners accidentally poisoning their pets

With summer coming, vets are worried about the number of cats they are seeing

that have been accidentally poisoned by common flea treatments available in


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is telling cat owners to take extra

care when buying flea treatments for their moggy as the weather warms up.

“Some spot-on flea products for dogs available at supermarkets contain a

chemical called permethrin,” said Dr Mark Lawrie, President of the AVA.

“The treatment is safe for dogs but it’s really dangerous when used on cats.

People poison their cat by accident - buying a flea treatment they think will cost

less and not reading the label properly.

“Our members have started to notice that there are more poisoning cases than

previously thought. Some preliminary research is backing this up, and more

investigation is underway.

“When a cat is poisoned by this chemical the effect is terrible and there is no

antidote. They have trouble walking, muscle twitches, seizures, and high

temperature. If not treated they can suffer a stroke and die within hours.

“A flea treatment that people think will save money, can kill cats and end up being

really costly for owners, emotionally and financially,” Dr Lawrie said.

“It’s vital that if the box says DO NOT USE ON CATS, you should heed that

warning. If you have a cat and dog you also need to be careful because the risk

for your cat, even in accidental contact with a treated dog, is very high.

“We would really like to see these treatments only made available through vets so

that proper instructions could be given to each buyer and cats don’t suffer


“If you have any questions or aren’t sure which product to use, talk to your vet,”

Dr Lawrie said.

For further information and requests for interviews contact:

Juanita Feldbauer, Media Relations Manager Ph: 02 9431 5062 or 0439 628 898

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the national professional association of veterinary surgeons in

Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 5000 members working in all areas of animal science,

health and welfare.

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