Fleas are parasitic bloodsuckers. The females can get through on average 12–15 times their own body weight in your cat’s blood and it is therefore of no surprise that severe infestations lead to anaemia, particularly in kittens who are still building up their immunities and strength and just can’t cope with losing a lot of blood.
Both people and cats can be allergic to flea saliva, making the bites swell and itch terribly. Fleas can also carry the eggs for tapeworm, which can infect cats and, more rarely, young children. Excessive flea bites can also lead to anaemia, especially in older or ill cats. And, in rare cases in these modern times, cats have caught the bubonic plague from fleas.
Solutions / Products
Hundreds Of Cats Killed By Flea Treatment For Dogs
Hundreds of cats are dying each year because their owners treat them with dog flea medication, a study has found.A study by the Veterinary Poisons information Service (VPIS) found that as a many as one in 10 cats referred to them had died after being exposed to flea treatments containing permethrin.
The chemical, commonly found in pet flea treatments, ant killers and fly sprays, is only mildly toxic to most mammals, but can be deadly for cats due to a metabolic deficiency.
It is so poisonous that cats can become seriously ill even if they come into contact with treated dogs, through shared bedding for example.
A study of 286 cases in which canine spot-on permethrin preparations had been used on cats found that 97 per cent showed signs of poisoning.
Around 90 per cent displayed symptoms of twitching and convulsions, with one in 10 dying or having to be put down.
Alex Campbell, VPIS manager, said he believed the problem was even more widespread than the study suggested and that the number of poisonings had been understated.
He said: “Not all veterinary practices use the VPIS and not all vets will report every case.”
Cats affected may need two or three days of intensive veterinary treatment if they are to survive.
Mr Campbell added: “There is no need to use permethrin containing products to control fleas on cats.
“There are many different ‘spot-on’ medications formulated specifically for cats, none of which contain permethrin.”
The VPIS is calling on manufacturers to make the warnings on dog flea treatments more obvious.
Mr Campbell said: “Accidents inevitably occur, but it is not enough for the manufacturers of these products to say there is a warning on the packet.
“It must be visible, understandable and printed on both the packet and the container itself to reduce the incidence of serious poisoning.”
The Veterinary Poisons information Service is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
A chemical used in over-thecounter dog flea treatments is fatal to one in ten cats and leaves 88 per cent twitching and suffering convulsions.
The insecticide – permethrin – is so dangerous that cats will fall sick by sharing bedding with a recently treated dog, said the Veterinary Poisons Information Service study.
The VPIS says victims need two to three days of intensive treatment to recover.
Dog flea treatments that contain permethrin include Bob Martin Dog Spot On, Johnson’s Insecticidal Flea and Tick Drops, Wilko Dog Flea Drops and Armitage Flea and Tick Drops for Dogs, said the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
Martin Johnson, of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, said: ‘People either use them accidentally or to save money – by splitting one dose into several ones.’
source from: UK dailymail