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Aust Vet J. 2008 Jun;86(6):219-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-0813.2008.00298.x.

Permethrin toxicity in cats: a retrospective study of 20 cases.

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Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid widely used in flea control products for small animals. Accidental toxicity can occur with off-label usage, and cats are particularly susceptible.


Retrospective study of 20 cases of permethrin toxicity in cats treated at an emergency clinic in Brisbane, Queensland from October 2004 to June 2005.


The diagnosis of permethrin toxicity was made on the basis of a history of exposure and characteristic clinical signs, including seizures, muscle fasciculations, and tremors. Decontamination and appropriate seizure or muscle fasciculation control were the basis of treatment. The outcome was good after rapid intervention and 19 of the 20 cats were successfully treated, with the only death occurring in a kitten for which treatment was delayed for 24 h. No long-term complications were reported by the cats' owners at 4-month follow-up after discharge from hospital.


Owner education, together with more appropriate product labelling, may help eliminate this problem in the future.

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