No permethrin for cats

Permethrin-based antiparasitics intended for dogs are toxic to cats

As part of the veterinary pharmacovigilance scheme ANSES operates via the French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products, serious or even fatal adverse reactions in cats treated with topical antiparasitics containing permethrin, normally intended for dogs, are regularly reported. ANSES therefore reminds cat owners that they should never use permethrin-based veterinary drugs, and offers some advice on how to avoid poisoning.

Permethrin, a toxic substance for cats

For several years now, ANSES has been recording serious or even fatal adverse reactions in cats treated with these topical antiparasitics, through the veterinary pharmacovigilance scheme it operates via the French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products. Accidents continue to occur despite communication measures targeting veterinarians and animal owners, such as labelling stating that these drugs are absolutely contraindicated in cats. In 2018, the Agency recorded 122 reports of adverse reactions in cats following administration of permethrin-based treatments; 54 were regarded as serious and six cats died as a result of the use of one of these antiparasitic drugs authorised for dogs.


Avoiding accidents

In this context, the Agency reminds cat owners to remain vigilant and not to treat their animals with drugs containing permethrin.

In the event of accidental exposure, and even if adverse reactions have not yet occurred, owners should wash their cat with warm water and soap or washing-up liquid, and seek prompt veterinary advice.

To prevent cats from being accidentally exposed to these products in homes with more than one animal, owners should keep treated dogs away from cats until the site where the antiparasitic treatment has been applied to the dog is dry, then ensure that cats cannot lick this application site.

To report an adverse effect following the use of a veterinary drug: