Cats are typically less adventurous than dogs when it comes to toxins, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center warns that many times seizures in cats are due to human actions.
For example, some pet owners will apply a flea-control product made for dogs, not knowing how dangerous that is for cats. Owners may also overdose the pet or accidentally give the wrong medication.
The attached chart shows the most common toxins that cause seizures in cats, so post it in a conspicuous place and share this information with your clients to help ward off problems before they begin.
Top Problem Products
Permethrin is, as always, the most common cause of seizures in cats. This can happen when a dog flea-prevention product is applied to a cat or when the cat licks a recently treated dog, presses up against him or rests in the same spot.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics will also cause seizures. The biggest concern is in overdose situations, and seizures are most commonly seen when the overdose is given intravenously. Often, the mistake is first realized when the cat has a seizure before the infusion is completed.
Diphenhydramine can also cause seizures when overdosed. It can happen with any route of exposure, but is more common and occurs at lower doses when it is given intravenously.
Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant and can cause seizures at supratherapeutic dosages.
Mirtazapine overdose can commonly cause seizures, especially in cats with underlying renal or hepatic disease.
Ibuprofen can cause serious CNS signs at very high doses. Depression, ataxia, coma and seizure top the list.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) oil is most commonly an issue when high strength preparations (often 100%) are ingested or applied to cats.
Alpha lipoic acid is found in many supplements. At high doses, it can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and hepatotoxicity.
Minodixil is used in humans as a systemic vasodilator and as a topical treatment to stimulate localized hair growth. Any exposure in cats can cause death. The most common signs in cats are pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, compromised cardiac function and death.
Acetaminophen is a potent inducer of methemoglobinemia, especially in cats. Seizures may be seen secondary to hypoxia in patients with methemoglobinemia.
Ivermectin and Moxidectin are in the avermectin family of anthelmintics. At supratherapeutic dosages, variety of CNS signs can be seen, including depression, ataxia and seizures.
Baclofen is a centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxant. It is extremely potent and can cause severe signs such as depression, coma, apnea and seizures.
Bromethalin is a neurotoxic rodenticides, and cats are significantly more sensitive than dogs. We can see a convulsant syndrome with bromethalin that is often refractory to any type of long-term treatment, making decontamination supremely important for these cases where dosages have the potential to cause toxicosis.