What If a Cat Licks Advantage?

Be wary of over grooming. It could be a warning sign of Advantage ingestion.

Be wary of over grooming. It could be a warning sign of Advantage ingestion.

Advantage helps prevent fleas from scavenging around on your beloved furball. Scout isn’t supposed to lick Advantage. If he licks, it he may become very ill. Ask your veterinarian to show you where and how to apply Advantage to minimize the risks.

How Did He Reach It?

You’re supposed to apply Advantage to the back of Scout’s neck after parting his fur – an area he shouldn’t be able to reach. If he’s limber though, he may be able to groom the area with his tongue. He may even scratch at the area and get some of the flea formula on his paws. The next time he takes a bath, he’ll unintentionally lick the Advantage off of his feet.

What Happens?

The effects of ingesting this type of flea medication range from mild to life threatening. You might not be aware that Scout ingested any Advantage. Initially, he’ll probably just lose his appetite, shying away from his favorite meal. He may lounge around more than normal and groom himself nonstop. You could also notice other odd behavioral changes like agitation, pacing and scratching himself more than normal. As the medication continues to get into his bloodstream, he might start drooling, develop a cough and even begin throwing up. Tremors and convulsions are the most severe symptoms he may develop. Sometimes symptoms start within hours of ingesting the substance, but in some cases your fuzzy buddy might not show any signs for days. By then the situation might become life-threatening.

What to Do

If you suspect that Scout swallowed some of his flea medication, get him to the hospital right away before symptoms progress, as a precaution. Let your vet know that your mischievous chum could have ingested his Advantage and take the packaging in for your vet to look at. Before heading to the hospital, take a sample of any vomit that might have come out of Scout. It sounds gross, but by analyzing this, your veterinarian can get a better understanding of what is going on inside Scout’s fragile stomach.

Treatment

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting by giving Scout a hydrogen peroxide solution. Depending on the severity of the situation, he may have to give your little buddy activated charcoal, a substance that absorbs toxins in his belly and sends them out through waste. If Scout has been throwing up and is severely dehydrated, he’ll most likely need to receive intravenous fluids overnight. As long as you get your furry family member to the doctor’s right away, he should get better.

Prevention

Apply the Advantage directly to his skin at the base of his head, along the back of his neck and let it absorb for 30 minutes. While it's drying, don't let Scout groom himself. Keep him on your lap or play with him during that time frame. If you have other animals in your home, don't let them come near Scout until those 30 minutes are up.

 

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images