We all want to keep our furbabies safe and healthy. Dogster Kristy Sweetland, furmom to Seva and Finlay, will be providing weekly tips and warnings from the Pet Poison HELPLINE to make that job easier. As a veterinary technician with the Pet Poison HELPLINE she’s going to help us all stay more on top of what’s dangerous for our furry family members.
Pyrethroids (Part Two!)
Dogs, unlike cats, possess the critical enzyme needed to break down pyrethroids within their liver. As we discussed last week, pyrethroids are commonly used in monthly flea control products for dogs. Because dogs can metabolize this class of chemical, we wont expect neurological toxicity with concentrated pyrethroids like we would for cats.
Thats not to say that adverse effects dont take place. A very small number of dogs develop a skin reaction with the use of concentrated spot-on monthly products. The reaction, called paresthesia, causes them to feel an uncomfortable burning or pin prickly” sensation at the area of application. Dogs cant understand this feeling and become highly irritated and agitated by it. People actually experience the same reaction with similar human products or inadvertent exposures to the concentrated canine products but are usually more tolerant of it.
With paresthesia reactions you wont see any visible sign of irritation. There will be no rash, redness, or swelling. The application area looks perfectly normal and yet dogs begin exhibiting signs that are distressing to them and their pet parent. Our calm and cool as a cucumber dog may become highly agitated and stressed. He or she may pant, pace, and rub on furniture and carpets or cry and act very worried. Often, it cant rest or relax and may be up all night long. This sensation generally passes within three days, but in the short term there are things we can do to make them feel much better. The first step will be to bathe them with a mild hand dishwashing detergent to remove any remaining residue. After that, cool compresses should be applied to the area. The most important factor will be Vitamin E oil. Pure Vitamin E oil, generally obtained from a punctured gel capsule, rubbed right on the area(s) of application several times a day will alleviate much of the discomfort and stress. An abundance of TLC is critical. Because the emotional factor plays such a big part in this reaction, holding them as well as petting, comforting, and reassuring them is very important in their recovery. If you are unable to comfort them or their signs become worse, be sure to seek the advice of a veterinarian.
Should your dog experience a pyrethroid induced paresthesia reaction, rest assured that it will not result in any permanent effects. Short term distress is bad enough, but nothing more would be expected. If your dog is one of the few dogs experiencing this uncomfortable reaction, be sure to avoid all products containing pyrethroids in the future. Your DVM should be able to prescribe a safe, non-pyrethroid alternative to keep your dog safe and sound.