What is Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning?
The chemicals that are put into the flea and tick collars that many canine owners use to eliminate fleas from their pets can inflict harm if ingested. Serious effects on the central nervous system resulting in neurological deficits are possible. In fact, flea collar poisoning due to ingestion of the collar will affect your pet in the same way that the toxins affect the fleas they are meant to eradicate. In addition, the ingredients in the flea collars can leave a residue on your canine’s fur that remains for many weeks. Studies show that propoxur poisoning can occur by ingestion of the collar or by the licking of the residue found on the fur; amitraz toxicity happens when a canine chews on and eats a flea and tick collar. Both of these chemicals are used in topical flea and tick preparations, presenting more chances of accidental poisoning. Canine owners who use these products should also be aware of the potential dangers to other household pets and to children.
Flea and tick collars can contain ingredients that can be highly toxic to canines if ingested. Amitraz and propoxur are two such chemicals, added to flea and tick collars during production. Accidental ingestion of a collar by your canine can result in severe toxicity.
Symptoms of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs
- Loss of bodily movement control
- High or low body temperature
- Urinary incontinence
- Low blood pressure
- Obstruction of the intestines due to paralysis of intestines
- Dilation of pupils
- Gastric dilatation
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythm and rapid heart rate
- Excess salivation
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of bodily movement control
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Abdominal cramps
With a skin irritation of propoxur, there may be evidence of redness of the skin, loss of fur, and a constriction of the iris of your pet’s eye.
Other than amitraz and propoxur, another chemical used in topical solutions for flea and tick control and for collars used to eradicate these pests is tetrachlorvinphos, an organophosphate also known to be toxic to your canine’s nervous system.
Causes of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs
Flea and tick collar poisoning occurs when a pet ingests a collar or consumes the chemicals that are left on the skin and fur as a residual product. Studies have proven that chemicals that are harmful to both your family pets and children can remain (and are accessible each time the collar is touched) for a few weeks after the collar has been put on your canine. Caution should be used when putting the collar on your canine; wash your hands after attaching the collar and make sure it is secure enough that pets cannot easily remove it, ingesting it accidentally in the process. Studies show that puppies and toy breed canines, particularly the Chihuahua and Pomeranian, are susceptible to severe poisoning upon ingestion of a flea and tick collar containing amitraz.
Diagnosis of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs
When diagnosing poisoning from a flea and tick collar or from the residue left on the fur and skin, the veterinarian will come to a conclusion based on the history and specifics that you are able to provide, if any, and the clinical signs. If you see that your pet is showing signs of a poisoning like loss of bodily movement control or vomiting, remove the flea collar right away, or in the case of ingestion bring the remains of the collar in with you when you go to the clinic or emergency room. Provide the veterinarian with as much information as possible, such as recent illnesses, changes in behavior that you may have noticed, and the approximate length of time that your pet has been exhibiting the symptoms. The veterinarian may order blood tests, urinalysis, and abdominal x-rays but the timing of these tests will depend upon the immediate condition of your canine.
Treatment of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs
Flea collar poisoning is treated with support therapy and medication. Vomiting may be induced by the veterinary team, contingent on the chemical in the collar, and whether your pet is in a depressed state (as there could be risk of aspiration pneumonia). Activated charcoal may be used to bind the poison.
Fluid therapy will be put in place and your canine companion will be closely monitored. The veterinary team will check at regular intervals, your canine’s blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, blood markers, and urine production. If your pet is dehydrated the fluid therapy will ensure that he is getting enough liquids. Medication (like atipamezole), to counteract the effects of the toxicity, will be administered as well.
If the x-rays have shown the location of the collar in the intestine or stomach (or the absence, meaning the pieces did leave the body with the vomitus) an endoscopic procedure could be considered to remove it. In addition, your canine’s fur will be gently washed to remove all traces of the chemicals released by the flea collar.
Recovery of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs
With both amitraz and propoxur, the prognosis can be favorable with early treatment. This is why it is so important to visit a veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your canine has ingested a poisonous substance. Your pet may recover, but the length of time it takes for him to get back to normal will depend on the level of toxicity and his state of health at the time of the incident. When dealing with a flea or tick problem, always consult your veterinarian for advice on the best products to use.