Organophosphate and Carbamate Toxicity
Areas that are geographically prone to heavy flea and tick infestations tend to use many different forms of insecticide (e.g., organophosphates and carbamates). But exposure to insecticides -- especially after heavy or repeated applications of the chemicals -- may be toxic to cats.
These forms of insecticide poisoning affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how it affects dogs please this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
Cats exposed to toxic chemicals may not exhibit all of the signs of poisoning. In fact, sometimes insecticides will cause the opposite of these symptoms instead, but there will usually be some indication that the cat is not well. If you suspect that your pet is unwell because of exposure to insecticides, you will need to remove your cat from the toxic environment, or cease using the insecticides, and seek medical attention for it before the condition becomes dire.
The following are some of the symptoms of toxic poisoning:
- Muscle tremors
- Constricted pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Lack of coordination (i.e., trouble walking)
- Respiratory failure (e.g., trouble breathing)
Toxic levels of carbamate insecticides like methomyl and carbofuran can cause seizures and respiratory arrest in your cat. Organophosphate toxicity, meanwhile, may lead to chronic anorexia, muscle weakness and muscle twitching which may last for days or even weeks. Someorganophosphate insecticides commonly used include coumaphos, cyothioate, diazinon, fampfhur, fention, phosmet, and tetrachlorvinphos.
This same kind of poisoning can occur with agricultural, lawn and garden insecticide products. Organophosphate types of these products are acephate, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, disulfoton, fonofos, malathion, parathion and terbufos. Carbamate types of these products are carbofuran and methomyl.
This same kind of poisoning can occur with agricultural, lawn and garden insecticide products. Organophosphate types of these products are acephate, chlorpyrifos (which is especially toxic to cats), diazinon, disulfoton, fonofos, malathion, parathion and terbufos. Carbamate types of these products are carbofuran and methomyl.
Organophosphate and carbamate insecticides inhibit cholinesterases and acetylcholinesterase, essential enzymes in the body. Cholinesterases are enzymes which break down acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter.
Consequently, acetylcholine remains attached to the postsynaptic receptors of the neurons causing continuous, unending nervous transmission to nervous tissue, organs and muscles (smooth and skeletal). This causes seizures and shaking.
Toxicity can occur due to the overuse, misuse, or use of multiple cholinesterase-inhibiting insecticides; overexposure to insecticides in the surrounding home environment; the misuse of organophosphate insecticides in cats (e.g., organophosphate-containing dips labeled for dogs only, inappropriately applied to cats); or the intentional application of house or yard insecticides on cats.
If your cat has been diagnosed as having toxic levels of insecticide in its system, your veterinarian will immediately stabilize and decontaminate your pet. Your veterinarian will also administer an antidotal treatment to your cat.
You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition. If you know what type of toxin your pet was exposed to, or you have a sample of it, you should take a sample with you so that your doctor can better treat the poisoning. Your veterinarian will then send a sample of whole blood to a laboratory experienced in handling animal samples. A positive result is confirmed when cholinesterase in the blood is less than 25 percent of normal levels.
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
An involuntary action in which the muscles contract; caused by a problem with the brain.
Any sub stance that allows impulses to be transmitted from one neuron to the next
A chemical that kills insects by poison or fumigant
To slow something down or cause it to stop
Losing of strength; becoming weaker.
Irritating tissue with a great deal of some type of fluid