Amitraz Poisoning in Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Oct. 10, 2012

Amitraz Toxicosis in Cats

Amitraz is a chemical that is used as a tick preventive in many formulations, including tick collars, topical preparation and dips. It is also used to treat parasitic infections such as mange. Amitraz poisoning is rarer in cats than in dogs. When seen, it usually results from the improper use of a dog product on a cat.

Symptoms and Types

  • Minor to severe depression
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination
  • Lying on side, not moving
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased urination
  • Death


Amitraz toxicity is caused by ingestion of or exposure to products containing amitraz. Amitraz toxicity may occur in cats when dog products containing amitraz are used on the cat or when the cat contacts a dog with amitraz still present on the skin and/or hair coat.


The pet’s history may reveal exposure to a product containing amitraz. Blood testing (complete blood cell count and blood chemistry profile) may be normal but hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is a common finding. Less commonly, elevations of the liver enzymes may be seen also.


If amitraz is present on the skin and hair coat, the cat should be washed with a dish-washing detergent or other shampoo to remove the residue, then rinsed thoroughly with warm water. Supportive therapy such as intravenous fluids, maintenance of body temperature and nutritional support may be necessary. The cat should be closely monitored.

If a collar or part of a collar has been ingested, it should be removed with the use of an endoscope (a long slender tube that is inserted into the intestinal tract). Hydrogen peroxide may be used to induce vomiting and clean any remaining amitraz out of the stomach. Activated charcoal is often used to help prevent further absorption of the amitraz from the stomach and intestinal tract as well.

Other drugs that are sometimes used include yohimbine and atipamezole.

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