Cat Nicotine Toxicity
Cat Nicotine Toxicity
Tobacco and tobacco products contain a poisonous alkaloid that comes from the tobacco plant itself. Not only tobacco products contain nicotine: It can also be found in insecticides, smoking cessation aids such as patches, inhalers and, even gum. Nicotine alone is a poisonous substance.
Its toxicity is not limited to humans and the many children requiring emergency services due to nicotine poisoning. Your cat is also susceptible to nicotine poisoning. The ash tray sitting on your table or the carelessly discarded patch in the trash can be lethal to your cat. Chewing Tobacco, with its assorted flavors, can also be attractive to your cat.
Cats enjoy honey, sugars, molasses and some of the other supplemental flavors that go into designer Chewing Tobacco.
A toxic level of nicotine in your cat is five milligrams per pound of your cat’s body weight. This is potentially a lethal dose.
Products with Nicotine
1. Each and every cigarette will contain varying amounts of nicotine depending on the brand. One cigarette has a potential level of fifteen to twenty five milligrams.
2. Popular nicotine gums contain two to four milligrams in each piece
3. Patches will contain between 8 and 114 milligrams in each patch
4. Nicotine sprays have between 80 and 100 mg. per bottle and .5mg per spray
5. Cigars contain between 15 and 40 mg of nicotine
6. A mere cigarette butt can have between 4 and 8 mg
What these numbers tell you is that two to four cigarettes can present toxic signs in a ten pound cat.
Symptoms of Nicotine Toxicity
Depending on the amount of nicotine your cat has ingested, symptoms may appear mild or severe. Most cats will have Cat Vomiting after eating a nicotine product. However, most symptoms of nicotine toxicity will usually occur within an hour after your cat has eaten a nicotine product. Other symptoms include :
1. Generalized weakness
2. Visible tremors
3. Either hyperactivity or in the case of a high dose or Cat Lethargy
4. Dilated pupils
5. Cat Diarrhea and vomiting can occur
6. Collapse is possible if the dose is high enough
7. Your cat can become clumsy and start stumbling
8. Changes in the heartbeat. This can be either an increase in rate or a decrease in rate
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your veterinarian may wish to conduct some testing. This will not be necessary if you witnessed your cat eating the nicotine product. Even with treatment, if the dose is extremely high, your cat may not survive.
1. Vomiting may be induced to lessen the amount of nicotine present in the stomach. This will occur only if your cat is alert.
2. If your cat merely touched your patch or other nicotine product, they will need an immediate bath with a mild dish detergent.
3. If you cat is not alert, your veterinarian may pump your cat’s stomach.
4. Activated charcoal will be administered which will reduce absorption.
5. If your cat is severely compromised, it may be necessary to begin intravenous fluids.
Keep all nicotine products out of reach of your cat. This includes anything that you use such as gum, cigarettes, etc.
If you witness your cat ingesting nicotine, call your vet or poison control center to get instructions on how to induce vomiting at home. If symptoms occur, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.