If you use this flea treatment incorrectly, your pet could die.

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The RSPCA has advised cat owners to carefully read the labels of flea and tick treatments before using them on their pets.

The warning comes after the charity was contacted by a panicked cat owner who was very worried about his 10 month old cat who agreed to have been treated with a flea and tick treatment intended for use on dogs.

The woman, from Kenley in Surrey, contacted her local branch for help after her cat started having seizures. The cat was rushed to the vet but had to be put to sleep to avoid further suffering.

The cat owner is very upset with the incident, which was entirely in error, prompting the RSPCA to warn other owners.

Flea treatments for cats and dogs are readily available over the counter. But some dog treatments contain permethrin, a chemical that’s very toxic to cats. And many treatments are not suitable for very young animals, so it’s important to check labels carefully before use.

Alice Potter, RSPCA Cat Welfare Expert, said: “It was a very distressing incident for the owner of this cat who realized she had made a terrible mistake but found it out. count too late.

“Only give your pet a flea treatment that has been recommended for them, it is always best to talk to your vet about which products are safe to use and, if you have cats and dogs, make sure you to read the labels carefully before administering them.

“Products suitable for one may not be suitable for the other. Some dog treatments contain permethrin which is safe for dogs but very toxic for cats.

If your pet catches fleas, it is important to treat the pet and your home, as fleas can survive in carpets and furniture for several months. Use a flea spray for household and pet bedding recommended by the vet.

Regularly clean bedding and vacuum furniture, floors and baseboards to help destroy fleas. Then throw away the vacuum bag.

Fleas are a parasite and can affect dogs, cats, rabbits, and even humans. Some types can jump from host to host.

Fleas do not suck blood until they are adults, but can live on pets for up to 100 days, with females laying up to 50 eggs per day.

If your pet is scratching or has visible bugs (which might look like dark spots) in their fur, they might have fleas. Groom your pet with a fine-toothed comb on a white surface, fleas or droppings will fall out. Add water and if the droppings turn reddish brown, they are likely to have fleas.

Besides making animals uncomfortable, fleas can cause allergic reactions and transmit diseases to your pet, such as myxomatosis in rabbits. In very severe cases, flea infestations can make pets very weak and can even lead to death from blood loss.

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