Hair Dye, Minoxidil & Voltaren: Poisonous to Cats


I wish to warn you about three rising and vital toxins of cats. I additionally need you to see the hyperlink between these merchandise and the way they might be simply the tip of the iceberg in family poisonings.

Minoxidil : A Baldness Remedy

Minoxidil has grow to be extraordinarily in style attributable to its potential to stimulate hair regrowth on the scalp of individuals. It was initially marketed as Rogaine, however is now obtainable as an over-the-counter generic in liquid, foam and shampoo varieties.

When cats lick even a tiny quantity, it causes vomiting, drooling, low blood stress, extreme sickness and infrequently loss of life. As a result of the product is utilized to the pores and skin, it might probably simply come into contact with cats both instantly, by licking the realm, and even from pillows.

I first found this toxin one 12 months in the past after a report from the Animal Poison Management Middle you could learn right here. Of their checklist of the highest causes of poisoning deaths in cats, it included a drug I had by no means heard of.

If I didn’t find out about it, it meant many different vets didn’t both, and only a few cat homeowners.

The message is straightforward: in case you use minoxidil in any kind, be extraordinarily cautious:

  • Clear up areas rigorously after use, particularly spills or stray drops
  • Don’t permit your cat to come back into contact with handled areas of pores and skin
  • Forestall entry to bedrooms 
  • Clear sheets and pillowcases steadily

PPD: A Hair Dye Ingredient

Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) is a fixative discovered in lots of hair dyes and henna momentary tattoos. It causes a deeper, longer lasting and extra intense color. Oral ingestion results in intravascular hemolysis, rhabdomyolysis, myoglobinuria and acute renal failure. 

In different phrases, this implies huge destruction of crimson blood cells and muscle cells. The discharge of their contents into the circulation causes downstream kidney injury. This is identical course of you typically hear about with overexercise in scorching circumstances

I solely heard about this toxin final week, however I noticed a case a 12 months in the past that I’m now satisfied was attributable to it. 

Mimi’s Acute Renal Harm

Mimi’s homeowners got here to me for a second opinion after he was identified with acute kidney failure. The attention-grabbing factor is that regardless of an intensive seek for the toxin, it was by no means discovered. Nonetheless, as a result of timing, Mimi‘s homeowners strongly suspected {that a} hair dye had induced it.

On the time, I performed a search to one of the best of my skills and located no hyperlink between dyes and poisoning. The case remained a thriller. Mimi survived solely because of heroic efforts by his homeowners and a variety of veterinary groups.

Data of the toxicity of PPD is well-known in human medical circles, however no documented circumstances of poisoning exist in animals. It’s possible that the dearth of proof is because of a scarcity of recognition, not incidence. Like in Mimi’s case, it’s close to not possible to show a selected toxin causes kidney failure as a result of delay between poisoning and analysis.

As soon as once more, prevention is about minimising publicity:

  • Use hair dyes and hennas with out PPD if potential
  • Use dyes and hennas in a well-ventilated place the place your cat can not be a part of you
  • After completion, clear up any spills and splashes rigorously
  • Rinse basins, baths and showers totally since cats usually wish to lick these areas after use
  • Don’t permit your cat to lick the dyed areas

Diclofenac (Voltaren)

A 3rd widespread explanation for cat poisoning deaths is the human use of potent anti-inflammatories. As soon as once more, the danger is principally from merchandise utilized to the pores and skin. Merchandise like Voltaren gel comprise diclofenac, which even in small portions will trigger kidney failure.

Cats are prone to be poisoned both by licking the handled areas, or getting spilt product on their paws or coat. Along with the strategies above, prevention must also embrace overlaying the handled areas with clothes and preserving the merchandise in a safe place.

The Widespread Hyperlink

All three of those toxins present us how vulnerable cats are to family poisoning. That is for 3 causes:

  1. Cats are naturally inquisitive and can search out and examine new issues
  2. Cat appear inherently delicate to a variety of chemical compounds
  3. Something that contacts the surface of a cat will invariably be licked off and swallowed

The third level means we must always add a closing type of prevention: if something not recognized to be secure will get in your cat’s coat or paws, you have to to present them a shower. This isn’t a call taken evenly, however it might be life-saving.

Furthermore, I might watch out about any medicines, dyes or different family chemical compounds, no matter whether or not they comprise diclofenac, minoxidil or PPD*. If we’re studying one factor, it’s that cats will present us simply how poisonous a chemical could be.

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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his workforce right here.


Anuradha, S., Arora, S., Mehrotra, S., Arora, A., & Kar, P. (2004). Acute renal failure following para‐phenylenediamine (PPD) poisoning: a case report and evaluation. Renal failure26(3), 329-332

Tater, Ok. C., Gwaltney-Brant, S., & Wismer, T. (2021). Topical Minoxidil Exposures and Toxicoses in Canines and Cats: 211 Instances (2001–2019). Journal of the American Animal Hospital Affiliation57(5), 225-231

* Simply take a look at the ingredient checklist for a non-PPD containing hair dye for instance: what number of of those do you assume have been examined in cats? Cetearyl Alcohol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-20, Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ethanolamine, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Perfume, 2-Methylresorcinol, Resorcinol, Serine, Sodium Sulfite, Oleic Acid, Potassium Stearate, Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, m-Aminophenol, Carbomer, Linalool, Potassium Hydroxide, Citronellol, Ascorbic Acid, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Sulfate, Hexyl Salicylate, 2-Amino-3-Hydroxypyridine, Hydrogen Peroxide, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Disodium Pyrophosphate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Phosphoric Acid, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Amodimethicone/Morpholinomethyl Silsesquioxane Copolymer, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Polyquaternium-37, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Panthenol, Isopropyl Myristate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Isopropyl Alcohol, Sodium Methylparaben, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Lauryl Glucoside, Trideceth-5, Salicylic Acid.



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