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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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The tip edges of my cats tongue are bright red and she is

Customer Question

Customer: The tip edges of my cats tongue are bright red and she is drooling... she hasn't moved all day and seems drunk or unwilling to move unless provoked.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: She is 7 years old and always acts like a kitten still... very active.
JA: OK got it. Last thing — JustAnswer charges a fee (generally around $19) to post your type of question to Cat Veterinary Experts (you only pay if satisfied). There are a couple customers ahead of you. Are you willing to wait a bit?
Customer: The only thing that I think caused this was a topical antibacterial spray i put on her back last night due to some red sores on her spine going towards the base of her tail. The "expert" at petsmart said this sprsy should help soothe and get rid of the scabs. I gave her a bath about a week ago and it got better, but I was looking for something that would help clear up what was left and ensure she wouldn't loose any more hair. She probably licked off the spray and I'm worried she's poisoned!
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.


My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that your cat's tongue is looking so strangely.

Just to confirm- the edges of the tongue are red and your kitty is very lethargic?

Also, do you have the spray that you put on her skin? Can you send the active ingredients or a picture of the label?

Based on your description, there are a few things that I would think of as causes for your kitty's problem-

-electrocution- does your kitty chew on electrical wires? This is a common injury in cats as they get zapped and burned on the tongue before the circuit breaker trips.

-chemical burn on tongue- this could be the spray, but it could also be a chemical that you used to clean your house. I have seen kitties walk through a chemical and lick it off and cause irritation in the mouth.

-toxin- there are several different medications and plants that can cause irritation in the mouth such as poinsettias, philodendron, etc.

-metabolic problem- acute kidney failure can cause ulcers on the tongue, drooling and lethargy, so that is something else to consider even in a young cat.

Please let me know what is in the spray so that I can help you figure out what is going on with your kitty.

Do the other possible causes also make sense? Do you have any other questions?

Dr. Amanda

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
None of those... It has to be the spray... Benzalkonium chloride is the active ingredient
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Okay, thanks for the added information. This is helpful.

This chemical is pretty nasty and is known to cause irritation to human skin, eyes, sinues, etc.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on it and that is scary enough:

So, it is very likely that your cat is experiencing side effects from licking this compound. I would strongly consider taking him to the animal emergency room this evening if you are able. I am very worried about not only damage to the tongue, but also the esophagus and stomach. There isn't a ton of information on oral consumption of the product, but it does kill rats when given orally and that also worries me. Lastly I am worried about how lethargic your kitty is. Is it because of pain or some other toxic effect of the chemical? Only your vet can answer those questions.

I would also call Animal Poison Control. They are your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested the potentially poisonous substance, call (888)(###) ###-####/strong>. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. They will ask you the name of the product as well as any listed ingredient and will tell you if the product is toxic and if you should rush your pet to the nearest veterinarian. They will also be able to prescribe treatments that the ER vet can start or if you aren't able to go the ER tonight, your regular vet in the morning.

Good luck. Do you have any more questions?

Dr. A

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. How is your kitty this morning? Is her energy level improved? How does her tongue look today?

Dr. A