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CVM vets investigating apparent cat poisoning in Ithaca

UPDATE, June 9, 2015: The Collegetown cats brought to the Tompkins County SPCA last week may have been poisoned by eating tainted cat food. Animal Control officers found a container of dry cat food mixed with antifreeze in the area. Several cats have died since the first group was brought in over the May 29 weekend.

JUNE 1, 2015 - The Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell, working with the toxicology lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University (CVM), is investigating a possible case of cat poisoning in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood. Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Director of Shelter Medicine at CVM, says Animal Control officers picked up four cats this weekend after calls from concerned Collegetown residents. One cat was dead on arrival and the others exhibited severe neurological signs consistent with toxin exposure. There were no other signs of injury or illness, and the cats were in good body condition.

“We are highly suspicious of toxic exposure to a group of free roaming cats in Collegetown,” says Dr. Berliner. “This could have been entirely accidental. There are several readily available pesticides on the market that could have been involved. Someone may have used them without intending to hurt the cats.”

Dr. Berliner emphasized that the situation is limited to Collegetown. Area residents who are concerned that their own pets may have been exposed should watch them for profuse drooling, tremors, and unusual amounts of urination.

Any pet with acute illness should be seen by his or her veterinarian as soon as possible. If symptoms arise outside of business hours, the Cornell University Hospital for Animals offers 24-hour-a-day emergency services; bring the pet to the hospital at 930 Campus Road, Ithaca, NY or call (607) 253-3060 for more information.

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