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The Trouble with Spot-on Flea and Tick Products

The Dangers of Spot-on Flea

In getting rid of fleas and ticks, some pet owners have been left grasping at straws. Unfortunately, many dog owners feel that the most simple solution is chemical spot-on treatments. But back in March of 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was “taking a look” at some of the particular treatments.

Finally! You can’t douse a dog with poison, which is what these products are, and expect nothing to happen.

But, unfortunately, you don’t always see the results right away. They happen over time.

These pesticide products were showing a “significant increase in adverse incidents,” according to the EPA.

The agency joined forces with Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to look into the products.

The Canadians were citing concerns with the products as early as 2009, while the EPA started gathering information in 2008 after seeing more incident reports.

The basic thrust of the findings led to reactions in dogs and cats as follows: “skin effects, such as irritation, redness, or gastrointestinal problems that include vomiting or diarrhea, or effects to the nervous system, such as trembling, appearing depressed or seizures.”

As a result, the EPA and its fellows worked to require spot-on makers to improve labels and to provide clearer instructions. They also restricted the use of “certain inert ingredients” that were found to be linked to some of the aforementioned reactions.

The EPA looked at a total of 21 products, from products by Bayer to products from Pet Logic. A full list of the evaluations of each product is available here.

“The bottom line is that the (EPA’s) Office of Pesticide Programs believes it is necessary to make significant changes in how we regulate pet spot-on products,” says Lois Rossi, director of EPA’s pesticide registration division.

There are other issues, too. According to a report in the January-February 2011 issue of Dogs Naturally magazine, the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity discovered that “from 2002 through 2007, at least 1,600 pet deaths related to spot-on treatments with the above mentioned ingredients were reported to the EPA.”

Without question, the EPA has recommended caution when it comes to spot-on products to treat fleas and ticks and this article highlights the problem.

Better solutions are necessary to not only fight fleas and ticks but to provide our dogs (and other pets) with non-toxic treatments to the many problems and threats that are out there.

For your dog or cat’s sake, don’t settle for a quick, long-term fix that often includes dire and dreadful results that you don’t always see right away. The quick fix is not always the answer – in fact, it is rarely the answer. Like many issues in life, related to our best friends or not, careful consideration and proper research is necessary.

Check out the EPA report for yourself if you haven’t already done so and take care when using spot-on products to fight fleas and ticks.

Check out this video on how topical flea and tick treatments are causing illness, disease and death in our pets.

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