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Dangers of Flea and Tick Products
(Excerpt from Spring/Summer 2009 issue of GCNM News)

On April 27th, 2009, an NBC affiliate station in Florida (NBC-2) aired a story about a woman whose dog experienced severe side effects after using a topically applied flea and tick product. Investigative reporting revealed this has become a serious, widespread problem.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a release on April 16th, 2009 warning consumers: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on [typically applied to a spot between the shoulder blades] pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets due to recent increases in the number of reported incidents. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, the death of pets.”

The report goes on to say “Health Canada has identified similar concerns about the use of spot-on flea and tick products.” EPA and Health Canada are planning a meeting “shortly” with spot-on product manufacturers to address the issue.

While perusing the EPA 5,237-page tome on reported cases of reactions to certain products, I noticed numerous ingredients in particular appear to be suspect. Several products show up repeatedly, page after page, and they are some of the most popular and commonly recommended products. This information is available at http://www.nbc-2.com/News/documents/090427_Pyrethrin-PyrethroidIncidents.pdf.

Pyrethrin, a natural extract from chrysanthemum flowers, is one of the most widely used ingredients in insecticides for all sorts of applications. Synthetic pyrethrins are called pyrethroids and there are many of them on the market, most bearing a name derived from the word Pyrethrin. One might make the assumption that a “natural” product is superior to anything synthetic; however, this is simply not the case.

Regardless of what the labels say, most insecticides are dangerous to some extent. Beware of fraudulent claims by manufacturers and remember that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean SAFE!

Below is a report that came to us recently from our adopters, Keith and Tara Saunders:
I bought and used SentryPro XFC on my four greyhounds last night. One of them immediately started dry coughing. Three were drooling within the hour and one developed a twitch-like response in his left hind leg – like an uncontrollable scratching or kicking motion. Two became extremely restless and would not settle. We washed all four dogs thoroughly and the symptoms subsided. All had very red skin where the product was applied. I Googled the product and found two sites with hundreds of comments from other dog owners who experienced similar affects, or many times worse. To read these comments yourself, Google “problems with sentrypro xfc” or simply “sentrypro xfc.”

(Although I believe all the current spot-on products present some safety concerns, the one I use only when I have to is Frontline Top Spot. The only time I use this product is when we receive greyhounds that have visible fleas and/or ticks and we need to get rid of them quickly. We never recommend flea collars of any type be used on greyhounds).
JKP

 


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