Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't Rub It In?

Kwit Yer Itchin' Week Day 2-- Don't Rub It In?

When it comes to flea and tick prevention, my veterinarian can't stress strongly enough the importance of topical flea and tick treatments. However potential side effects, and news reports of a link between such treatments and serious health problems, some fatal, have me concerned. The Center for Public Integrity released a report on the perils of pesticides in 2008. Here's what I found out about Flea and Tick products from the New York Times report:
*Some people report side effects: from minor such as itching and loss of hair at the contact spot, to serious, such as heart rate changes, nausea and vomiting, and convulsions.

*According to ConsumerReports.org, the EPA logged about 600 pet deaths and 44,000 reports of harmful reactions to flea and tick treatments.

*There have been reported some counterfeit products out there, stealing brand names such as Frontline and Advantage.

*The ingredient fipronil, used in some treatments, is classified as a carcinogen, as it has been known to produce malignant tumors in laboratory tests.

*Topical treatments are generally considered safe for healthy pets other than young puppies, pregnant or nursing moms, and very senior dogs.

*Most animals do not have an adverse reaction to topical flea formulas, if used as directed.

*Topical treatments are an effective way to keep fleas and ticks off of pets.

And now, our own con and pro:
Con: Kelly has had seizures a couple times. I don't remember exactly how long after flea and tick treatment application they occurred. No cause for her seizures has been determined. Were they related to flea and tick treatments? Who knows for sure. (It hasn't happened every time she was treated, however.)

Pro: When I stopped using the treatments, Kelly immediately got a tick and got Lyme disease, which is prevalent in our own back yard. This disease, if not properly treated, can be fatal. And, the testing and medication is expensive. Fortunately, Kelly recovered well. The flea and tick treatment, however, is effective in keeping off ticks which carry this serious disease.

What is your experience with topical flea and tick treatments?


  1. We use Frontline Plus and have had no problems. With my last dog, Alex, I wasn't using it and we were goinh out in the country for me to go horseback riding. There were ticks everywhere and I got them and Alex got them. He came down with Lyme Disease as a puppy and thank goodness pulled through it by staying at the vet's for over a week. I got Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever a few years later. I HATE ticks!! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  2. We use Frontline, we actually used nothing for 6 months and then found a tick on Dexter and ended up using it again, as we walk a lot by the river they need protection but I'd much rather use something natural.

  3. I don't remember the name but whatever it is -- it certainly works!

  4. We don't like buggers either.
    My mom gives me Frontline Combo and so far, it's good for me and Mika.

  5. We is on Vectra cuz it's da latest and fleas and ticks hasn't developed a resistence to it like da older topicals.

    I am so sorry Kelly has had seizures, I didn't knows dat.


  6. I use Frontline Plus and haven't had any problems.

  7. I've had to use the topicals only once when we had an infestation.

    Since then I have a flea paranoia. I check each dog and cat daily for any sign of a flea and then use my non technological fingers to hunt for the flea. It has become a bonding experience for us.

    It's been years since we've had a flea.

  8. We like Frontline Plus for unwanted buggies
    Benny & Lily

  9. We've been really lucky, no fleas here in the house, so we've not used any! Have a great day!!!

  10. I use flea/tick preventive and heartworm preventive only when I have to. Indy has liver disease and other auto-immune problems. I don't want to do anything to make his health issues worse!


  11. I refuse to put that stuff on our boys. The first thing our holitic vet did when our cousin dog got seizures and cancer was to pull him OFF these chemicals. Yes, fleas are inconvenient and ticks are scary, but a little daily diligence (a good brush off and once over looking for ticks) means that we haven't had a single problem in 4 years. Maybe we're just lucky - but I'll take it!

  12. When we found Buster we started him on Frontline and he had a very bad reaction to it - vomiting/diarrhea. He also has seizures, though I have no way of knowing if that was related to the Frontline. I stopped using the topicals on both dogs after I saw what it did to Buster. Since then both dogs have picked up a tick or two, and we've had a couple of fleas, but we've been able to use natural products to get rid of them and (knock on wood) everyone is healthy.

  13. Thank you for your info on this. We treat the Sibes all year round for both flea/tick and heartworm preventatives.


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!