Since we have four dogs and Willie, a cat, at our house, I fully realize humans must make sure they take care of their pets. Outdoor time for dogs and their owners is a welcome break after a long winter, but it’s also a field day for ticks and fleas that want to make a home on your pets. That’s why many pet owners have turned to “spot on” treatments applied once a month to keep fleas and ticks away. Veterinarians have been prescribing these treatments for years because they are both very effective and also easy to use. Unfortunately, just a little bit of this product can turn to poison.
The EPA reports 44,000 sick pets in 2008 because of spot-on products. That’s about 50% more than the year before. Six hundred of those animals died. The EPA says reactions include vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, depression and seizures. The EPA doesn’t believe it was a bad batch, but instead believe it was a misuse because labels weren’t clear. For example, there are dangers in using a dog product on a cat or using a product for a large dog on a small dog. I know this to be true because our cat Willie almost died when a treatment intended for a large dog was used on him. Fortunately, our veterinarian, Dr. Charles McElmore, did a tremendous job and saved Willie’s life. But he spent several weeks in the “cat hospital” before he fully recovered.
The EPA says to increase the safety of these products it will “begin reviewing labels to determine which ones needs stronger and clearer labeling statements.” There is another concern. Flea and tick products made for dogs contain a pesticide called permethrin, which can kill a cat.
If you have any doubt, consult with your veterinarian, especially if you’ve got an older dog, or a pregnant or nursing dog or cat. The best advice is to be more vigilant and if in doubt, don’t use a product. While permethrin is a pesticide, we must remember that it’s also a poison. Pet owners should treat it with utmost care.
Source: NBC News
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