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Pets & Fleas: Are “Spot-On” flea killers safe?

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 7:57 am in Cats, dogs, Fleas, Pets, Ticks.

Fleas photo by Flickr user Megadeth’s Girl used under a Creative Commons License
flea2 Megadeth's Girl

On the bottom front page of today’s (March 18) “Morning Report” section for Bay Area News Group newspapers (in San Francisco Bay Area), is a story headlined, “Flea and tick products linked to pet deaths.” (If you don’t subscribe to one of our newspapers, I’m sure there’s a similar story in yours.)

The first paragraph of the story reads: “WASHINGTON — Products intended to treat cats and dogs for fleas and ticks kill hundreds of pets each year and injure tens of thousands, the Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday as it outlined plans to make the products safer.”

You probably already read this story, but if you haven’t, here it is:

Flea photo by Flickr user ducttape30 used under a Creative Commons License
flea ducttape30

If you have pets, dogs and/or cats, I’m sure this story grabbed your attention. It may even have concerned you. It did me.

We’ve all used this “spot on” stuff that is usually squirted on the back of the animal’s neck where it can be absorbed through the skin. I used it on my cats, Newman and Jasmine to control their fleas. Since they’re both indoor cats and don’t go outside, I only had to use it on them once when Jasmine, a feral kitten, was brought inside. Fortunately, there were no obvious side-effects. We have no fleas inside our house, so I haven’t used it again.

I thought you might like to check out this link I discovered to the EPA Web site, a page entitled “EPA Evaluation of Pet Spot-On Products: Analysis and Mitigation Plan.” There’s a lot of good information here to help answer some of the questions I’m sure you have:

Here are the names of a few sample “Spot-On” products to give you an idea of what we’re talking about: Advantage, Frontline Top Spot, Adams Spot-On Flea &Tick Control, BioSpot Flea & Tick Control, Defend EXspot Treatment, Zodiac FleaTrol Spot On.

This is the entire “Listing of EPA-registered Spot-On Flea and Tick Products” as of May 15, 2009:

If you’re a concerned pet owner, I think you will find the above information to be very helpful, as I did. Please add any of your own comments below. Thanks. /Gary

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2 Responses to “Pets & Fleas: Are “Spot-On” flea killers safe?”

  1. Marsha Says:

    and all these years I just thought my cat was retarded, and now I find out that I was poisoning him.
    That’s a great way to start one’s day.

  2. Mike McKim Says:

    Thank you for bringing this story out. A month ago, we treated our dog, Cody, with Advantix. A couple of days later, he stopped eating, he was scratching & losing fur, and, of course, lost energy. After 3 days of this, we took him to the vet, who did not make any connection with the application, and simply did blood tests, which showed nothing, and simply cost us almost $300. The vet then suggested X-rays & Ultrasound, which did not make sense to us, so we just took Cody home. Two days later, Cody was fine again, so we figured he must have eaten something in the backyard. Now, Tuesday of this week, we applied Advantix again, and Wednesday night, Cody didn’t eat much. Upon reading your article yesterday morning, we clearly discovered that this “spot-on” treatment is obviously the cause of Cody’s poisoning. We need to spread the word about the hazard these products pose. Even the vets need to learn something about this to be able to provide better diagnosis. When we had previously mentioned the recent application, the vet didn’t even suggest the possibility of such a reation. We’re mad!

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