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Pet deaths prompt warnings on flea meds - Pet health- msnbc.com

Pet deaths prompt warnings on flea meds
EPA seeks to improve safety after increase in harm to dogs, cats

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.

The EPA said it will develop stricter testing and evaluation requirements for flea and tick treatments that are applied to a pet’s skin. The agency also will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones need to say more clearly how to use the products.

The EPA’s effort follows increasing complaints from pet owners that the “spot-on” products have triggered reactions in dogs and cats, ranging from skin irritation to neurological problems to deaths. Cats and small dogs appear particularly vulnerable, the EPA said, especially when given products intended for larger animals.

Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said new restrictions will be placed on flea and tick products, with additional changes for specific products likely — including possible changes in some product formulas.

“These are poisons,” Owens said. “These are products designed to kill fleas and ticks — and they do their jobs.”

The EPA is committed to better protecting the health and safety of pets and families, Owens said, but added that pet owners “need to carefully read and follow all labeling before exposing your pet to a pesticide.”

The agency announced last April it was increasing scrutiny of topical flea and tick products because of the growing number of bad reactions reported.

The EPA said it received 44,263 reports of harmful reactions associated with topical flea and tick products in 2008, up from 28,895 in 2007. Reactions ranged from skin irritations to vomiting to seizures to, in about 600 cases, death of an animal.

An EPA spokesman said he did not have a breakdown of how many deaths were dogs and how many cats.

Dog and cat owners say their pets have suffered burns and welts on their skin; started to drool excessively; begun to shake uncontrollably; lost control of their legs or experienced other neurological problems after using the flea and tick treatments.

A 2009 study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported that the majority of illnesses linked to proper use of topical flea and tick products were mild. Cats were more susceptible than dogs to illnesses and deaths from misuse of the products, the report said.

“The important take-home message is that although adverse reactions can occur with all flea and tick products, most effects are relatively mild and include skin irritation and stomach upset,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, ASPCA veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president for animal health services.

Pet owners should keep using the products as directed when faced with a flea infestation, Hansen said.

Georgia-based Merial Ltd., which makes the popular Frontline tick and flea treatment, defended its product and disputed the EPA data.

“The number of adverse events reported for Frontline has remained consistently low since the product’s introduction in 1996,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. The vast majority of reactions are minor, the statement said.

In a 29-page report, the EPA said the majority of problems for dogs occurred in smaller dogs, weighing 10 to 20 pounds. Some incidents occurred when products intended for larger dogs were given to smaller animals, the report said. Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, miniature poodles, Pomeranians and dachshunds were among breeds where problems occurred the most, the EPA said.

Similarly, many problems for cats occurred when they were given treatments intended for dogs. The EPA is likely to require companies to revamp labels to clarify that products intended for dogs should never be used on cats, Owens said.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 

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I was at our local vet ER one night and while I was there FOUR cats came in dying because their owners had used the DOG frontline on them.

Stupid people.

I just couldn't get over how so many people don't read/follow label instructions, especially on a poision/medicine/treatment.
 

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I will never use the topical flea/tick meds again. After spending two separate evenings overnight in the after hours vet with Dixie last summer, we are done. I will just do the best I can to treat my yard and try to keep them under control. I borax the carpets a couple of times a year, but soon that won't even be an issue as we are going to all hardwoods gradually.
 

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kinda like head lice. can't put pesticide on my kids heads, can't do it to my critters either.

But really, can these people not read? I have to wonder.
 

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© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

doesn't this mean you can't post this, but could post a link? Or did you get permission from the AP? I often wonder how these things work?
 

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© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

doesn't this mean you can't post this, but could post a link? Or did you get permission from the AP? I often wonder how these things work?
It means you cannot use the intellectual property for profit or represent it as your own. It's copyrighted. However - sharing it in a forum like this is OK.
 

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To those who have had problems with flea meds: Could share what brand you were using?
 

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We have been using Revolution, not had a problem with it, but I think I want to stop when they have their heartworm tests next month. Go back to the chewables that we used before.
 

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I'm not sure why, but in the last three years, I have not used Frontline or any other flea control and they have not had fleas or ticks. I often check with a flea comb. There are only two possible explanations: I use cedar chips in the yard where they like to lie. I have Ridex pest repelent plugged in all the time. Could it be that it repels fleas?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

doesn't this mean you can't post this, but could post a link? Or did you get permission from the AP? I often wonder how these things work?
Opening line in the post, is the link. I posted the article also for those of us that may be too lazy to go to the link. I do this most times that I post copywritten material. If I am doing wrong and someone wants to sue me, so be it. I have the interest of our dogs in mind and make nothing, take no credit.
 

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Opening line in the post, is the link. I posted the article also for those of us that may be too lazy to go to the link. I do this most times that I post copywritten material. If I am doing wrong and someone wants to sue me, so be it. I have the interest of our dogs in mind and make nothing, take no credit.

Like I explained - you are OK with using this material in this manner. This is actually something that comes up quite a bit in my line of work - so while I am not an expert in copyright law, I have more than a little bt of experience with it.
 

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Can people who don't use the topical flea and tick medication give us other ideas that work? I've been using frontline plus since sami was young... Never had a problem, however putting poison on my dog has never sat well with me. I only use it when I can actually find fleas on her....
Please give us some ideas.... I'm listening!
 

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I take Tal and Barney out in the woods so much that it tilts me to use the Frontline, however, I have never had a problem with it. As for putting it on the wrong animal, good grief, they have a picture of a cat on the cat version and the dog ones are clearly labeled with the weight range. As with anything, there will alwyas be some who cannot tolerate it. I have thought about stopping it, but as many ticks as we have around here this seems the lesser of the two evils.
 

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I have to wonder how many of those cases were using the product properly AND what products. They flat out said a majority of the problems were when idiots were using med intended for larger dogs on toy breeds!! DUH! I mean you can't fault a product when idiots are using them incorrectly.
I've had people in my store NOT want to use frontline or advantage/advantix because there dog/cat (usually cat) had a horrible skin irritation. But normally they were using some crap like hartz.
 

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Garlic and other natural such things here. Haven't used flea/tick meds on Peanut since she was 2, and never on Baloo. Haven't ever had an issue with fleas/ticks.
 
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