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, 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?