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EPA To Improve Pet Flea Tick Treatments After Reactions

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:52 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Pet Products, Pesticides, Flea, Tick, EPA

EPA is forcing better labeling on pet flea and tick meds after an upswing in deaths.

Adverse Reactions


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Mastiff puppy/ author: Paul

As flea and tick season arrives, the Environmental Protection Agency is making plans to reduce pet adverse reactions to flear and tick spot-on preparations.

In 2008, the EPA received about 600 reports of pet deaths and 44,000 reports of reactions, seizures, and vomiting from the use of topical tick and flea treatments.  That is up from the previous year of 29,000 adverse events reports.

The EPA plans to first check labeling to make sure they are clear. Stricter labeling and testing will be required.

One of the more common problems results from human error- people who use dog meds for cats, for example. Weight requirements are printed on the label, but sometimes are ignored. It is advised to weigh your pet at the vet’s office to determine their exact weight. And pet owners need to be mindful of side effects that can include depression, vomiting and poor appetite, diarrhea, excessive salivating, all are signs of poisoning, reports Consumer Reports.

The EPA has found that small breeds had particular problems with the spot-on products containing cyphenothrin. Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Miniature Poodles, Pomeranians, and Dachshunds accounted for 33% of the adverse reports. Small breeds were also affected by products containing permethrin.

In cats as well as dogs, the main systems affected were skin, gastrointestinal, and nervous system which resulted in itching, hair loss, hair color changes, salivation, lethargy, vocalization, behavioral changes, tremors, and seizures. Dog products containing 45% permethrin created problems in cats and 20% to 80% of the incidents for the dog products were found when they were used in cats.

Pet owners can:

Wash the pet with soap and lots of water and call the vet if symptoms appear

Separate one pet from another so they don’t lick the preparation off each other

Older pets or pregnant and nursing animals may have a problem

Do not use flea and tick preparation on kittens and puppies

The EPA is coordinating with Health Canada and the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine on determining which spot-on products need stronger and clearer labels. Canada uses similar medications as the U.S. #

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