In news that is not exactly news because it’s not saying anything we didn’t already know, the EPA is investigating whether it needs to more closely scrutinize spot-on products for flea and tick control.
Unlike most veterinary drugs, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration, spot on flea and tick preventives are overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency due to their classification as pesticides (the exception being those products that also function as a heartworm preventive.) I’ll be honest with you, the inner workings of the EPA are as much a mystery to me as they are to you, and I have no idea how prepared they are to deal with adverse event reports, since they do not primarily function in that capacity. But last year alone they fielded 44,000 reports about suspected adverse reactions.
Adverse events both mild and major can and do occur with any product. There are many flea and tick spot on treatments available these days, and not all are created the same. The ingredients, and their likelihood to cause adverse reactions in pets, vary widely. Some are considered so safe you can douse a pregnant dog in a 4x overdose and not expect a problem for mom or babies. Others are so scary that a single application of the dog product to a cat can cause seizures and death.
Veterinarians, and owners whose pets have suffered the consequences of a poorly chosen product, have been clamoring for years for better oversight of these products. There is no one right product that I would recommend, since it depends on your pet, your risk factors, and what bugs you are trying to prevent. If you do have a question about flea and tick control, ask your vet- there are many wonderful products out there that are safe and effective. And sadly, some that are not.
At least once a week, someone comes to me with a flea infested dog or cat and proclaims they are treating their pet for fleas and it’s not working. Rule of thumb: If you bought it in the grocery store, toss it. This is one of the times where you get what you pay for– and it’s not worth saving a couple of bucks for a product that at best, doesn’t work that well, and at worst, results in a bad, bad outcome.
Not that you asked, but I, personally, not-meant-to-endorse-solely-or-discredit-anything-else-that-isn’t-this….I use Advantage.