Ticks and fleas are an all too common problem with our dogs and cats. Ticks carry many serious diseases; Lyme disease being the most commonly known one. It’s in our pets best interests to prevent them from getting ticks and fleas but the methods we use to prevent this may have their own adverse health effects- which can be more serious than the problems we are preventing.
Despite advertising claims to the contrary, the topical treatments have pesticides that do enter our pets’ internal organs and are eventually eliminated in their feces and urine. Additionally, children and adults that interact closely with the pets who have been treated with these chemicals can also be affected by the toxins.
All flea and tick products are made up of “active” and “ inert” ingredients. The active ingredients target and kill fleas- but some of the inert ingredients are also toxic, although the word suggests that they’re safe. Unfortunately, all the “active” ingredients in the spot on preparations have been linked to serious health effects in laboratory animals.
For instance, Dr. Dobozy of the EPA’s Pesticide Division states that the fipronil in the (Frontline) formulations for pets “ is a persistent chemical that has the potential for nervous system and thyroid toxicity after long term exposure at low dosages.” Laboratory health effects include thyroid cancer and altered thyroid hormones, liver toxicity, kidney damage, convulsions, whining, barking, crying, loss of appetite, incoordination, reduced fertility, fetus mortality, smaller offspring, loss of hair at or beyond the application site, moist inflammation, chemical burn and itching.
Veterinarians, like myself, are told that Frontline is not absorbed into the dogs system. In fact, many years ago, this fact made me a proponent of Frontline. Lyme disease can easily become a life threatening disease. Therefore, a simple spot-on product that was effective in deterring fleas and was limited to the skin’s surface was a welcome tool. Merial’s web site states the fipronil is absolved into the skin and the sebaceous glands (oil glands) provide a natural reservoir. It creates the impression that the product does not migrate into your pet’s body. Yet Dr. Dobozy’s study showed that a significant amount of radio-labeled fipronil was found in various organs and fat and was also excreted in their urine and feces. So much for Frontline limiting it’s range to the skin of dogs and cats.
With this new damning information that is well documented, I cannot recommend this product anymore.
Let me know if you’ve had any bad experiences with this product. Flea and tick control has become a double-edged sword. Future articles will cover other top spot products and we’ll talk about safe solutions.
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