I think the precautions the
I'll outline the
While adverse events certainly do occur as a result of using flea and tick products, confirmed problems are rare. I don't argue; the rarity of a problem means nothing if it's your pet that's suffering. Skin problems have been reported, as well as neurological complaints, which range from "being depressed" to seizures, and even death.
I think I might know what the problem is. Because there are more ticks in more places spreading more disease, sales of tick-control products are rising. So, in part, the problem is a matter of math: The more products sold, the more adverse events.
However, I believe, the story is more complex. Over the past few years, sales have begun a shift from veterinary clinics to online and over-the-counter. Consumers who purchase flea and tick products at their desks or in a store don't have the benefit of a veterinarian or veterinary technician to advise them on how and when to apply the products, or for that matter, what to buy in the first place.
Indeed, many people mistakenly buy the wrong product. For example, using a product meant for large dogs on small dogs, or one meant for dogs-only on a cat can be deadly. Such mistakes are less likely to occur with expert veterinary advice.
Over the past few days, I've received lots of mail on this topic, some readers expressing general concern about flea and tick products, and others 'coming out of the closet' to tell me of their bad experiences. Your complaints are obviously being heeded by the
--Requiring manufacturers of spot-on pesticide products to improve labeling, making instructions clearer to prevent product misuse.
--Requiring more precise label instructions to ensure proper dosage per pet weight.
--Requiring clear markings to differentiate between dog and cat products, and disallowing similar brand names for dog and cat products. Similar names may have led to misuse.
--Requiring additional changes for specific products, as needed, based on product-specific evaluations.
--When new products are registered, granting only conditional, time-limited registrations to allow for post-marketing product surveillance. If there are incidents of concern associated with the product, the
--Restricting the use of certain inert ingredients that the
--Launching a consumer information campaign to explain new label directions and to help users avoid making medication errors.
--In addition, to improve the regulatory oversight of pet products, the
I applaud the
However, my hope is that the
While there may be no data currently available to verify that my recommendation would be as helpful as I believe, I don't see a downside to consumers seeking veterinary input before buying flea and tick products.
Available at Amazon.com:
- The Future of Dog Spaying
- Dog Breeds at Risk for Swallowing Nonfood Items
- An Inside Look at Cat Grooming
- There's A Good Reason Why 'We're All Stupid in Love With Our Pets'
- Natural and Organic Living is Important For Pets
- Why Your Cat Won't Eat
- Read Your Dog's Body Language
- Exercise With Your Dog to Prevent Obesity
- Health Clues in Your Dog's Behavior
- Is Your 'Natural' Dog Food Truly Natural
- Vitamins and Minerals Your Dog Needs
- Selecting the Best Kibble for Your Dog
- Veterinary Research on Compulsive Behavior Could Benefit Dogs and People
- Canine Conduct - Sniffing and Whiffing
Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is www.stevedalepetworld.com; he can be heard Sundays on WGN Radio, 8 to 10 p.m. CST (www.wgnradio.com to listen live), and hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend
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