| << Back
to YORKIE INFO
The Dangers Of Flea And Tick Products
By Dr. Deva Khalsa in Holistic Care
As a veterinarian, Ive been taught that
the majority of flea and tick products are harmless
and safe, but evidence now shows that both the
active and some inactive
ingredients in the spot- on preparations have
been linked to serious health effects both in
laboratory animals and in pets.
The Washington-based Center for Public Integrity
(CPI), a nonprofit investigative news organization,
and the National Resources Defence Council,
an environmental advocacy group, have both published
reports about the safety of prescription and
over-the-counter flea and tick treatments.
Dr. Dobozy of the EPAs Pesticide Division
has found that the active ingredient (fipronil)
in Frontine remains in a pets system with
the potential for nervous system and thyroid
toxicity. Tests on laboratory animals resulted
in thyroid cancer and altered thyroid hormones,
liver and kidney toxicity, reduced fertility
and convulsions. Frontlines web site creates
the impression that the product stays in the
oil glands of the skin. But Dr. Dobozys
study showed that, in fact, it does enter the
body and the organ systems.
Advantage contains the active ingredient Imidacloprid.
In laboratory studies Imidacoprid has been found
to increase cholesterol levels in dogs, cause
thyroid lesions, create liver toxicity, and
has the potential for damaging the liver, heart,
lungs, spleen, adrenals, brain, and gonads.
As a neurotoxin, it can cause incoordination
along with labored breathing and muscle weakness.
When this drug was tested after its introduction
in 1994, researchers found an increase in the
frequency of birth defects when it was tested
on rats, mice and dogs.
In the Journal of Pesticide Reform, author
Caroline Cox exposes thyroid lesions as a result
of exposure to imidacloprid. Most people think
that the pyrethrins (naturally occurring compounds
from the chrysanthemum plant) and pyrethroids
(the synthetic counterpart) are less hazardous
than other tick and flea preventive ingredients.
Data from pyrethroid-based insecticides was
recently made public through the Freedom of
Information Act and analyzed by CPI. According
to CPI, from 2002 through 2007, at least 1,600
pet deaths related to spot-on treatments with
the above mentioned ingredients were reported
to the EPA. That was nearly double the reported
fatalities linked to flea treatments without
The pyrethroid spot-ons also accounted for
more than half of the major pesticide
pet reactions including brain damage, heart
attacks and seizures. Non-pyrethroid spot-on
treatments accounted for about 6 % of all major
incidents. Bio Spot Flea and Tick Control, Defend
EXspot Treatment and Zodiac FleaTrol Spot On
all contain either or both of the active ingredients
Permethrin and/or Pyriproxyfen.
Permethrin has been implicated as a carcinogenic
insecticide causing lung cancer and liver tumors
in laboratory animals. There is also a suspicion
that it disrupts endocrine function. It can
act as a neurotoxin, causing tremors as well
as increased aggressive behavior and learning
problems. Vectra #D, the new guy on the block,
contains 36.08% Permethrins.
As a result of all this newly revealed information
in the CPIs report, the EPA in April 2009
announced it was taking a closer look at all
spot-on flea and tick products. The EPA is also
taking action to address uncertainties about
the so-called inert ingredients
present in these products.
Safe alternatives are very much needed for
flea and tick control. Medical problems that
have become common in our dogs and cats could
potentially be linked to these previously believed
to be innocuous spot-on products.
The Best Alternative To Flea And Tick Products
The best solution for fleas, ticks and other
parasites is prevention. Healthy animals arent
good hosts for parasites. This means that once
you expose your animal to toxic chemicals, including
vaccines, drugs and flea and tick products,
his liver and immune system are compromised,
making him more likely to host parasites once
those flea and tick products wear off. This
spirals downward into a cycle of repeated applications
and declining health.
Healthy animals are less attractive,
for reasons that science has yet to determine,
to fleas and other external and internal pests
and parasites, whose whole existence is one
of opportunistic survival and multiplication
says Dr Michael Fox DVM. Dogs and cats
on the kind of junk foods that are
still widely sold are far more prone to fleas
and other parasitic and infectious health problems
than those who are on a wholesome, whole-food
diet, ideally organically certified and of course
Dr. Deva Khalsa in Holistic Care