Animal doctors warn of using some flea and tick prevention products

By: Meredith Hill Email
By: Meredith Hill Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- If you're a pet owner, listen up! The Environmental Protection Agency says it's evaluating some flea and tick control products more closely due to more reports of animals having adverse side effects--some of which have been deadly.

Doctors say they've seen the problem in East Tennessee. Liana Miracle considers her dog Bijou part of the family. When Bijou was a puppy, Miracle says her dog became sick after being given a spot-on flea prevention product.

Her vet told her the spot-on treatment got Bijou sick. Spot on products fight fleas and ticks on pets. They're applied to the back on animals' necks.

Dr. Patrick Hackett says he sees between five and 10 cases a year of animals having complications from some spot on products.

"When applied correctly we would assume but when it's applied animals soon get sick. Some will seizure--some will die", says Dr. Hackett.

Hackett says the problem is a long-acting insecticide called pyrethrin, also called permethrin. "If they're using a product and it says it's a long-acting product that lasts a week or two months and it has pyrethrin in it, I would avoid it", says Dr. Hackett.

Connie Fritts says she uses spot on products which don't contain permethrin and hasn't had any trouble. She buys the products from her animals' doctor.

As she, like Miracle, says she consults the vet on what's best for her loved ones. "They're family. These are my grand dogs", says Fritts.

Dr. Hackett says cats and small dogs have had the most irritations from certain spot on products. The EPA says tick and flea products can be appropriate for treating your pets. The agency says make sure you read directions carefully and monitor your animals for any adverse reactions.

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