Last night, Team 5 Investigates did a story about adverse reactions to over the counter (OTC) flea and tick “spot-on” treatments. We hear this scenario all the time in practice. An owner walks into a pet store or other merchandise store looking for a product to help protect their pets from fleas and ticks. The concerned pet owner picks a product off the shelf claiming to help. Unfortunately, there is not an expert there to discuss the active ingredients in the product, the correct directions for use, or the potential side effects. The product is applied to the pet and then a reaction occurs. Thankfully, in the news story, the owner’s pet is doing well. However, there is a lesson to be learned from this story and the story released by the EPA last week.

The products being utilized in the battle against fleas and ticks need to be used while under the care of a veterinarian. The EPA has launched an investigation of over 70 flea and tick spot on treatments. You can view this list by clicking here. The majority of the products are OTC products that are not sold by your veterinarian. Yet, there are a few products listed that are available from your veterinarian. Owner’s should know these products, except Vectra 3D, are also sold by non-veterinarians. The EPA’s investigation does not mean the products are unsafe. Read last week’s eblog for further information. It does serve as a reminder to the pet owner about using products without the advice of their veterinarian. While purchasing the products in this manner may seem appealing, the pet owner does not have an opportunity to discuss the products with individuals trained on their use.

The most important lesson the pet owner should learn from the EPA investigation and the news story broadcasted locally last night, is you should never use an OTC flea and tick product without first consulting with your veterinarian. Each product has specific directions for use. For example, cats are very susceptible to reactions when the dog’s flea and tick medication is used on them.

Fleas and Ticks are now a concern in the Northeast and we want to help you protect your pet from these pesky critters. Please contact your veterinary health care team for further information. We are here to help you pick the best means of treating, controlling and preventing fleas and ticks. You and your pet deserve to enjoy the nice weather while protecting them from fleas and ticks. These bugs can spread diseases to you and your pet. Fortunately, we have products to help. Talk to your veterinary health care team today. Next week, read about these “Ordinary Bugs Causing Extraordinary Diseases!”