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Dr Janey’s Pet Health Summer Series – Episode 19: Using chemicals to eradicate fleas?

Could you be putting your pets & family in harms way?

With the hot summer weather upon us, the use of flea (and tick) products on our pets is at a high!

While the manufacturers of these products are naturally quick to voice their assurances of their safety, our goal here at Vondi’s is to remind you that as loving pet-owners in modern times we need to exercise our own informed choices.

The following excerpt from the Veterinary Medical Association’s newsletter in the US is an indication of the growing problem with the use of chemicals on our pets.

“In response to more than 44,000 potential adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is intensifying its evaluation of these products. No recalls have been issued at this time. The AVMA will continue to maintain contact with the EPA and monitor the situation, and updates will be posted as they come to our attention”.

And the following is from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

U.S. and Canada to Increase Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Pet Products

(Washington, DC – April 16, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets due to recent increases in the number of reported incidents. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, the death of pets.

It should be noted that incidents with flea and tick products can involve the use of various formulations: spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of the incidents reported are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products.

While these reports refer to the USA, they remain relevant to pet owners in South Africa in view of the fact that most flea and ticket products used locally contain the same chemical ingredients as those used in the US. In addition, it is worth noting that while these reports may refer to the years 2008-2009, many of these chemicals remain in general use in the current time.

While many owners can attest to acute adverse reactions from the use of these chemical flea and tick products, the long term effect in the contribution to a range of chronic degenerative diseases remains of even greater concern!

The fact remains that once a product is in general use there is very little incentive for the product manufacturer to conduct the required long term studies necessary to ascertain the existence of deleterious chronic cumulative effects of the specific chemicals contained, as well as the existence of potential synergistic interaction with other chemicals.

We trust this has been helpful.

Our goal is as always simply to raise your awareness of that which may be putting your pet at risk so that you may make your own informed choices as a loving pet owner.

Wishing you and your pets abundant health!

Dr Janey & the Vondi’s team