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MJ's Animal Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New Warnings For Flea and Tick Products Used On Dogs

Scratching behind a dog’s ear is easily one of a dog’s most favorite coveted places to be petted. A dog fighting off fleas and ticks with his back leg or rubbing against a post is an unfortunate event dog owners strive to avoid.
Menacing disease spreading fleas and ticks are pests sickening dogs with diseases such as dermatitis, tapeworm, or Lyme disease. Veterinarians and experts often recommend products containing some form of pesticide to prevent and kill these insects. Common products are Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix II, NexGard, and Seresto. To eliminate or minimize the risks, a dog owner can choose a flea and/or tick pill, a collar, a flavored chew, a shampoo, or a topical solution.    
A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is alerting pet owners and veterinarians to the potential neurological adverse events in dogs (and cats) when treated with drugs in the isoxazoline class.
Adverse effects include muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Although these drugs – Bravecto, Nexgard, Credeio, and Simparica – received FDA approval, dogs have experienced detrimental neurological effects. Currently, a new label alerting dog and pet owners to the potential risk using these medicines. The FDA recommends careful consultation between a pet owner and a veterinarian, examining the dog’s medical history to determine whether to administer these flea and tick drugs.
Besides this isoxazoline class, the active ingredient in flea and tick medicine is pesticide, namely pyrethroids. A pesticide’s job is to kill insects. According to the manufacturers, the pesticide is slow-releasing in small and considered to be safe for your dog. In 2009, the EPA alerted the public to an increase in pet incidents with spot-on pesticide products including flea sprays, powders, and collars. These disease fighting tools caused nausea, vomiting, and neurological side effects in the dogs they were striving to protect.
Here are some common flea and tick drugs and their active ingredients:
Frontline Plus: Frontline Plus has two ingredients called fipronil and (s)-methoprene. These chemicals are stored in the oil glands of the dog’s skin and self-distribute for one month in the hair and skin to kill the fleas and ticks. Fipronil is a broad-use insecticide belonging to the phenylpyrazole chemical family. Fipronil is white powder with a moldy odor, used to control ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites, mole crickets, thrips, rootworms, weevils, and other insects. (s)-methoprene affects the insects surviving exposure to the other pesticides. These drugs can cause swelling, itching, irritation, excessive salivation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite in your dog.
NexGard, a soft chew, contains afoxolaner, killing fleas and ticks for a whole month by overstimulating the nervous system. Reported side effects include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, lethargy, and lack of appetite (and is the drug the FDA is strongly warning against.
K9 Advantix II, kills adult fleas, flea eggs and larvae and repels these insects so they can’t bite or attach to transmit disease. The active ingredients are Imidacloprid, permethrin, and pyriproxyfen. Imidacloprid mimics nicotine to be toxic to insects. Permethrin is an insectide that is generally considered to be safe when administered properly but can be toxic or cause asthma. Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator inhibiting the hatching of flea eggs and the development of flea larvae. It must applied directly to skin to be effective. Because insect growth regulators mimic insect hormones, which are unlike hormones in cats and dogs, they are considered to be safe. Dogs have experienced mild to severe skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and patchy, red sores.
Seresto, a collar, can prevent fleas and ticks for 8 continuous months. The collar has two ingredients Imidacloprid to control flea infestations and Flumethrin to kill and repel ticks. Imidacloprid (also in K9 Advantix) mimics nicotine to be toxic to insects. Flumethrin cause insects to become paralyzed and die because the disruption of nervous impulses. Side effects have included local dermatitis (skin irritation) with pruritus (itching) and erythema (red skin).
Unfortunately, despite these side effects dog owners, who bring their dogs to a dog park, take their dogs on hikes, or live in wooded areas, these medicines can be an essential part of care to prevent flea and tick diseases. Without prevention, dogs can be plagued by a list of harmful illness from fleas and ticks (larger flea counterparts). A dog can develop dermatitis – skin irriation – leading to a hot spot, hair loss, hives, rash, or red bumps. With a large flea infestation, a dog can suffer from flea anemia due to the pests drinking enough blood causing anemia, leading to other medical complications. If your pet has around 70 fleason it, they would consume approximately 1 milliliters of blood in a matter of a few days. Due to fighting off fleas, dogs can ingest the fleas which can be carriers of tapeworms. A Bartonella infection can affect dogs, leading to a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and swelling of the lymph nodes. A dog with Lyme disease from a tick bite will develop a fever, body and joint pains, enlarged lymph nodes, have a lack of energy and appetite, and a cough. If left untreated, complications may affect the heart and kidneys of a dog.
           Dog owners should carefully discuss flea and tick prevent with their trusted veterinarian, examining labels on each and every product before administering. A dog’s age, health, and environmental conditions should be properly assessed as part of prevention measures.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

As a dog owner, one can take steps to protect your dog from flea and tick infestation. First and foremost, groom dogs regularly. Common soap and water will kill adult fleas and combing with a fine-tooth flea comb, will help rid the dog’s hair of these pests. Wash your dog’s bedding weekly in hot, soapy water and vacuum areas where you dog lies including couch cushions and behind and beneath furniture. You may also investigate natural options and essential oils including peppermint, cinnamon, lemongrass, cedarville, and rosemary oil. Monitor your dog’s potential reactions to these as well due to adverse allergic reactions.
           Fleas and ticks are unwelcomed pests in your home and on your dog. Carefully read any labels before administering drugs to your dog. If your dog experiences any of these adverse side effects, consult your veterinarian immediately.  
Michael John Kulick
My goal with this venture is to give these pets a fighting chance in finding a good home for them and to let people know about the health benefits that come with owning a pet. I believe that every is unique and that each dog can cater to different people.

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